4 Productive Ways You Can Start Taking Control Of Your Schedule Again
For decades society followed a relatively monotonous schedule. Parents had careers, children had school, and toddlers had daycares. This was just simply how it was; no one questioned the validity of each person’s schedules and priorities.
Then came the pandemic. Almost overnight, every single person on the planet was told to shut in and wait it out. Businesses and schools were closed for the near future. Parents were back home due to being unemployed and having to adapt to being their child’s daily teacher, friend, and babysitter.
For a while, families seemed to relish in their newfound “freedoms.” Caregivers reported they appreciated that they got to spend more time with their children. School children felt relieved from academic and social peer demands. There was just one drawback, communities were advised to not go outside.
Masks became the most sought-after accessory, with an unprecedented amount distributed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). According to their records, “UNICEF has sent out 301.3 million surgical masks and 22.2 million N95 respirators and reached 127 countries.”
As the months went by and no reprise was happening, families had to accept that they had to adapt to online platforms for employment and education for some kind of “normal” schedule. However, this did not change the fact that everyone was at home, together, all the time. Parents were expected to remain focused on their jobs to bring in income while conforming to full time teachers and playmates.
Electronic sales increased very quickly as households needed multiple internet accesses to accommodate their new “normal.” Small children to adults each had at least one device that could access the internet, day, or night. This gave each person the freedom to separate rooms when studying or working.
This also gave each person the freedom to embrace social platforms as well, leading to online addictions and disconnect from family interactions. Everyone started losing sight of how they were spending their time in a healthy and positive way.
That being said, the following five ways will help you get back to being productive in a pragmatic and inclusive thinking pattern:
- Utilizing cataloging tools – One attribute of having unlimited internet access is the ability to organize your day via an app. These readily available applications are designed to keep your schedule more assembled and on track.
More companies have adapted their software to accommodate children and young adults as well. With unlimited alert options, such as music, sound bites, and lights, users find that they have a chance to relax knowing they do not have to worry about tomorrow as it will be right in the palm of their hand.
Have each capable person in the household input their weekly schedule. Only things they can control, such as work and school. These alerts should be a high priority. Homework and projects will come next.
Do not forget to set a time for everyone to plug in their phones and go to bed. Encourage and parallel healthy habits, such as reading a book or drawing. Children and adolescents will learn their boundaries again and regain their desire to interact with those around them. Your family will again feel in harmony and less distracted by tomorrow’s unrest.
- Do not feel ashamed to ask for help – As humans, we are meant to make mistakes, it is how we learn. As children, everything was a learning process. Yet, nothing really changes when you think about it. Even as adults, we seek and crave the latest information all the time. The brain never stops growing and needs this type of stimulant to keep moving forward. Reaching out to others will leave you feeling less anxious about the details and more focused on the next step.
Multiple reports have shown that housework is the number one chore that often gets overlooked or neglected by household members. With so many other distractions, like social platforms or homework requirements, having the energy to start laundry goes by the wayside for another day.
In short order, that one load becomes six and the weekend of relaxing is paused. Instead, give each person one task to complete per day. Have smaller children do the sorting, while older adolescents can load the washer and dryer. Make the folding a family event. Pop in a pizza and get to wrapping up this chore quickly and efficiently.
- Stop dawdling – When looking over your intended schedule each day, do you find that there are never enough hours to get everything done. By accepting that conclusion, there is no room for more positive answers or outlooks.
Yet, the answer is already there. Though you think putting off a task feels better, it causes more anxiety and restlessness. By completing the chore when it is fresh on your mind and energy to match, it leaves you feeling more accomplished and naturally tired at the end of the day.
If you have a report that is due at work at the end of the week, the time needed to research and write it properly will take hours. With too many distractions at home during the day, you figure you will power through on Thursday night.
While the idea is novel, it often leads to unfinished information and lack of validity as it felt rushed. Give yourself a total number to aim for, like four hours. This does not sound so unapproachable if you break it down to four days.
Dedicate one hour a night to focusing on the project at hand. If you spend that time quietly and focused, you will find that the information you are trying to relay comes more freely mentally.
- Make self-care priority number one – Since the pandemic, adults and adolescents alike have lost the desire to keep themselves looking polished. If there is nowhere to go, why get dressed and shower. Home cooked meals have taken a back seat to food delivery services that are readily available at their fingertips. Hot and ready to eat.
Requiring little energy. While these habits seem comforting and acceptable, these negative routines leave your emotions feeling less empathetic and doubtful. Giving yourself rest and personal attention, in response, will provide endless energy and a sharper awareness.
Allow yourself to have a long hot shower once a day, especially right before bed. Having this private time to yourself allows you to take a deep breath and let go of the day while remaining clean and approachable.
A few times a week, schedule a hobby hour. This could look like building birdhouses in the garage or painting your new masterpiece. Have each family member do the same. This teaches respect and boundaries around pastimes which are needed for good mental health.
Time management is just as important as time itself. We are only given so many hours in a day, no matter the occasion. Instead of re-hashing the tasks, you did not complete for the day, focus on all that you did do. Follow your schedule to the best of your ability and adjust when necessary.
As American naturalist and poet Henry David Thoreau once quoted, “It is not enough to be busy…The question is: what are we busy about?”