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

 

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!

 

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.

7 Clutter Free Holiday Gift Ideas

clutter free gifts

Two Important Holiday Reminders

Here are two important holiday reminders for you this year!

 

holiday self care

Self care is in short supply during the holiday season. We have so much to do!  Take your self care seriously this holiday in order to have fun throughout the season.

 

There are elves everywhere!  Keep open to the possibilities!

holiday team work

3 Strategies for Effective Team Leadership Communication

 

Team leadeship communication

 

Keeping your team up to date is a critical communication strategy. There’s always more information, more to say and more to update than we can communicate easily.  As team leaders, we want to be transparent, efficient and effective in communication.  To be transparent, we strive to update all our team members simultanously on the current  initiatives, tactics and operations. It’s all about what’s the most efficient way to do this, rather than a blanket email.  Being effective encompasses both of these values as well as doing our work as a thought, vision and strategic leader.  Here are 3 team strategies that I use routinely for effective communication.

Strategic routine phone calls

It all started because there are so many details and so many emails in my work as NAPO President.  Rather than email daily with an unconsolidated list,  early on my Executive Directors and I determined that two calls a week could cover what we needed to cover with strategies and tactics.  These calls have an agenda that we complete as we gather information. The agenda has a spot for actions that we can refer to and complete.  Our Executive Directors value this since our conversations are high level, strategic and succint.  We allow 45 minutes for the calls, talk at the beginning of the week and end of the week.  It’s brought us and our work together.

 

Strategic use of tools

Google docs has become our most strategic tool for communication.  Google docs are an array of possible documents including spreadsheets.  This is a free option and we can access on all devices.  We have several google docs that are used for different agendas.  The President and Executive Director doc includes topics that are most important to discuss, FYI (not discussion, just for your information), and the list of Requests for Action (RFA) for our next meeting. The Executive Committee google doc is an open agenda.  As a leader of your team, determine what is required for weekly discussion.  This tech  tool is one of many different tools I recommend for leadership for many different actions.

 

Strategic long term communication

There are several factors important to communication. It’s what you are sharing, how frequently you share it and who you share it with.   A monthly update, posted to a community internal board, keeps everyone apprised of strategic work.  The update can be an excel spreadsheet chart with a column for completion or a narrative update.  Posting these with a year then month gives your team the option to see several months and review progress.  This all starts with your annual strategic planning, leading to initiative throughout the year.  Posting this monthly offers the opportunity for updated projections, updated tactics and assessing success.

 

Start your communication with a discussion about options.   Set a routine time to meet that offers everyone a time to do their most important work first and then update at a least productive time.  Be sure everyone updates their planner at the start of your collaboration.  Be open to flexibility when needed and be on target enough to keep the boundaries of your work together.  Fortune favors the prepared leader!

 

More leadeship ideas here!

Bring Spring

Bring spring

 

It’s been an extra long winter for us in Houston this year. With real snow, cold temps and dreary rain, we’re ready to bring spring. When we think of spring we think of fresh.  Bring spring into your home by freshening up and organizing.  A checklist also helps you keep every nook and cranny decluttered and organized. Getting organized is the best way to get out the old and start fresh.  This short list of areas in your home will help you bring spring into your domain.

 

Entry

The entry is where everyone drops everything as they enter.  It’s probably currently a collection of gloves, scarves, and boots.  Match it all up and get it back to it’s long term storage solution, which is best the back of an auxiliary closet in your home.

 

Guest room

Has your guest room become a dumping ground for returns, extra holiday wrapping paper or things you have yet to decide on?  It’s time to spend time clearing this space out, freshing up the bed linens and getting this room back to a welcoming space for friends and relatives.

 

Laundry room

One of the busiest and most neglected rooms in your home is your laundry room.  Have winter linens, single socks or just too many clothes gotten stuck in here?  Dig out with a few minutes of donating or distributing what’s stuck and reclaim efficiency here.

 

Master closet

Winter has about concluded. Now is the perfect time to let go of the winter clothes not worn.   Since this was one of our more serious winters, if you did not wear a heavy sweater, pants or other garments, it’s the time to donate what you are avoiding wearing. It’s a quick scan of what you have not worn, dropping the items into a shopping bag, and then off to your car to bring them to donate.

Dont forget your home away from home, Your Car

Your car has collected not only trash but lots of random books, clothes and other stuff this winter.  It’s time to run by the car wash for an interior cleaning.  Taking care of our valuable asset will also make us feel like we took an extra step of care.

 

Just like you, I am ready to bring spring into my home, office, and car!  Take time this weekend to welcome spring, get organized and enjoy your refreshed spaces!

 

More organizing and productivity tips here! Join my newsletter!

 

NAPO Cares! NAPO

 

 

National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals

 

NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, supports a cause each year. This year our efforts are focused on hurricane relief.  Our members have compiled a consolidated list of hurricane resources for your donations.  Many of us in the greater Houston area have already been giving our time and energy to individuals and groups locally. The greatest need is financial donations to help rebuilt homes and businesses.  #NAPOCares for our communities! 

