As the coronavirus pandemic upends work and home life, it’s important to manage expectations. With social distancing restrictions closing offices, schools, and most businesses, many employees have unexpectedly had to start working from home, many of them with their children present.
Time management is one of the most common issues affecting productivity under normal circumstances, but we’re operating in strange times. Working from home automatically comes with its own additional time management challenges. But now, we are all dealing with time management on top of undeniably chaotic events that are unfolding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids' usual routines have been profoundly disrupted, by the pandemic and not being able to attend school or meet with friends in person. Establishing new routines can help kids feel safe and act as a “stability anchor” during times of stress.
Tips for Distance Learning and Homeschooling
With schools across the country closed and unlikely to reopen in the near future, families have had to compile teaching materials, set up schedules, and find ways to keep kids engaged beyond the limited hours of remote-learning school days. Parents who are pros at packing lunches and juggling sports practices are having to adjust to taking over for teachers and child care providers into the foreseeable future. As families transition into teaching roles, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed managing students’ school days at home. Here are some tips to help better manage home schooling while you work from home:
- Consistency helps students focus, so start with a daily schedule. Skilled teachers often begin the school year with a great deal of structure, because kids learn most easily when they know what to expect. By building in breaks and a range of activities, parents can tailor plans to meet children’s individual needs. Remember to be flexible and keep your child’s experience and personality in mind.
- When teaching, wait for eye contact before giving verbal instructions to kids. After you’re done, ask them to restate the main points of what you’ve said. Get to the child’s eye level to help communication, and limit verbal directions to two steps for preschoolers and three steps for older kids. The remote-learning situation will test everyone’s patience, so remember to take time for yourself.
Lower your own stress.
- Structure academic activities around kids’ attention spans. Most elementary-school kids can work on assignments for around 25 minutes before they need a break. Use a timer or time-management software to arrange breaks, which can also become transitions to new tasks. Or have kids do some jumping jacks, get a drink of water, take a short walk, climb stairs or play a game to help them refocus.
Mental health professionals have long argued for parents to “put on their own oxygen masks first” and care for themselves so they can better care for their children. Now it’s even more important because research has shown that the lower your “total parenting stress,” is, the less likely it is that stressful life events will cause your children to be anxious. Your children may need some extra love, affection, and attention during this time, even if a tantrum leaves everyone involved feeling exhausted or frustrated. Your children are tapped into your emotions, as well as the overall energy of their environment. They may have a difficult time adjusting to a new routine or feel overstimulated. Play calming music throughout your home to help stimulate feelings of relaxation. For more info on stress and coping during this time please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
Tips for Working from Home
If you’re in a work from home situation, with the right effort, you can stay productive while taking care of yourself and your loved ones. Here’s how you can stay at the top of your professional game during these unprecedented times:
- Designate a workspace. Set up an area of your house to use as a workspace. Sitting down in this space sends a clear signal to your brain that it’s time to focus. Stay away from your designated workspace when you’re not working. Make sure that your workspace is ergonomic. While sitting on a comfy couch or your bed may sound nice, typing on your laptop while doing so for a long time could strain your back or neck. For more detailed tips please visit: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/vickyvalet/2020/03/12/working-from-home-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-what-you-need-to-know/amp/
- Get ready for the day. Take the time to go about your normal morning routine; take a shower, and get dressed for the day. If you normally go to the gym, supplement your routine with exercises at home. Designate some work clothes, even if they’re more comfortable than your typical professional attire.
- Set a schedule. Create a daily schedule and put it in writing. Generate a digital schedule or jot it down with pen and paper, and stick it in a visible place. Come up with a detailed to-do list that’s broken down into categories based on importance.
- Recognize that meetings are increasing. Without the ability to have the organic conversations that in-person offices allow, virtual meetings, whether impromptu or scheduled, are now the lifeblood of how people engage with one another.
In the era of COVID-19, many people don’t want to leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary, which has drastically shifted how businesses operate. While many retailers and restaurants are shut down, remote work in education, banking and financial services, and health care could become the norm in a post-coronavirus world.
Since the onset of the pandemic, telehealth companies that allow patients to see doctors or therapists via their computers or phones have become more popular. With uncertainty lingering over how long the virus may be around, this could mean a fundamental change in how companies and entrepreneurs conduct business.
The Police Credit Union is among those financial institutions now offering the convenience of virtual appointments for discussing consumer loans, including personal and auto loans and Visa cards. To learn more please visit: www.thepolicecu.org/videocall.
Along with the rest of the world, we are hopeful that in time, the Coronavirus crisis will be brought under control, and we will create a new normal of how we live our lives. When we do, people will remember everything that happened during these life-changing months. So, to the extent you can, spend time on reinforcing your foundation—your family, your team, your relationships, your ideas and execution, and continue to look forward to what can be accomplished now and in the new future to come.