COVID-19 How to Establish Schedules for Home, School and Work

covid-19 schedules for home, school and work

 

We have been at home for a few weeks now, settling in after COVID-19 news that staying home is important.  While the first week or so may have felt like snow days, it’s time to settle into schedules that help you stay productive and positive.  Schedules are repeated patterns that we use to empower our priorities.  Right now our priorities can be simple. We can embrace our new normal by patterning our days.

Basic concepts

Setting up your own schedule can be baffling to some. It is creating structure for yourself, which you may not be comfortable with or skilled at.  For some it’s natural to do. These basic concepts can help you craft your schedule.

  • Prioritize what is most important first. Right now that is simple, that being you have work and your kids have school. First this in first to your schedule. Depending on your own work and your kids’ schools, this may set your schedule directly.
  • Know your own personal strengths. Are you a morning person or not?  Take this quiz on The Power of When to know what works best. Most of us know this from all our personal experiences. Use your best time of the day to do your most important work.
  • Be sure to include self care, exercise, meals, bedtimes and reset time in your schedule. These routines help us be our best selves.
  • We tend to be overly ambitious about our schedules. Choose time blocks that help you keep focused and productive.  Too many time blocks and too much transition deter productivity. Use time blocking to help you create a schedule that works well. For example, choose a morning and afternoon 2 hour block rather than two one hour blocks each morning and afternoon.
  • Post your schedule for everyone to know the plan for the day.  Talk about your schedule at your family meeting, emphasize the value, and keep everyone on track with clocks and timers.

 

 

Sample School for a Morning Person

Monday – Friday Schedule  Morning Person Sample Schedule
6:00 AM Wake up

Reflection time or Meditation

6:30 AM Shower and dress
7:00 AM Wake kids
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM Daily exercise/Listen to a podcast
8:30 AM
9:00 AM Work and School start
9:30 AM
10:00 AM
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Work and school continue
11:30 AM
12:00 PM Lunch and Break
12:30 PM
1:00 PM Outside time
1:30 PM Work and school continue
2:00 PM
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
3:30 PM
4:00 PM Outside time
4:30 PM
5:00 PM Dinner
5:30 PM
6:00 PM
6:30 PM
7:00 PM Family time
7:30 PM Prep kids for bed
8:00 PM
8:30 PM Kids’ bedtime
9:00 PM
9:30 PM
10:00 PM Parent’s bedtime

 

Sample Schedule for Not a Morning Person

Monday – Friday Not a Morning Person Sample Schedule
8:00 AM Wake up

Reflection time or Meditation

8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Shower and Dress
9:30 AM
10:00 AM Work and School begin
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
11:30 AM
12:00 PM Lunch and Break
12:30 PM Outside time
1:00 PM Work and School continue
1:30 PM
2:00 PM
2:30 PM Outside time and Break
3:00 PM Work and School continue
3:30 PM
4:00 PM
4:30 PM
5:00 PM Outside time
5:30 PM
6:00 PM Dinner
6:30 PM
7:00 PM Family time
7:30 PM
8:00 PM Prep kids for bed
8:30 PM Kids’ bedtime
9:00 PM
9:30 PM
10:00 PM Parent’s bedtime

More Resources

How to Work from Home with Your Kids

CHADD Suddenly Working from Home

ADDitudemag Learning from Home Schedule

ADDitudemag Are you Corona Schooling? 

Kids Activities Blog Free School Resources

Today Show How to Home School

 

 

schedule

Family Schedule for Home School

 

COVID-19 Home Schooling Resources for “Traditional School” Parents

 

 

CoviD-19 Home Schooling resources

 

“Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.” – Shandra Rhimes

 

School is in session in homes across America. Parents are overwhelmed and underprepared for their new roles.  They are managing their work at home and “teaching” their kiddos.  Here are ideas and resources to help you navigate this new challenge.

 

Establishing routines

In the first few weeks, teachers are setting up virtual classrooms and getting prepared. Right now parents need to establish routines that promote learning.  It’s most important to set up daily routines like bedtimes and getting ready for the day.  Keep to your usual times for both your kiddos and you.  You will be better prepared to manage the ups and downs that come with new challenges.  Your kiddos will be more resilient to this change.

Here are some resources to reinforce your ideas about routines.

