Our Intern’s Rules of Survival

(Note from Scott: Intern TJ is back with her report on how things are going in her life. I challenged her to include three items in her next blog post – Silver Spoons, backgammon, and Kamala the Ugandan Giant – so let’s see how she did)

The setting…. a cozy living room turned hybrid classroom and office by day.

The characters…. one bright-eyed 5-year-old kindergartner, one brilliant and eager 16-year-old high school junior, and one mama/CME professional/eLearning homeschool facilitator.

The props… One HP laptop, one Google Chromebook, one MacBook pro, two iPhones, one color coordinated family wall calendar that incorporates everyone’s class and business meeting times, one kids’ folding table full of papers, books, an assortment of crayons, one very small desk, and one large desk (slightly organized).

As my fiancé walks through the living room to leave for work, he notes, “Our living room sounds like a busy call center.” An excellent analogy.

Like many families across the country, we weren’t blessed with “Silver Spoons(that’s one)  in our mouths, and this scene may sound familiar to many of you. Trying to get acclimated to a “new normal” that involves parents working from home while facilitating their children’s eLearning schedules can be a daunting and exhausting task. Not only are you expected to juggle your regular schedules (not easy for those of us who are preparing for our first virtual annual meeting), you also have to juggle the schedule for your children.

Maybe you are already used to working from home. Maybe you already are as organized as Marie Kondo. Nevertheless, I’d like to offer four rules that I swear by to help you survive another week:

  1. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail
    My weeks begin on Sunday. I generally start by making a meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas for the week. For my kindergartner, that meal plan usually includes snacks. This is so important because it takes a task off my plate for the rest of the week.
  2. The early bird catches the worm
    I start every day at least 1 hour before my house is up. I take this quiet time to access emails, follow up on requests, and complete any task that was left undone the day before. I also make a list of what needs to be done for the day and refer to it throughout the day. By the time my family wakes up, I’m caffeinated and pretty ahead of the game.
  3. Take your lunches and break
    It’s not easy to separate work and home life when your home life is intertwined with work. But if you take a 15-minute break from your day and 30-60-minute lunch, it will help to rejuvenate you. What does that look like when working from home? Well, don’t use your break time and lunch to catch up on household chores. Treat your day as if you are away from home in the office. If you had to go to work every day, would you really fold clothes or do laundry on your lunch break?
  4. You are not in this alone
    We all have different techniques that work best for our households. Whatever you do, remember that you are not in this alone. There are more and more resources and tips available that you can access to help you get a jump on your progress.

Now… I’ll end this post with an ode to Kamala the Ugandan Giant (that’s two), who wrestled barefoot while wearing African War Paint for a mask; much like my kindergartner after hours, who wrestles with his dad barefoot in the living room. Enjoy!

(special aside from Scott: I worked at my college newspaper with a guy whose high school gym teacher was the very same George “The Animal” Steele shown in this video. True story.) 

(Not bad TJ. Got two of three, and probably the two hardest ones!)

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