So many people are feeling displaced right now. Schools have been closed, employees are being told to stay home, and for most, their normal day-to-day routines have been completely up-ended.
Many people identify themselves with the work they do and the lifestyle they lead and they find comfort in the routines they have. With all of that being in question right now and forced into abrupt change, what will this do to them?
I can imagine the feeling of not knowing how to proceed from here. Of being unsure how to create a new routine for themselves and their children. The feeling of not knowing really what to do to occupy their time. Their worry about getting sick if they go out and stress levels from being locked indoors with kids bouncing off the walls with nothing to do. Questions of how to keep kids learning if schools are shut down for a longer term and how they will manage to make ends meet if they're unable to return to work for a length of time.
As a virtual business owner and homeschooling mom, I've been living this "new lifestyle" for close to 20 years. I'm here to tell you, this is not the end of life as you know it but merely the beginning of something absolutely amazing if you can let go of fear and be open to a new way of doing things.
I go to work every day, Monday through Friday. I get dressed and walk into my office and sit myself down and get things done. I get to work alongside several others, including my entire company team of 12 and our clients. I will continue to do this daily without change. The reason why is because it's all being done in a virtual 3-dimensional world. This operates much like a video game. I have my person who I have altered to look like me as much as possible, I change her clothes each day, and enter our office floor and walk into my private office. I can speak with our team members and our clients, walk around our office floor, teach a class, lead a group, have a meeting, or anything else right in our space. We can even look at websites together, share screens, compare notes on a file, and discuss them together. It's just like being in a real world office environment together. If I need to meet face-to-face with a client or team member, I do so through Zoom. Trello is a great tool for managing tasks and assigning them and getting up to the minute updates on where a project stands.
Is our virtual office space a necessity for doing business? In short, no, however, it does provide the sense of collaborative community and accountability that working in a real office provides. This means I get more done and I work more efficiently because I'm in the mental space of being at work, rather than just working from home. That makes this space a priceless part of living and thriving when you aren't leaving the house and even without today's current changes, it gives me the opportunity to work with people all over the world as easily as if they were in the same room with me. That applies to both my team and our clients.
Keeping a schedule helps tremendously to separate work time from leisure time and just because I'm at home doesn't mean I'm loosey-goosey with how I manage my time. I have a start time, a finish time, break times, and a routine that goes along with it. I get dressed every day and you won't find me in sweats either. My rule of thumb for home work dress is being dressed casually but nice enough that if I were to run into someone I knew, I'd be comfortable and confident in doing so. This just puts me in the space of being productive, not in a space of lounging around.
Kids & School
I have a 6 year-old and a 17 year-old at home currently. Our other 3 kids are grown and on their own. All of my kids have been homeschooled. My 17 year-old attends a virtual high school called Excel High School and takes honors and gifted level classes at her own pace and has tutoring as-needed by licensed teachers at the school, which is done virtually as well. She has all the normal subjects along with electives she's chosen and she also pursues her own interests into learning through various methods of videos and being self-taught through books. This has especially been true in her digital artwork and musical instruments. She's a talented artist and writer and plays several instruments- all self-taught.
My 6 year-old is THE most social and fast-moving kid on the planet (at least it feels like that to me). We don't hold him back whatsoever. He has his curriculum through Moving Beyond The Page, a place we have bought our kids curriculum through (up till 9th grade) for years. He has all the books and content that I help him with along with projects and experiments with most all supplies provided for through MBTP as part of our yearly package. We also make sure that his "toys" coincide with learning activities. He has a lot of STEAM type toys that he enjoys, builds worlds in Minecraft, plays video games, and even enjoys some VR time with the Oculus Quest. He gets to help cook and prepare food while we discuss nutrition and keeping your body operating at peak levels, plays with our two dogs, and makes plans for his own youtube channel.
