Life under lockdown is so different from our normal routines, added to the stressful uncertainty of how and when life will ever be ‘normal’ again.
People may find it hard to manage kids, a home life, and a work life when it has all suddenly blended together. This is not what any of us have planned! Being stuck at home, we are surrounded by distractions and temptations and are anxious about many things. For me, during this time it becomes more important to create structures and routines that allow me to stay productive and on top of things that could otherwise slip through the cracks and not get done. Planning weekly and daily schedules have become my life savers these past few months.
Weekly and daily schedule
You and the other members of your family most likely have work or school needs that must be met in the midst of this pandemic. Creating a weekly schedule that is agreed by everyone is a great way for each person to have uninterrupted time to accomplish their personal tasks. When you have uninterrupted time to get things done it is easier to stay focused.
We can all agree that when creating an effective routine it's important to schedule the ‘non-negotiables first. This means prioritizing effective amounts of sleep, regular mealtimes, and daily exercise hours. These are family activities that can be engaged together or separately depending on the situation of each family. When you complete the essentials on your list of things to do you feel a sense of accomplishment that gives you the energy to finish the rest of the non-negotiables for the day resulting in a great productive day.
A personal routine vs a work routine
For me a routine is a set of activities that we do in a certain order, oftentimes to prepare us for a future day or activity. There are multiple areas throughout the day where we could use a plan of action to get us into a specific headspace. For example, a morning routine helps to prepare us for the long day ahead. It allows us to feel focused and energized. A quick routine before work can help to shift our focus from the chaos of home to productive work time. A bedtime routine helps you wind down for the night and help you sleep easier. Anyone with kids knows the importance of getting a bedtime routine.
A schedule for the kiddos
One aspect of life that will not under any circumstance feel normal is having to schedule your kids’ time as well as your own. Up until now for 7 or more hours a day they were put in the care of their school teachers. Now all of the sudden you have to set boundaries and plan out their schedules. You become the teachers and the daycare counselors. I think that the first step is accepting that a large part of your daily routine success is how well your kids’ routine is set. I think we can all agree that working from home can be extremely challenging when the kids are all over the place. If you have not already, you should establish an age appropriate routine for them. Once they get in the habit of doing the same thing everyday, it will be easier for you to work on your goals. And it teaches them the importance of setting personal goals for themselves while learning valuable life skills.
A dedicated space for work
Our brains can easily switch from ‘home mode’ to ‘work mode’ when we've got a good work space to focus in. it is a lot harder to make that switch when work and home are in the same place. Spending time to create yourself the perfect work space is a great way to ensure that you complete your desired daily routine. Having a work space keeps you focused and less like;y to be distracted by your surroundings. Kids also enjoy having a work and play space of their own. Older kids will benefit from a work area that they can leave and reenter knowing what is expected of them when they have work to get done.
None of this is going to be easy. We are all still adjusting to this unusual year and it may take time for some of us to create daily routines that will actually work for us. It is important to be patient with yourself. Remember that setting personal schedules during this pandemic could end up being a longer term necessity than any of us originally realized. The attitudes and skills we are all currently developing may stand us in good stead for the long haul.
The skill of setting a strong schedule and a good routine will help the year go by faster.