Back to school this year is no joke. Keeping your business in motion while juggling childcare and distance learning is going to be a challenge, but with a few tweaks and a positive attitude, agents can find ways to blend more family time into the workday.
Back to school this year is no joke. Keeping your business in motion while juggling childcare and distanced learning is going to be a challenge, but with a few tweaks and a positive attitude, agents can find ways to blend more family time into the workday.
1. Hold a morning huddle
Earlier this spring, during Round 1 of distanced learning, I spoke with Billy Ekofo, with Leading RE, who created a strategy to have a team meeting with his school-age kids each morning to go over assignments and break them down into manageable tasks.
Creating structure and letting kids know that what they can expect each day will help you time-block your schedule as well. Build in blocks of breaks for everyone, so you have time to return calls and emails.
Check out our conversation here for some more inspiration about how to craft up your morning huddle. This morning huddle needs to apply to yourself, too.
Get up, huddle with yourself, and make your plan for your day. I recommend the Ivy Lee Method to keep things manageable and to prevent burnout.
2. Focus on progress, not perfection
At this point, it’s fair to say that everything is disrupted. We all need to work on creating new expectations for ourselves as parents, for our kids’ teachers and especially for our kids.
Making space for errors will be an essential part of making distanced, hybrid and in-person schooling, with its new elaborate pickup and drop-off schedules, work.
Can we really expect kids to stay engaged on the computer all day? We must learn to advocate and ask questions for our kids’ learning styles. And we all need to have patience to make this work.
Be sure to communicate clearly with clients and colleagues that you are still available to them, but that unless it’s an emergency, you will call them back during designated times.
Work on making it through assignments, but stop stressing if honor roll isn’t in the cards this time around. Let’s reduce the stress for everyone and take away some of the pressure. Kids can catch up and adapt. Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way.
3. Be ready to move
Workspaces will need to be more fluid for everyone. Creating stand-up, sit-down and fidget options will help break up some of the tedious workflows of virtual options.
Creating a portable backdrop for video calls might be helpful, too, for kids who have parents or siblings in the background. Utilize your fold-up event tables, and mix up workstations for the kids and yourself to keep things fresh.
Grab an old book bag, and make a few grab-and-go entertainment packs in case you need to turn your car into a mobile office. Headphones, coloring books, extra battery packs, snacks and drinks can all be utilized if you need to run out and keep everyone entertained for errands.
4. Prep, prep and prep some more
Do everything you can to make commonly asked questions and needed items for your business easy to access for your clients. Create a regular communication schedule with your team and clients.
Prep food and snacks in advance, so you are not cooking constantly. Do everything that you can to make everyone in the household a little more independent to take some weight off your shoulders.
Get a smartwatch, set up reminders to drink water, set up calendar reminders for everything — and take breaks. To keep your mental health up and your stress levels down, you need to have more breaks built into your day right now. This isn’t business as usual, so stop holding yourself to those standards.
5. Let things go
This is the hardest one. There are a lot of challenges right now, and people are not their best selves. It’s OK if things are not what they were. They can’t be, and fighting to bring peace into your business and your life will require vigilance.
Every day is a fresh day. If yesterday didn’t work, you have tomorrow to try again. Stay connected, and ask for help when you need it.
Budgeting experts often push the idea of saving for a rainy day. I encourage you to save some of your energy right now for rainy days, too. I see many in the housing industry pushing themselves to the max right now.
Make sure to set boundaries and ask for help so that you can get rest, eat and stay healthy. The argument for finding work-life balance has been ongoing for years in our culture. If anything, 2020 has taught us is that it’s not a balance as much as a blend to keep moving forward.
We are reevaluating childcare, the traditional 9-to-5 workday and the typical learning setting, and so much is being innovated right now in this time of change. Find your blend, keep pushing forward and remember to keep finding reasons to love what you do.
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting and blogging. Feel free to tweet her @rachaelhite.