5 WAYS TO ORGANIZE YOUR WORKSPACE AT HOME SO YOU AND YOUR TWEEN CAN BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
When you have to work from home it’s not only important to have a dedicated space that works for you, but also for your tween. So, sit down with them as you read (or watch) these 5 ways to help you organize your workspace at home so you can help each other be more productive.
The importance of creating a workspace – for BOTH of you!
Your tween is experiencing a larger workload at school and it might not be as easy to get everything done at the kitchen table like it used to be. They will need more space & quiet for metacognition (where you think about your thoughts) and processing higher level thinking concepts.
Likewise, you need your own space so the two of you aren’t running into each other all of the time. Especially with the increased amount of video calls that both of you will be (or most likely already are) participating in.
Try not to float around the house doing work in different places every day. It can be even worse if you are changing your workspace several times during the day.
When you do this, your brain gets confused. It can’t go in and out of work that easily, especially for a teen. Help them understand this as opposed to just telling them what they need to do.
This focus problem works with how we sleep too.
Have you ever had a hard time getting to sleep at night? Sometimes even though you are super tired!?!
If you do other tasks in your bed, like reading or playing a game, then your brain doesn’t know what to do.
It gets confused on whether you’re getting ready to go to sleep or whether are you going to do one of those other things, like work?
When this happens, your brain flips back and forth, asking the questions:
“Am I doing work?”
“Am I sleeping?”
This can make it difficult for your brain to fall asleep at night. Likewise, it can be difficult to do “work” while you are in bed. I’m sure you can see how your brain may be flipping back and forth between the work you are trying to do and wanting to sleep.
THIS is not ideal for anyone, ESPECIALLY when you’re trying to focus on getting things done.
It’s much better for our brains to understand that
“THIS is my workspace.”
Just like saving the bed for SLEEP tells our body that
“THIS is my sleeping space.”
So, I get it … not everyone has a workspace that looks like it came from a magazine … but we can try, right?
Here are some ways to help you and your tween organize your workspaces at home and strive to be more productive.
#1 Solid Surface Work Space(s)
Try to make your work spaces be a table or a desk. Something that provides you with a solid surface.
If you (or more likely your tween) HAVE to be in your bed, then set up a small work area at the other end.
The goal here is to work at the opposite end that you sleep so that it’s clearer for your brain. Having this work area away from your pillow, will also, (hopefully) help you sit upright instead of slouching or laying down.
If you have no choice but to work in your bed or on the couch, try using a lap desk to help you keep things from floating all over the place.
#2 Stock Your Workstation(s)
By stocking your workstation, it will allow you to have the things you need at your fingertips. This may seem obvious to you, but your teen may not think of these things until they need them.
It will be better for them (and you) if these are easily accessible for them.
Sticky notes are fantastic! Plus having different sizes and colors can help you stay even more organized.
Headphones are super important if you or your teen have to be online for any classes, meetings, or webinars.
If you’ve got headphones with a microphone – even better!
When you use your headphones on a video call or webinar it helps with feedback & echoes.
You might have experienced this in some of your online sessions already.
When you don’t use headphones, and you are unmuted, your microphone “hears” the speakers and anyone else that might be talking, instead of just your voice.
Click the links above to see some of the headphones that I really like.
#3 The Importance of Power
This is the worst!
Your tween is in the middle of a difficult assignment or email.
Or maybe they have been taking their time just getting started. 🙄
They finally get focused and are actually getting some work done.
And then … they get the low battery message.
Now you find them searching for a power cord …
… but they can’t find it …
… because someone else in the house used it earlier today …
… and that person isn’t home …
… and now you (mom or dad) are dragged into helping them!
So, you & your tween have wasted a ton of time just looking for the stupid charging cord!
You not only wasted time looking for the cord, but both of your brains have been knocked out of any kind of “focus” or “flow” for getting your work done.
And now neither of you feel like working anymore.
Instead, you go get a snack — where you also find your tween.
Make sure you (or your tween) don’t have to stop working just to do little tasks like these.
Set up their workspace ahead of time so that both of you can maximize your “focus” time.
Along with the importance of a power cord for your device, make sure you also have a good light source.
Many of you will undoubtedly have the light from your ceiling to use.
If you do very much meeting online, you will have noticed that your face might be dark or in shadows.
One way to fix this is to have a flexible desk lamp that you can move around. Ideally, you want a light that will shine softly on your face.
A desk lamp can also be useful to brighten your work, so your eyes don’t have to work so hard. This will also help you stay more alert. When you’re not straining your eyes to see things that you’re working on you will ultimately be less tired as well.
#4 Bulletin Board or White Board
Use it as a central information station where both of you can see important things!
- Pin up or write down things that you know have to get done.
- Post important information from work or school.
- Put up pictures of your family or friends.
- Hang some motivational quotes or funny memes.
If hanging a bulletin board in your teen’s room, they could just use the wall. (with special tape of course)
This is also where the sticky notes come in handy!!
A cool do-it-yourself board idea for tweens is to turn an old poster in their room backward. Then use the white side for a place to hang sticky notes, reminders, and photos.
Sisters, Elsie & Emma over at A Beautiful Mess have an easy way to make your own together. Your teen might be more inclined to use it if they have some say in the creation of it.
#5 Use my Organizational Templates
They will help with prioritizing daily work as well as organizing daily schedules and to-do lists.
If your tween doesn’t use a planner you might want to consider one of my custom designed planners that can include their schedule & district calendar populated throughout the book!
CLICK HERE to take a look.
OR check out the customized TEACHER PLANNERS for you!
So … the next time you or your tween want to sit on the couch or in your bed to do work, think again!
- Find a space that can function as a “desk.”
- Stock your workstations – including your power cord 😉
- Organize a bulletin board or white board that will allow you to keep yourself visually organized
- And use the free templates!
No matter what system you use, make sure you are patient with your tween. Organizing doesn’t always come naturally to them. And even if they resist, insist on some of the things mentioned above.
And then listen to your own advice and carve out a workspace for yourself as well.
Remind your brain as often as possible that “this is my work area.”
This is the kind of space that will allow you & your tween to be efficient with your work.
The goal is to get into the “flow” of your work so that it is more enjoyable, and you get it done faster.
Check out the other videos for more tips on how you and your tween can work more efficiently at home.
Good luck, and happy organizing!