Leslie Josel and Order out of Chaos

Ann Dolan and Keeping Your Kids in Study Mode

Corona Schooling

Preparing for Online Learning

 

Learning online

Learning at home is a whole new element to you and your child.  Online learning can be positive because of fewer distractions and easier focus. Kiddos are drawn to computers.

  • Set up an environment for your child to keep focused. Creating multiples spots to sit comfortably with a laptop (not in bed) will make learning happen.
  • Comfortable headphones help with focus. These can be earbuds, airpods, or headphones.
  • Online learning could be consolidated with a single calendar such as Schoology.  Be sure your kiddo is looking at it daily like traditional school to keep up with assignments.

 

Acknowledge your child’s strengths

Parents know their kids strengths and challenges. Teachers often send different choices to do similar concepts. Distinguish what is required and what has options. Offer alternatives to assignments that are real life experiences. Baking with measurement or playing the Game of Life and being the banker are ways to experience math.

 

Along these lines, children with special needs and special education plans may need more diverse learning.  In this interim time with schooling, check in with Additudemag.com, Understood.org and your child’s teacher to learn more ways to teach a skill.

 

Always include downtime

Your new schedule will include recess twice a day. Take advantage of outside time for your kiddo to run and play. As the teacher, take this time for yourself too.

Individual work time can be time to read a book, time to work with crafts or time to work independently on a school related online resource. Independent work sets your child up to know more about their own strengths too.

 

Adjusting your expectations

Take the pressure off yourself as a parent during the COVID-19 outbreak.  You have been your child’s first teacher and continue to be successful doing the work of nurturing, supporting and educating.  You are doing amazing work so keep it up!

 

 

COVID-19 Making Your Time at Home Productive and Peaceful

home productive and peaceful

 

With the self imposed or CDC required time at home, you are thinking you will be at home for a prolonged period of time.  We live day to day because there is so much information coming at us and there is not much that is certain right now.  Let’s take this time to take care of ourselves, those around us and our community.  Using our time at home wisely helps us feel positive and productive.

  • Think self care and putting your own oxygen mask on first.  That includes keeping your routines going well. That is going to bed early for rest, eating healthy, and exercising. Remember, if you are sick to stay home and take care of yourself.  Keep these routines going even after this crisis passes. It’s a jump start to what we all want for a healthy life. I am biking and walking daily to keep fit and keep calm.
  • Take time to relax and time to reset. There is a lot on our minds! We have long to do lists, anxiety about health and family and work, and many decisions to make each day.  Having time for prayer and meditation helps.  Spiritual reading or time for meditation daily helps you sort through what is on your mind and get a bigger picture. On your phone, you can check out Headspace or the Mindfulness app. Both are free for use on your devices. Research shows how stress affects our immunity to illness.
  • Organizing helps us love what we have and create serenity in our homes.  Start small with a spot in your home to declutter.  It might be your desk or a drawer in your home office where you are working from home.  I have been peeking into drawers and letting go of what is not necessary. If you are feeling ambitious, start sorting your digital photos.  It’s a project that will bring you joy.
  • Connecting makes a difference right now. Reach out by text, phone or email to say hello, thinking of you and check on your connections. Keep especially connected to our older friends and community members by reaching out and checking on them.  Drop off what they need and be of service.
  • Give your brain a boost. This is a great time to learn. There are learning opportunities everywhere from Coursera to podcasts.  Keeping cognitively active keeps us engaged and moving forward to our goals for this year.
  • Working from home and your kiddos are schooling at home? Set up times for work and breaks. Creating and posting a schedule helps everyone know the plan for the day.  Make it fun with a schedule that includes breaks for recess for everyone.
  • Allocate and adhere to screen time and social media time for yourself and your kiddos. Mindless surfing leads to negative emotions at times.  Keep a common charging spot where everyone charges during certain times.
  • Distract everyone with 60s style family fun. Host a family art day, family dance party and family game night.  Having a new way to engage with your family makes for tons of fun!  Our newest family games include charades and Sync Up
  • Remember Keep Calm and Carry On. We are a resilient, resourceful and smart community. Sharing that positivity and kindness are the hallmarks of these crisis.  We are all in this together.

Simplify your tax preparation

simplify your tax preparation

 

Tax preparation can be more easily managed with a few short cuts. Two of these include finding your paperwork online and itemizing donation receipts all year long.

