Since it’s official here in the Pacific Northwest that our kids will be doing remote learning for the rest of this school year, I thought it would be helpful for me to list out a few tips that I have heard and tried out to keep my “business Jackie” and my “family Jackie” separate while keeping the remote learning on track for the next school year. 

Get up, shower and get dressed. 

Honestly, I did not jump on this bandwagon at first. Why? My sweatpants are cozy and nobody can see me anyways, but two weeks into the stay at home order I quickly learned that it’s more about mindset than my looks. If I get up, shower and get ready for my day then my mind is up and ready for the day too. I get more work done, I smell a whole lot nicer, I have more patience with my kids and I am able to make a social media post with my face in it that does not look like I just crawled out from under my bed. 

Create yourself a schedule.

This is crazy hard for me right now! I have three kids, they all are in different schools each with their own class meeting schedules along with my husband's work schedule. It's sooooooo hard for me to manage. I had to sit down and write my own schedule out, read that title again it’s create “yourself” a schedule. A schedule that was just for me and then I added the important family events, zoom classes, and meeting back in around what I needed to get done. Without my morning alone time I am useless to everyone so creating a schedule that has my needs at the center has helped me stay productive and half way sane. 

Create a space and create the ground rules for work time. 

While you're creating a schedule for yourself go ahead and create a space for you to use for work. A place preferably with a door where you can lock your family out. Now, I love my family dearly but mommy needs a few solid hours of time to write these blogs, work on business marketing and do zoom meetings so stay out! Kids think that since you’re home you will address their every thought and listen to them complain about every little need but this mommy has a dedicated work space and when I am inside that workspace I am off limits. My schedule says I am working for the next 2 hours in my space so go complain to the chickens, play with the dog, or create some crazy science experiments on the dining room table. I will not respond to you or your mess until I am done in my newly created work space. 

Don’t forget your friends. 

Pretend you're in that show where you guess the right answers and while it slowly makes you a millionaire with each correct guess at any time you get to phone a friend whenever you need it. Even game shows know you need to contact your people when you're stressed out! Nowadays, you can call, text, Face time or zoom a familiar face into your day for some much needed reassurance, laughter and smiles. You can create a morning pep talk over coffee or a happy hour with your favorite wine. Just remember, you're not alone. 

Keep moving, don’t stop, get it, get it!

In my mind you are all dancing to that song now and having a wonderful time moving your body. It’s easy to become a couch potato I know because it’s my default setting but keeping your body moving with daily exercise will help keep your mood up and your body healthy through this ordeal. I have a daily 3pm dance party with myself and of course my teenagers hate it, but when it’s time to dance you got to dance. Even if I do not for one second feel like dancing when my 3pm phone alarm goes off, by the end of the song I am up and ready for the rest of my day. Okay, sometimes the next song is also my favorite so I may or may not keep dancing. 

Podcasts are keeping me grounded. 

No matter what you're into or what you want to learn there is something you can listen to that will make the mundane everyday business tasks and the household chores more enjoyable. Being 100 percent a people person, I really like listening to people talk. It is filling up the part of me that is missing being out and talking to every living thing that I see. My kids are also into podcasts and it gives us a whole new world of topics to chat about, although sometimes it makes me wonder about this next generation. I am hopelessly devoted to TED talks and the TED Radio hour podcast keeps me very well fed with endless hours of humans talking and teaching me all the trivia this girl needs. I also really enjoy the Beautiful Anonymous podcasts on my daily doggy walk and have learned that the I Heart Radio app has a 24/7 comedy station when I just need to laugh. Get those ear buds out and start searching!

Work on your business.

I like to think that I work on my business even without being safe at home, but really I am always working in my business. Working on getting leads, talking to families, attending business meetings, doing photo sessions and editing. Working on my business means reorganizing my files, rewriting some procedures, blogging, creating new marketing material, cleaning up my over crowded desktop and maybe revisiting that business plan I wrote once to make sure I am achieving my goals. I could update my website, my social media business pages or that old business mission statement. It’s all the business would have, could have, should haves, that I now have time to do. 

Feel grateful and maybe grab a jar.

I read someplace about a family that has created a Grateful Jar where every time you think of something you're grateful for you write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. I also read of a different family that has a jar full of “wishes” written on their slips of paper. Every time the kids wish they could do something, they write it down, place it in the jar and when this is all over they will have a whole summer filled with things to do. I decided to mash these ideas together for a grateful summer to do list. I guess you could have a jar, a journal or like my family, a ceramic rooster teapot. The whole point of the exercise is to really feel grateful for where you are, what you have and have hope for where you're going. These are scary times and focusing on all the silver linings and positive feelings will help keep your mind clear, your family focused and your heart full of love. 

Stay Safe and Take Care,