At some point or another we’ve all heard the saying: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Well, that quote does not apply to this time and space we are currently living in. I used to sit and plan out my week based on my remote work. But these days, as a mom of a middle school pre-teen, I now sit and plan out our weeks based on remote work and remote learning.
It’s been a trial by fire, and I’ve finally come up with a plan that works for my family. Sharing is caring, so here’s the system I’ve leveraged that helps me fulfill my own client projects as a freelance digital marketing specialist, and be the best mom I can be.
Part I: For The Parents
- Every Sunday, at some point, I sit and make a list. The smallest of items included, from drinking coffee and meditating, to spending time with my son. Everything is a task.
- I then sit with my calendar and write in how many hours I have for work each day. This might take some auditing for you to figure out, but this has been life changing. I even add time blocks for lunch breaks or leisure.
- Once I have the time in, I add all the appointments or meetings that have a set time. By doing this, I can see how much time I actually have to get my “brain dump” list done. All the little things that may not be work related, but either leave me fulfilled or absolutely need to get done (picking up medication, etc.).
- I then set up my calendar by Immediate, Important, and Noted. Immediate is what needs to be done right away (anything with a time constraint, e.g. reporting to your boss, sending in a project, scheduling and creating content). Important are things that will get you to where you want to be. Noted are items you need to get to, but can likely wait a few days.
- At the end of the day (or the following morning), I place an arrow next to anything that did not get done and assign it as a priority. This helps the Noted list from growing into the equivalent of a junk drawer.
Part II: For The Kids
The key to this strategy is to be realistic about the amount of time you have each day. Now, here is how this same approach can be used for your child’s remote learning day:
- When remote learning began, one of the most helpful things I did was have my son write out his calendar on a subject calendar paper with the time and subject. I then hung a copy on the fridge, as well as our work station (yes, I now share a desk with my son- ha!).
- I then plugged all the links to his Zoom classes into a calendar on a Google sheet. This kept us from scrambling to find a link at the last minute, and lets him (and me) easily sign-on.
- Every week I share my availability with my son’s teachers. This helps them know when I’m available to speak to them about his progress, and when I can support him for any projects or new e-learning initiatives that may require a parent’s presence. This new way of learning is a team effort, and as a parent you can help set the tone for what is most helpful for you and your child through this transition. It’s unrealistic for me to sit next to my son 24/7 while he is in Zoom classes, so I let his teachers know when and how I can assist so that we can prepare accordingly.
- Now, back to your own parent weekly planning. Remember the categories (Immediate, Important, Noted) you placed for each item on your list? Copy that same format for your child’s Zoom meetings, tests, homework assignments, and any other events (counseling, OT, etc.).
And there you have it. For now, this is what has worked for me and my family. Allow yourself time to test out what works for you, and don’t be afraid to mix things up if something doesn’t feel right. Include the whole family and place your schedule somewhere where everyone can see it, or digitally share your calendar with your partner.
Here’s to us, we’ll make it through!
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