 

Online access to tax documents

Access your important documents online.  It makes it easier than waiting for these documents and easier to find rather than sorting through piles and piles of paper.  The key is to know what to find. The documents include 1099s for income and dividend, mortgage interest and other loans expenses paid, and property taxes paid as a deduction.  These are available at your investment company, mortgage provider and from your employer.  You can find these quickly and print these yourself.

 

Donation receipts

Throughout the year you donate your cast off goods to a variety of charities. Simplify your donation list with these donation price guides. Both guides are accepted values by the IRS for use.

According to the IRS documentation, “you may deduct charitable contributions of money or property made to qualified organizations if you itemize your deductions.”  Itemizing is including a list of the items you donated, as well as their value. The value must be “good” to be an acceptable donation. Qualified items include clothes, household goods, furniture and miscellaneous.

 

Salvation Army

https://satruck.org/Home/DonationValueGuide

 

its deductible

 

https://itsdeductibleonline.intuit.com/

 

 

Keep your lists all year long with the donation receipt in your Taxes 20XX year in your files or in your command center.  It is an easy way to break your tax preparation into chunks and make it simpler to be ready to file your taxes.

Get a checklist

Get organized with a checklist. It is the list of what you need and how to find it.

  • This list is available online from H&R Block.
  • This list is available online with a video from Turbotax. 
  • Many tax accountants provide this with your preparation.

A check list makes sure you have all the documents when you file.

 

Tax season fills us all with a sense of “just one more big thing to do.” Get your taxes ready and filed more easily with small, manageable chunks.

 

 

Learn more about making tax preparation easy here!

Learn more on YouTube about your paper processes!

 

Embracing Self Care recommended for COVID-19

self care covid-19

 

The news about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has us thinking about health and wellness. The news can be scary about immune compromised people and how the virus spreads.  There are many ways to protect ourselves from the virus. Most compelling is that self care makes a difference for us when it comes to this virus and well being. That self care includes daily routines that promote health all the time.

 

Protective measures include putting routines  in place are both for your health and to be your best self. We all know to wash our hands thoroughly,  avert coughing, and stand at a distance. Know to stay home when you are not well and spend time resting.  These protective measures can be a part of our daily routines even after the virus passes. Happily we can go back to hugging!

 

Physical self-care

There is an abundance of information on how to keep ourselves in great shape.  These are the basics we are well familiar with and should be doing each and every day, regardless of the virus.

  • Start by getting a great night’s sleep. Get ready early so you are in bed to get 8 hours of sleep.  Set an environment that helps you get the rest you need and want with no electronics an hour before bed and a notepad by your bed for last minute thoughts. Research shows a cool environment with heavy covers helps you rest through the night.
  • Eat a variety of veggies and go heavy on your protein for a well-balanced diet.  We are what we eat! If you are stocking up, keep organized by decluttering your pantry and categorizing.  A well stocked pantry makes it easier to eat healthy too.  A healthy diet keeps your immune system up and running well.
  • Exercise daily.  My personal favorites are walking and pilates.  Walk the extra stairs to work or park farther away to get some time in if you are short on possibilities.

While this is a scary time, it might also be the jump start you need to get these physical care activities into place in your life.  A body that is well all the time fights off all illnesses.

Mindset self care

Research shows how stress affects our immunity to illness. We thrive on laughter and positivity. Keeping a sense of humor and laughter lightens your load. Spending time with family and friends brings you a sense of belonging. Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music, are joyful ways to spend your time.  As a lifelong learner, I value the power of small bites of information.  I listen to podcasts to think big about what I want and learn new ideas. Actively manage your stress with practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or massage. Through apps, you can meditate daily to help you lower anxiety about life.

There is a lot on our minds! We have long to do lists, anxiety about health and family and work, and many decisions to make each day.  Having time for prayer and meditation helps.  Spiritual reading or time for meditation daily helps you sort through what is on your mind and get a bigger picture. On your phone, you can check out Headspace or the Mindfulness app. Both are free for use on your devices.

 

Routines for self care

By taking better care of yourself through routines, you are taking control of what you can control. It is not easy to practice self care in our busy lives with stressful jobs and activities. We can let technology get in the way of real self care. Start with one simple routine to empower your most important self care and gradually add to your routines. Remember that adage, put your own oxygen mask on first. It is especially the case with self-care. Embrace the self care we all need all the time.

 

 

Work at Home: Productivity

 

There are times we can work at home regularly or periodically.  We may need to work at home to help your family activities, work at home to help stabilize finances with your small business, or work during an intense period of upheaval (think virus.) Working at the office or working at home works best when you have processes, policies and organization about your time. By setting up structure,  you are doing your best work.  Here are some ways to establish structure that keeps you on track.

