Virtual Time Management
Working remotely while the children are learning remotely can be a challenge for everyone involved. We are learning to embrace new ways of doing things, relying more on technology to stay connected, and there isn't a manual to make it easier for everyone to adjust. Planning for the next day and the entire week if you can, helps to set expectations and remove some of the stress. Create the plan for the week together. Here are some ways to make Virtual living more fluid and less frustrating.
Create a Schedule
This is especially helpful if space is limited. Instances where there are multiple children needing their own space for learning while you are working can create a challenge for everyone. You have to know everyone's schedule and you have to create a master schedule to set the expectations. Bring all of the schedules together and create a master solution for your family. Create a "Quiet" sign if needbe, and see if the schedules coordinate for lunch time where everyone can come together and exhale from the screen, learning, and meetings. Don't forget to add some light exercise into your breaks between classes and meetings to keep the blood moving in the body!
Being at home does not excuse you from getting your exercise in! The children do not have Physical Education unless you create the opportunity for them. During their breaks between classes, they can do jumping jacks, sit-ups, push ups, high knees and more. You can do the same between meetings. Have a step challenge for the day and see who can get in the most steps before lunch. Have a one-minute challenge for the most jumping jacks or mountain climbers. Make it fun. Exercise stimulates the mind for concentration and creativity and we could all use that!
Let's face it, we need accountability in our lives. Whether it is the schedule so we stay on track, the plan so we stay focused, or the acknowledgement from someone, accountability helps fuel productivity. Post the schedules in a common place, and remember to include a space for you to track your step count! Whoever wins the challenge gets to pick dinner or the next movie. Accountability has gotten a bad rep over the years, but it's one of the best things to keep us on track. If you can hold yourself accountable or if you need someone to help hold you accountable, you are still amazing!
Let's face it, we all like to celebrate and what better way to keep the momentum going than to celebrate wins large and small. Maybe everyone's step goal before Lunch Time is the same and the one who exceeds the group goal gets to pick something. However, everyone who reaches the group goal should celebrate. Set realistic goals so you have the motivation and the inspiration to achieve even more the next time. And help the ones who did not achieve the group goal and let that satisfaction of helping someone else encourage you and them to keep striving.
There's that "P" word. Patience runs out when we are tired, behind schedule, overwhelmed, and burning out. So how do you have patience when the children can't get connected, the teachers are helping someone else in the class, and you are late for the meeting you are running? You breeeaaaaattthhhheeee and you say a prayer helping you release what you can not control and for wisdom and creativity for what you can control. You remind yourself you are one person who can only do the best you can do at what you are doing; and as long as you are giving your best, you let that carry you patiently to the resolution of the obstacles that have created a nice "domino effect" in your day. Then you look forward to those moments of exercise to work off that stress and those things you did well so you can celebrate yourself out of the frustration and into the productive side of things.
We are all figuring it out, and we will make mistakes along the way. However, because we are a resilient people, we will also find tips, tools, and habits that help get us through. Feel free to share some of yours below. Here are a few ideas that work in various situations:
Create cubicles with Tri-Fold Poster Board so children have semi-private work spaces
Create an obstacle course in the driveway or yard for Physical Education
Include some of the children's chores during their breaks to free up time in the evening
Create that schedule for children't break time to help them get a break from the 'screen' and get a jump on their homework, reading assignments, and chores
Schedule lunch and check in with everyone to see what is working and what needs to be tweaked
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