This morning as I was checking my daughter’s school menu, I realized they only had three days left for this school year. Indiana school year ends early, and unfortunately begins early too.
It hit me though, how much change is about to happen.
I usually have a hard to adjusting to the new daily schedule with kids home, no more alarm clocks but more meals to prep which means more to clean. The warm weather and longer days mean more fun outside and more temptations to spend time doing anything other than sitting behind my laptop screen.
I want to enjoy the summer. I want to walk in the creek, plant flowers, go for a swim, take the kids to some dollar summer movie deals and stay up late around a campfire roasting marshmallows.
The only way I will be able to enjoy the summer, however, is if I am not stressing about all of the things I SHOULD be doing and are not doing.
Therefore, I am setting up a list of my top tried and true ways for parents to embrace scheduling changes. These tips have helped me overcome and avoid stress, remain on task and enjoy my play time.
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Create a New Routine
Expect that your old routine of kids getting on the bus at 7:15, is gone. You aren’t going to be able to keep getting up at your usual 6:30 because frankly, you want to sleep in. Allow yourself that! Heck, that’s why you have a flexible schedule! But pick a time to wake up, set an alarm and create a new schedule.
Work can be flexible but if you want less stress, you need structure.
I highly recommend you arrange some, if not all, of your work time to be when you are alone. Whether that is when your children are in bed at night or before they wake up. You can accomplish so much more in a smaller amount of time when there are less distractions. This is why it’s nice to work when they are in school.
I like to break my work up into pieces. I work some early in the morning when everyone is quiet or asleep. I’ll work in the middle of the day when the kids are busy playing and then again at night after they go to bed.
Allow for The Unexpected
This rule reminds me of the Weight Watchers diet. You are given so many “points” (kind of like calories without going into details if you aren’t familiar). However, you also have a little extra pile of points that you can choose to use each week if you want. These are great if you want to indulge a little but have already reached your limit.
Maybe an unexpected offer from a friend to have a slice of cake and coffee. Those extra points allow you to indulge without ruining your week. But then you know, once those extra points are used, you can’t do it again for the rest of the week. You’re at your final limit.
Same thing with working from home and having a flexible schedule.
You can allow for unexpected guests to change your schedule or an impromptu trip to the beach to stir things up with your work plans. But you must put a limit to how often this happens.
If you don’t, it becomes a regular thing, not only are you going to be stressed but work won’t be getting done to the best of your ability and you risk losing the job you worked so hard to find.
Allow for the unexpected, so you don’t get stressed when it happens, but keep a cap on it by saying no to too many off-beat adventures in a row. You can always plan them out for a better time that fits your work needs!
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Change Shifts or Adjust Hours
If you work on a set shift or have an hourly requirement. You may want to consider if asking for a change through the two to three months your children are out for summer break would work for your company.
It’s good to admit if our load is too much to handle and then scale it back when it is.