  • Set hours for your office time. During this time, keep clear and established set ground rules for kids, pets and others in  your home.  Your work is your priority during these hours. Post your hours so that those around you know them. This un-distracted time helps you be more productive.
  • Give yourself the opportunity for breaks, including lunch. Take a few minutes for a walk around the block or fresh air with a short break. You will return to your desk ready to tackle anything.
  • Define what derails you.  Distractions can range from kids and pets to doing the laundry.  Its the little things that eat away at your day, so be sure you put the big things in first in your day.
  • Use a planner that shows you time blocks to accomplish priorities.  Having a time in the morning and afternoon with focused, big blocks for power periods helps you knock off the big projects in small manageable pieces.
  • Set up an established work space.  Working at home it’s easy to spread out in all sorts of spaces.  Establish where you work and what you need to arrange around you to work efficiently.  If you need paper, think about using a file cart for your paper management. If you are completely digital, keep your cords organized.
  • Define your work every day with a list and prioritizing.  Using the 3+3 method where you list 3 urgent items for the day and 3 bonus items can help you focus. Your list can be categorized by urgent, soon or later to keep your priorities uppermost.  Set a time for weekly planning to keep all your items on a list and assign deadlines too.    Ask yourself is this activity helping me reach my goal every day?
  • Use technology to stay connected. There is Join.me, Zoom and Free Conference Call to “see” your colleagues in real life.  Just seeing a face and reading body language will help you feel more connected that a phone call.

 

Setting up for success when you work at home makes your work more productive!

 

 

My Organizing Obsession: Packing Cubes

Packing cubes

 

When you find something you love and does the work so well, there  are so many ways to share your love of this item.  I declared my love of packing cubes publicly with Tiffany Craig.  Packing cubes make travel so much easier.  Here are my many reasons to love packing cubes and make travel organizing easier.  

  • Your suitcase is a big open canvas. Packing cubes create segments of space to hold your clothes and more.
  • Packing cubes keep items together than you use together.  I love that you can group items by category. Some of my categories are swim, bedtime, and paperwork.  You can decide your own groups.
  • Packing cubes give you more space in your suitcase. You can pack your items and a child’s clothes in the same luggage and then distribute once you arrive.
  • Use your packing cubes once you arrive to keep organized on day trips in the car.
  • Your clothes arrive in tip top condition with out wrinkles.  Keeping items in the cube keep them folded or rolled.
  • Cubes come in a variety of colors. You can color code your kiddos’ clothes and your clothes or organize by color.
  • Unhappy undoing your luggage?  You can unpack one cube at a time to break this task into small units.

Cubes are inexpensive and can be at your home via Amazon Prime in 2 days. It is a small investment to make your travel more organized. 

Questions to ask yourself while decluttering

decluttering

 

Letting go of stuff is hard work.  Besides your every present thought that “I might need this,” there is a pull at your heartstrings of an emotional attachment and a pull at your purse strings for what you paid for that stuff.  As I meet with clients, we are sorting through their items and asking questions to help them make decisions to edit. Asking yourself questions to help you declutter makes this task easier.

 

Questions about use

Questions about use help you determine how often you use an item and if so, whether to keep it.

Do I love it or use it?

When was the last time I used it?

If it is less than $20 and it takes less than 20 minutes to get it again, can I let it go?

If you could fit in this right now, would you wear it?

 

Questions about quantity

Questions about quantity help you let go of excess.

How many of these do I need?

Would I buy this again today?

Where do I store it to find it again?

 

 

Questions for lifestyle

Questions about lifestyle help you acknowledge your feelings about an item.

Does this help me be my best self?

Will my future self use this?

Is this holding me back?

 

Questions about emotional attachment

Questions about emotional attachment define whether to keep an item or let it go.

Is this something that makes me sad or reminds me of a sad time?

Does this make me smile?

Do I honor it as a keepsake?

 

Questions about finances

Does this have value greater than $50?

Should I sell this or donate it?

Can it be a blessing to others who have great need?

 

As you are decluttering and editing, think about this question, will your life be better for editing your stuff?  At the end of the day, less stuff means less to take care of and more life to experience.

