April 8, 2020

How to Plan In Uncertain Times

If you’re feeling like your schedule is different and way off, IT IS. If you are frustrated, feeling like you’re fighting an uphill battle, I want to bring you a little hope and encouragement for your home. If you’re looking for cleaning tips for this crisis, check out this post.

Let me just start by saying there isn’t one ‘right’ way to choreograph your day, this is just what’s been working for me/us right now. I’m a work-at-home mom, my husband is still going to work because of the nature of his job, and we have three kids at home that I am responsible for home-schooling amid the stay-at-home orders. We’ve been home for almost 4 weeks and I feel like I have a little bit of a rhythm for our days. I thought it might be helpful for you to see how I’m planning things out with the hope that it’s helpful for you.

Just because your schedule just cleared doesn’t mean you can’t plan. A plan is what is getting us through right now. A little direction, a plan for the day and week can help keep our eyes ahead and moving forward.

I started by erasing every single commitment from the wall calendar in April – that felt weird and sad. I think that it’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay to be sad for what we had planned. I’m also choosing to flip that on its head and say that we also can control what we put back on that calendar. Was there anything I was happy to erase or relieved we didn’t have to do? Put a little thought to those things too as we go through this over the next couple months.

Typically I am a block schedule person – I use 30-60 minute increments and productively work through work and home tasks while the kids are at school. This is not working right now for me or for us, so I’m needing to be flexible and grab a minute or two when I can. I have decided that I am just reverting back to the same mindset I had when I had babies and little ones and was working from home. Do what you can, when you can. It is easy for me to also revert back to some unhealthy work boundaries I had during that time period as well so I need to safeguard some things so I don’t get into bad (for me) habits like working into the night and answering emails all day long.

Determine your musts – what are the things that have to get touched on daily?

CLEAN HOME: I have my non-negotiable Cleaning Routine Tasks on my Homekeeping Planner – this keeps me on track and keeps the house tidy. Some days I spend 15 minutes before the kids get up on a cleaning task, some days it’s all hands on deck and we work through a task together – flexibility is the key and the goal is to clean up after ourselves and keep the home consistently clean. Here’s a post on how to show your kids how to clean with a free printable chore chart.

SCHOOL: I was a teacher for almost ten years and this.is.hard. Three kids, 20 teachers between the three of them and there’s just a lot to manage, not to mention trying to figure out the technology components for what each teacher is doing. What’s working for us? Having a set school time during the day – 9am-11am – seems to be working. The two middle schoolers go to a quiet place in the house and work on their school work and I work with our 2nd grader through his assignments in my office. If he’s reading or doing something independently, I squeeze in a little work time – answering emails or questions is typically what I can concentrate on in little spurts.

WORK: If you’re still heading out to work, that’s a must and you’re probably planning differently or more right now. If you’re suddenly working from home, you have a whole new set of rules to worry about, if you’re reporting to a boss, working for yourself, or doing the work that comes with being a stay-at-home mom, you are working. Treat your work time as an important part of your day and do what you can, when you can. Finding a work space in your home and having a clean and clear workspace can be helpful. I also find that turning off notifications is really helpful for me right now – keeping the phone on silent helps me focus.

QUIET TIME: Everyone needs a little breathing room and time alone – this used to be the coveted nap time, now we call it quiet time. It’s a little time in our room or in a space by ourselves to do a ‘quiet activity’. This typically takes place for an hour or two after lunch – if I have a phone call I schedule it around that. Some days I need to work longer than this time so our oldest will babysit for a bit while I work. I’m not a big fan of screen time but this has relaxed right now and I’m fine with it.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY + FRESH AIR: I start the day with coffee and a little quiet time and will go for a run or a long walk as soon as it’s sort of light outside. This is just my normal daily routine and it feels good to keep this going. The kids and I will go outside and get some physical activity before dinner and fresh air even if it’s just for a couple minutes to run the dogs in the yard or to play catch.

MEAL PLANNING: Meal time could be a free-for-all, but in order to keep tabs on our groceries and stretch out the food we do have, meal planning is a must. I’ve been ordering food every 7-10 days for milk, eggs, and produce and working through our freezer for meats and protein. I plan the way I usually do but am a little more stingy with portions and try to make extra for lunches or leftovers.

How about you? What are you finding helpful for planning right now? 

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