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7 Ways I Mastered My Schedule While Managing My Job, My Side Hustle, and Homeschooling During a Pandemic

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If you’d like to learn how to gain control of your life during this pandemic so you can get the most out of your days, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


The CoronaVirus pandemic has thrown the world into chaos, for sure. We’re all wearing multiple hats, many of which don’t fit very well. Not only do we have to figure out how to do our in-person jobs virtually and continue to make time for our side hustles, we also have to help our kids with their distance learning.  

With all these changes, it’s no wonder we feel like we’re juggling chainsaws on a tightrope over a pit of boiling lava. So now that it looks like this is going to be our reality for quite some time, how can we climb down off the tightrope and start to get control of our schedules again.

1. Utilize block scheduling to organize your day

With a block schedule you break up your days into chunks of time that you dedicate to one particular area of your life. For example, check in with work from 7-9 am, help your child with school work from 9-11am, work some more from 12-2pm, then spend some time on your business from 3-5pm.

Times can shift from day to day to allow you to be flexible for meetings and client calls, or you can have a firm, set schedule and stick to it no matter what. Every family is different and you may have to experiment with what works for you.

Here’s a rough outline of our schedule these days with our 3rd grader:

Mom Dad
7-9am Morning routine and free time Morning routine and free time
9-11am Help with the kids’ distance learning Job-related work
11am-1pm Job-related work Help with the kids’ distance learning
1-3pm Job-related work Side hustle work
3-5pm Side hustle work Job-related work
5-7pm Job or hustle work Job or hustle work
7-9pm Family time Family time
9-11pm Free time Free time

 

2. Set timers and alarms

One of the most difficult things about our current situation is that there’s no division between work, home, and hustle. Without external cues like driving to and from work, the afternoon meeting, or Karen in accounting’s morning smoke break, it’s easy for time to slide by without notice. A simple alarm or timer can alert you that it’s time to take a break or move on to the next thing on your to-do list.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

3. Keep the kids busy

Have a stockpile of activities for the kids to do while you have to work. Try to get toys and games that can be set up, played, and put away by the child (or children). The more hands-off you can be, the more focused you can stay, and the quicker you can finish your work. Coloring books, legos, blocks, books, dolls or action figures, and a host of other games can be enjoyed by kids without parental interference. Think of it as creativity training.

And don’t go crazy over screen time. If your kids are watching more TV or YouTube than usual, it’s okay. Try to have some go-to shows that you know are educational – we love Wild Kratts – but remember this is a season, not a lifetime. Your kids will be fine, even if they go above the AAP’s recommended screen time allowance.

4. Delegate tasks that don’t need to be done by you

For work or business tasks, consider a virtual assistant. There are millions of people who are looking for work with skills that can help make your life easier. For home tasks, get help from your spouse or even the kids – a global pandemic is time for everyone to pitch in. You can also consider outsourcing mealtime with services like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron, or supporting your local restaurants.

5. Set clear, minimal goals

Just because you’re home all the time, doesn’t mean that you have to check every item off your honey-do list. While quarantine might seem like the perfect time to restain the deck, clean out the garage, launch a new service, completely retool your website, and write the great American novel, you are likely just as busy now as you were BC (before Corona), if not more.

Instead of trying to be all things to all people, focus on small successes in each priority area of your life – work, family, and side hustle. For example, rather than reworking your entire website, a smaller goal would be to rewrite your about page.  

“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.” – Steve Garvey

6. Let your kids help with your job or side hustle

In the time of Corona, every day is Take Your Kids to Work Day! And kids love to help out – my daughter will do anything for a quarter and the title of “assistant.” Some tasks that can easily be handed over to kids are stapling packets, stamping envelopes, and other “menial” tasks that no one likes to do. You can also hand your phone over to your child and ask them to take pictures of you working that you can later use on your website or on social media.

7. Take it one day at a time

Let’s face it.  No one prepared for this.  Even people with giant bomb cellars and stockpiles of food weren’t prepared for the world we’re currently in. So give yourself and your kids some grace. Some days are going to be great, and you’ll feel like you are owning this quarantine.  Others are going to make you feel like a complete failure. In as much as anything is these days, that is normal.

Don’t berate yourself because you miss a deadline, your kids refuse to do any work, or you forget to update your social media postings. You are doing great!

How are you currently handling the coronavirus pandemic? Are you finding that you’re getting a lot done from home? Share your thoughts on it below!

Stacey Ogden is the CEO of Side Hustle Teachers and founder of the Edupreneur Academy.  She has built a community of more than 4,000 educators supporting each other on their entrepreneurial journeys, and helped dozens of teachers start and grow profitable side hustles, all while maintaining her full-time teaching job.  That’s right - she walks the talk. Stacey has been featured on CNBC, The Huffington Post, Bored Teachers, and numerous podcasts, including Pep Talks for Side Hustlers and Boss Mom. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughter, and two furbabies.

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