Crafting calendaring habits that will change your life

Calendar and planner

 

Truly crafting calendar habits can change your life.  Calendars and planners are our road map to fulfill our goals and intentions. With a plan and tools you use well, your life will be easier, more productive and more rewarding.

Most especially at the start of the year, however all year long, we search for creative solutions to calendaring. There are two parts to this search. The search for the “perfect” tool” and the search for how to put it to use.  This year more of my clients with ADHD are crafting calendaring habits that are changing their lives.

 

How to get started

Get started by finding the right tools.  Know if you are a paper, digital or hybrid planner person.  I am learning that my clients do best with all three styles and a hybrid variation of these styles. In this case, my clients have a large month at a glance view, a week at a glance view, on both paper on a wall and in a medium sized paper planner. My clients use their phone, laptop and other devices to lay this out too.

Typically I have conversations about having one planner and this is not the case here!  While it does add time and focus to maintain these planners, it is valuable because all the view of all the information helps with processing. It gives context to the data.  On a month at a glance you see your information in comparison to other activities. On a week at a glance you know what you must accomplish in the short time span. With a digital version, you create recurring events and routines. While investing in these tools, you are investing in the opportunity to process information and keep all your balls in the air.

 

Routines to get started

Front loading is the way to start. This term means to add all dates and plans right away, as soon as you receive the information. It also means to front load the level of work required on a project. Front loading takes advantage of your natural energy and interest in both your tools and your projects.  Having these dates, projects and information easily accessible creates a foundation.

 

Keeping on keeping on

There are two elements that keep you on track with your new habits. First, keep adding information and dates as soon as you know about them. This information is in text, email, papers, conversations and meetings. It can be easy to lose track of these. Take time each day to record this in your planner.  Second, review your planner each morning and each evening. It is not enough to record and reviewing daily keeps this information top of mind and fresh.  When I learn that your new calendaring habits are failing, the root is often these two parts.

 

A weekly calendar review time keeps you moving forward. Once a week, check in from a big picture and detail view of your planner. This weekly review is familiar to those following GTD.  It is time for mind sweep to capture all ideas to keep your brain working on work and not remembering.  Capture your mind sweep on paper or digitally, then slot in all the information in your planner. Schedule your weekly calendar review at the start of your week or the end of the week.  Planning is what keeps you up to date and on track.

 

The most important element in your life changing calendaring habits is to not give up. Developing new habits takes time. This is a work in progress each week for you to create a pattern with a combination of dates and projects, as well as work-life integration.  Remember if you skip or miss a week, just get right back to your calendar tomorrow or next week.  Your tenacity  will pay off!

 

Check out my ADHD Friendly tips here on YouTube.

Hearts, Flowers and Organizing

Hearts, flowers and organizing

 

We’ve heard so often, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”  You set the scene for romance with jewels and flowers. So what do hearts, flowers and organizing have in common? According to the Five Love Languages and Real Simple, a lot!

What’s love got to do with it?

In the book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman shares the many ways we share and connect in love relationships.  These include acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, and receiving gifts.  Each of these are ways that we share connection.

 

Give a little gift of your heart

Acts of service is just one of these five. Acts of service are those ways you take on a responsibility for your loved one or perform an act of kindness.  These include vacuuming, doing the dishes, and routines around the house or at work. Now you can see how these two connect every day and especially at Valentine’s Day.

 

Families and homes have many responsibilities.  Set aside a family meeting time to discuss and assign home routines.  Be sure that there is an equitable distribution of work, hopefully assigned by preferences. Everyone hates to do dishes so work as a team to get this complete.  Together every one accomplishes more.

 

Words of love soft and tender

Another one of the love languages, words of affirmation, set the stage for romance. Words of affirmation are compliments, accolades and acknowledgements.

 

Show a little love with words of affirmation and gratitude.  Those who are washing and folding laundry, getting dinner on the table, or completing what is needed to keep you home up and running what to know you appreciate their efforts and that they are not taken for granted.  Knowing you appreciate them and their work keeps them motivated.  Share your gratitude with specific ways they are contributing to the organization, ease and energy of the house.

 

Love will keep us together

Quality time makes a difference. Quality time is spending meaningful time together.

 

Team work can be quality time.  That work together might be time with body doubling, where you are working independently in the same space, or teaming up together on the same project. No one likes to be told what to do and no one wants to work alone.  Make it fun and work together on organizing.

 

This Valentine’s Day, take the 5 love languages quiz and share some intimate organizing details over dinner!