Here we are, in a situation none of us has ever been in before.
We all have to change the way we go about our days, change our habits and ways of doing things . As with everything else, this will take a little time but it CAN be done and done well.
I started working from home over three years ago when my children were 5 and 7 years old. I dropped them to school and was back in the house starting my day usually by 9 -9.30 am. My day would finish at 1pm, when I would have to pick them up from school. Now it wasn’t always the same every day. Some days the distractions of house work and phone calls stopped me and the day would slip away on me and I got nothing done. As I was starting out in business, I found this so challenging, so had to come up with some kind of plan to break this cycle.
So here is what I did…
Set up a plan for each day.
Every evening when the kids were in bed, I would write down 1 thing I intended to start, 1 thing I intended to work on and 1 thing I intended to complete. On a great day, I would achieve them all. Some days were a disaster, but I learned to find something that looked like progress in my day however small it seemed.
Setting a timer for 30 mins for the more challenging jobs eg. Technology and (Facebook Lives!!! Eek!!) helped prevent my energy getting zapped and feeling I had accomplished nothing.
One of the best things I did and still do today is draw a line through each item that I finished. I could very clearly see what I had achieved, which was very satisfying and prevented me from getting overwhelmed with all I had to do.
Stopped saying YES to everything
This was hard for me at the beginning. Saying YES to everything is not a healthy boundary that I had; in fact, boundaries were something I had no idea about. This included answering the phone immediately, even if I was in the middle of something. Every time I did that I would get distracted and feel so frustrated if I hadn’t completed my work at the end of the day.
Before I agreed to anything, I would look at my plan for the day first. This might have meant calling someone back or telling someone you would have to think about it. The same went with phone calls. If the phone rang and I was working I would check who was calling before answering. If it wasn't urgent, I would call them back once my work was done. That meant my work was complete and I could cross it off the list. This is such a game changer!
Noticed how I spoke to myself
Everyone has this little voice in their head that can be so critical and harsh at times. On my not so productive days, I began to notice the words, phrases and conversations going on for me and they were not pleasant.
“You just can’t do it, can you?
“Just give up Suzanne, for heaven sake”
“No one needs your coaching; you’re not a good yoga teacher”
“You are NOT a good enough mother”
Funny thing is, it’s through my coaching and yoga that I understand how our words and thoughts create our beliefs and our realities, so I had to change them. The moment I caught myself saying negative things, I stopped what I was doing and asked the question “Is that really true, is it really, is it ????
I kept asking that question until every bit of the negative chatter had gone. This is so powerful and if you practice this enough, it is amazing how you go from feeling useless to remembering all that you are.
You are enough and as good as anyone else.
Practice the Pause
This has served me so well. It is simple reminder to breathe in times of stress, in times of overwhelm or when you are just not in good form.
We have the ability to change our whole state when we breathe consciously and are the only animals that can do this. It is a practice of stopping what you are doing, taking a big breath in, holding the breath for one or two seconds and breathing out. Repeating this as many times as you like until you feel an ease in your body, allowing you to respond to a situation with clarity and reasoning, rather than reacting from a place of stress and upset. I find this works so well with my children when they are arguing or just not getting on.
This will be one tool I would definitely practice if you find yourself working from home and trying to keep yourself and your children calm. It may not work all the time, stick with it , I promise it will help.
Talked to my children
Children are amazing and we don’t give them enough credit. If they are old enough, they may understand in their own way what’s happening. If they are younger, talking to them in appropriate language for their age about what’s going on will make them feel safe in the middle of the changes. Children get it and will adapt very quickly to new ways of doing things. Their world has been changed to, remember. No more school, no playdates, sports, no friends and having to stay at home and entertain themselves. Just as we have to change our ways and how we do things, so do they.
Today, my husband and I sat down and explained just how serious these next few weeks are and how they may or may not unfold. We decided to come up with a schedule for our Monday to Friday week to include homework, screen time, exercise and mum and dad working time. We will work when they are watching a film when they are content and happy. We will work early in the morning before they children wake up and find more time during the day.
Now, I expect there will be good days and not so good days and that is ok. At least now, we all have a plan to make these next few weeks run as smoothly as possible.
Thinking and working smarter is what can make this work for all of us. We can manage the changes , manage the workload and be a great Mum!
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” Dr Wayne Dyer