Many of my readers are currently living at home; some are still in high school, others are home temporarily while on summer break, and others have returned home periodically to search for career opportunities. While living with your parents is a huge blessing, it also poses a real productivity problem – especially if you’ve already lived on your own.
Being productive at home is tough because you’re wrangling two different schedules and sets of priorities. This is made even more difficult if you’re living with your parents as a young adult. When you’ve been raised to respect your parents’ wishes and run by their schedule, fitting your needs, priorities, and responsibilities into that framework seems selfish at first. How do you fulfill your own duties while respecting the people you live with?
Productivity is one of my favorite topics to study, so here are a few tips to help you keep momentum and keep your family happy.
Communicate Your Priorities
It can be hard for parents to adjust to a child having her own schedule. They are used to making plans, running the house, and things being as they’ve always been. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to communicate your schedule and priorities to the family members in your home.
Be respectful. Ask to sit down for a few minutes and show your parents/siblings how much is on your plate. If you’re going to be out several nights during the week, let them know when to expect you back. Have a planner and a list to show them the tasks ahead of you, your work schedule, and your reasons for missing dinner or family events.
If you’re doing the majority of your studying at home, you’ll also need to communicate your needs for quiet time. This is especially true if you have younger siblings (I’m the oldest of six, fourteen years older than my youngest sister)! If you have a reputation for “hanging out” in your room without doing anything productive, you’re going to have to prove yourself in this area. That’s why communication and accountability are key.
Check the Family Schedule Weekly
If you’re eating your family’s food and staying in their house, the most respectful thing you can do is be conscious of their time. If you want to be respected in your own work/school endeavors, it goes both ways! So what is on the family schedule? Are you aware? If not, make a habit of checking in weekly.
This could look like a Sunday night meeting over dinner (which would go well with the Sunday weekly planning I hope you’re doing!). Tell your family what is on your work/school/fun schedule for the week. Ask what’s up with them. Find out if you have to be home for anything important. Communicate that you care and respect their time as much as you want them to respect yours.
Set Flexible Boundaries
As an adult living at home, boundaries can be tough. If your ten year old sister is coming in at all hours wanting to chat, you’re not going to get as much homework done as you need to. If possible, set specific times when you study/work so your family is aware of your schedule.
But you also have to set boundaries on yourself. Since most people who live at home don’t have the same responsibilities that those in an apartment have, it’s easy to let time run together and allow your social schedule to take over. Just because a friend asks you to hang out does not mean you should. It’s not unloving, unsupportive, or unkind to say “not tonight”. Think about your realistic responsibilities. Think about what you told your family. Set boundaries on your time – including on internet use, phone calls, and mindless browsing.
Set Out Your Schedule
Each week, set out your schedule for the upcoming days. If you’re in school, write out all assignments that are due. I liked to write them two days BEFORE the actual deadline (read more about productivity for students here). If you’re working, write down each shift’s hours. I recommend planning your lunches and packing them the night before.
If you’re helping with chores and meals at home (which you should be!), write down when you’ll do those. Check in with your parents/family regarding the plan for the week, particularly if you have a parent who meal plans – you’ll want to be on the same page if you’re cooking. If you have any bills, write down the due dates.
By taking 30 minutes to do this at the beginning of the week, you’re aware of what is on your plate. You’re then able to clearly communicate your needs and priorities to your family. This promotes peace and unity in the home, and gives you a chance to work through any areas of disagreement.
Are you living at home while pursuing a productive life? Leave your tips in the comments!