 

TEXAS:

Bayou City Fellowship
www.bayoucityfellowship.com

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston
http://www.bgcgh.org

Carter BloodCare (covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas)
http://www.carterbloodcare.org

Diocese of Galveston-Houston
http://www.svdphouston.org/services/disaster-relief

Feeding Texas
www.feedingtexas.org

Food Bank of Corpus Christi

Houston Community Tool Bank

Houston Food Bank
www.houstonfoodbank.com

Houston Humane Society
http://www.houstonhumane.org/

Houston NW Church
https://pushpay.com/p/hnwhouston?src=hpp (select Harvey Flood Relief)

Houston SPCA
http://www.houstonspca.org/

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Greater Houston Community Foundation)

Real Life Ministries
https://app.clovergive.com/f/f2?formid=71aec719-e0f7-476b-9c33-e902121ea159

San Antonio Human Society
https://sahumane.org/

Society of St. Vincent de Paul
http://www.svdphouston.org/services/disaster-relief

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center
https://southtexasblood.org/harvey

Texas Diaper Bank

The Dallas Mayors Relief Fund
https://www.dallasfoundation.org/donate.aspx?tp=1000&fn=mayor%27s%20disaster%20relief%20fund (select

United Way of Greater Houston Hurricane Fund
https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood/flood-donation

Windwood Presbyterian Church
https://windwood.wufoo.com/forms/windwoods-hurricane-relief-fund/

SOUTH FLORIDA

Florida Keys Emergency Relief Fund

Global Giving
https://www.globalgiving.org

Good Samaritan Foundation – local senior living community
https://www.good-sam.com/foundation/donate

Hurricane Irma Relief Fund – by GlobalGiving – Vetted

The Hurricane Irma Relief Fund for Immokalee and Southwest Florida Farmworker Communities
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/immokalee

Senior Connection Center – Your Aging & Disability Resource Center
https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/WestCentralFloridaAreaAgen/OnlineGiving.html

The Miami Foundation (has a list of organizations that are accepting donations)

 

PUERTO RICO

United for Puerto Rico

HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED:

Before giving money to an organization, do your research. Charity Navigator, which identifies worthycharities, has a list of organizations responding after the storm.
The Internal Revenue Service has search tools that reveal whether an organization is eligible to receive tax deductible charitable contributions. If you suspect an organization or individual is engaging in fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. For advice on avoiding fraudsters, read Charity Navigator’s post on how to protect yourself, and check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission. Be very cautious when donating funds. There are impostors seeking contributions to false disaster relief charities in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Learn how to spot and report scams here! The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.

Gratitude Quotes I Love

gratitude Maya Angelou

 

Gratitude Oprah

 

Gratitude Ralph Waldo Emerson

Helpful Tips for your newly diagnosed ADHD Family

Helpful tips for your newly diagnosed ADHD Family

 

Remember the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” And so it goes with ADHD.  Many newly diagnosed kids in turn have newly diagnosed ADHD parents.  If you and your family have multiple generation ADHD, it is important to learn about your diagnosis and learn the next steps too.

 

Creating your team

Think of this diagnosis as one that includes challenges to Executive Function, a part of your brain that involves planning and processing.  It is more than just attention and hyperactivity.  Executive function can affect you and your child’s daily life, not just at school or work.  Aspects of ADHD include transitions, getting started, organization, prioritizing, motivation, and working memory.  In every day life that might be getting ready for work and school or organizing your paper work and school papers.

 

Getting a good team together to inform and address ADHD is critical, including professionals in the medical, counseling and coaching arena.   Developing a trust relationship, putting aside judgment, and focusing on care  will help you develop a plan that works for you and your family.  Start with your family pediatrician or your general practitioner to know who would be a good addition to your team.  Your team may include a psychiatrist, counselor, ADHD coach, and professional organizer.  Be sure to add team members who are well qualified ADHD professionals.

 

Learning more about ADHD

There are many venues to learn about ADD.  Associations such as the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (www.adda.org) and CHADD (www.chadd.org) are two of the primary first steps.  These associations have online, national and local presence for you to tap into and learn about ADD.  Finding a local chapter makes for camaraderie and a sense of belonging in your community.

 

Reading may be a top priority for you.  Blogs and books offer a look into the life of families and individuals with ADD.  Among the top are Terri Matlin http://www.momswithadd.com/, Tara McGillicuddy http://www.myaddblog.com/ and Arianne Benefit http://blog.neatandsimple.com/  and Laura Rolands http://myattentioncoach.com/adhd-coaching-blog/. Books include The Family ADHD Solution by Dr. Marten Bertin,  Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, or Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden.

 

Basic first steps

If you are looking for a few basic solutions for your family, these are a few first steps for you.

  • Set up good self care with bedtimes and good nutrition for everyone in the family. Having adequate sleep and high protein meals can make a difference for everyone.  Often this is the first area that families overlook.
  • Take care with over scheduling for the family. Allow more transition and down time than other families. For families with ADHD, the transitions and the rush of daily life ends up tripping them up.  Be sure that you are mindful of all members’ commitments. Use a family calendar, either with Google calendar or a large month at a glance calendar, posted in the kitchen where everyone can see it.  Host a family “meeting” weekly to go over who is going what, who is going where and what other new “surprises” are going on this week.
  • Address the stress with exercise, yoga, art, therapy and other ways to release the tension.   These activities help everyone with clarity.  Just being outside, taking a walk or even just a little movement can make a difference. All families have stress, but even more so with ADHD.
  • Place clocks in many places throughout your home.  A timer is a great investment in helping you and your child stay on task, get started and get done.  Choose a clock and timer with a “clock face” in order to see time elapsing.  Use it in transitional times too.
  • Put into place additional help throughout the week.  A daily Homework Helper can be a blessing for both parents and students. A local college student, older high schooler or other person can help your student focus and work as a partner with less stress than the parent.  A cleaning service, additional driver or daily money manager can be a blessing to a parent who struggles with these aspects.
  • Make a morning plan and evening routine with your family.  Talk through the plan, note the obstacles, make a chart and stick with your design for smoother family times.  It is always a struggle to be consistent for those with ADHD, but implement a smooth, simple plan for both the beginning and ending of the day.

 

Families with ADHD do best by focusing on the positive in specific, genuine ways.  Remember that a hug, a smile and a pat on the back can bring about the desired behavior and most especially the emotional feeling of being understood and loved.

 

More organizing and productivity tips here! Join my newsletter!

 

 

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