By Nan Nan Liu-Maffetone | Strong Female Leaders | Target Audience: work at home mommies, work at home parents

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As long you have your health, your family, and most importantly, the confidence and calm to take on the most challenging situations, you have the right to let everything else go.
Work at Home Mommies' COVID-19 Survival Tips
Because of COVID-19, the way we work has changed drastically. All of a sudden, we have become work at home mommies. Our new professional lifestyle brings both the convenience of avoiding commute, as well as the inconvenience of homeschooling our children. We have to invent new ways to maintain old routines, and also preserve a sense of comfort, consistency and self. At times, things can feel challenging. For example, a simple activity like making lunch for kids suddenly feels like a burden when we have only the lunch hour to take a breather for ourselves.

Ever wonder how you can embrace the new normal as work at home mommmies? We haven't a cure-all, but we can recommend fresh ideas to help you stay happy and productive:

1. Architect a base structure for daily routines.
No matter how much your world has changed, one thing remains the same: you still have 24 hours in a day. Within your waking hours, then, construct a base structure with time blocks for each day, fill the blocks with repeatable priority activities like work hours and meetings, and fill the rest with flexible and interchangeable plans.

You and your partner should create your routines first. Then, move on to your kids'. Make sure that events that are essential to your family, such as meal time and homework, show up on everyone's calendar.

Planning requires effort, but also paints a clear picture of your immediate future. With that vision, you gain a sense of control and a peace of mind.

2. Schedule your breaks.
You can't take care of your family if you don't take care of yourself first. You may not realize it, but handling work, school and household chores require tremendous amounts of energy. On top of it, living the COVID-life is like running a marathon, simply because there is no end date in sight. If you fail to exercise self care, you will burn out. Therefore, it is important to pencil in activities that you enjoy, such as hobbies, baths, workouts, meditation, and re-connecting with your partner.

The situation takes a lot of your time right now; you reserve the right to keep some of it to yourself.

3. Outsource if you can.
If you have the means to hire help, do it. You make money for a reason. List all the time-consuming tasks on your plate, and outsource what you can afford. Need examples? Here are a few:

If you can have groceries delivered, why would you spend precious hours in the store? No time to cook? Meal delivery services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats can bring your favorite restaurant foods to your house; Amazon Wardrobe allows you to avoid the hassle of trying on clothes in stores; dog walking services like Rover can save you an hour a day by walking your pet; and your neighborhood kid can mow your lawn for under $10 per visit.

There are things that you must do yourself, like your job, bed time stories with the kids, and financial planning for your family. For everything else: delegate, delegate, delegate!

4. Stagger shifts with your partner.
Can you wake up earlier and get things done at work early in the morning, while your partner wakes up later and finishes work later in the day? You may be able to "create" more hours if you think outside the box.

5. Adopt an agile mindset.
If a task-based project board helps, use it. Some people work better with specific tasks and tight deadlines. An easy way is to make a Kanban Board often used by agile software development teams, with columns named "TO DO's," "IN PROGRESS," and "DONE". Put every upcoming task in the "TO DO" column, and size each one with a 2-3-day deadline. Then, start putting them in "IN PROGRESS."

The system is straight forward, efficient, and visual, and arouses everyone to take action.

6. Set daily goals.
When work life and home life merge into one nebulous essence, your days can feel meaningless over time. To avoid becoming disenchanted, inject meaning into each day by setting challenging yet reasonable goals.

If it helps, separate your goals into categories of career, family and health, and add stretch goals for extra motivation.

7. Let it go.
Too much screen time? Let it go. Forgot to water the plants? Let it go. Missed a webinar? Let it go.

Whatever mistakes you've made and will make, let them all go. When you accept reality and know what you cannot control, you can now focus on the more important things in life.

As long you have your health, your family, and most importantly, the confidence and calm to take on the most challenging situations, you have the right to let everything else go.

Parting Thoughts
Work at home mommies have it hard. But work at home mommies, or just parents in general, are also resilient, resourceful, and adaptable. We rise when we are confronted with challenges and perform the best when we are under pressure, all because we have more reason to overcome difficulties. We are, after all, setting an example for our children.

Need more help? The books below are good resources.
1) The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done

2) Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
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