He doesn't have a lot of kids to play with so he engages with us quite a bit and we involve him in nearly everything we do. Same with our daughter and older boys in that they haven't had a lot of local friends but they have built solid and long-lasting relationships with friends virtually. Yes, we talked a lot about online dangers, just as much as people typically discuss stranger danger with their kids, but our kids have successfully built and maintained relationships with other kids in a safe way. I know these kids, know their parents, and have even met some in person. Despite some thinking they may have been isolated, they haven't. They've simply grown up in a virtual environment with a strong home support system.
All of this has resulted in our kids being very technologically advanced, self-motivated and driven, extremely independent yet closely bonded as a family, mature beyond their years, and completely uninterested in following a crowd, what the latest fashion trends are, or responding to peer pressure. They are self-confident and secure in their thoughts and beliefs.
As we have spent our years as a family heavily engaged in technology while working and learning from home, online shopping has been a big part of our lives for years.
Amazon Prime is a favorite for most things we buy, instacart has been great for saving time and avoiding the grocery store lines, our super foods come on subscription from Your Super, our wine comes through Scout & Cellar, and even our dog toys come from Bark Box. Most everything we buy and use is delivered to our doorstep either through a delivery service or recurring subscription.
Our reason for doing this has always been because of the busy lifestyle we lead, how we choose to allocate our time, and the quality of products we receive in this manner but in today's stay-at-home world, it's just yet another thing you can do to thrive.
Things You Can Do Now
1. Look for ways to continue working online. VirBELA is the source I use for my virtual office space. This is great for employers to use to manage their team and keep everyone working together seamlessly.
If you've been work displaced because you're hourly or tip-based or your job depends upon people coming to you and you need to find another income source, look at starting an online business, teaching paid classes online, working with a network or affiliate marketing company, or finding other home-based employment. Multiple income streams are always the safest route. I run my virtual business with 3 different programs/income sources there and have several network and affiliate marketing opportunities I'm part of for additional income streams.
My company offers an affiliate marketing opportunity for anyone who may be interested and I'm happy to share my other sources, just reach out.
2. Create a new routine and stick to it. This is not an extended weekend or a vacation. Keep your body moving every day, get dressed normally, eat healthy, spend time with your family, keep your house clean and your laundry done, do something that will continue to bring in an income, and engage your mind with something educational.
3. Plan activities for your kids. If you're able to order supplies online and you don't already have a stash, do so, and make the items creative-based. Things we always have on hand: a huge variety of craft supplies, play-doh, legos, other random building project supplies, tons and tons of books, paper, markers, crayons, envelopes, science experiment items, baking supplies, marbles, cards, and board games. Let them build sheet forts, use your kitchen items for musical instruments, and save the cardboard rolls from all those paper towels and toilet paper you have stashed away. When they get bored... sit them down at a table, dump some items in front them and watch their minds work. Kids don't need to be entertained, they need brain stimulation.
For older kids: books, puzzles, brain teasers, craft items, online class sources like Coursera and Great Courses Plus, baking projects, science experiments, have them make their own play-doh or use clay and their phones to make their own clay-mation movie, let them start a youtube channel or challenge them to create their own online business idea.
4. Take time outs. Being with your family all the time sounds amazing and kinda awful at the same time. You may have been dreaming of spending more time with your family but being all locked up together for an extended period of time may lead to arguments, frustrations, and stress. All things we don't need. Find a designated time out area for yourself and encourage everyone in the family to do the same. We all need our quiet time. Make a habit of saying, "I need some quiet time" and withdrawing into a private space when necessary. Teach everyone in your household the importance of taking that break to prevent stress and frustration and how to respect when others need that time away. Even the littles will understand this although the very little will need your help identifying when they need a break and how to take one so taking one together with a frustrated toddler is much more helpful to them.
5. Do more things as a family. Seems a little contradictory to the previous item but handling frustrations aside, doing more things together helps you bond closer. Today we lead more solitary lives then ever simply because we're all going in different directions. Now's the opportunity to break free from that and spend time playing games together, making meals together, working on projects together, and even taking turns reading an exciting novel out loud together. Now's the time to get creative and enjoy each other's company and most importantly, learn how to be together and function as a unit. Get to know each other, get to know your kids, on a deeper level. Learn more about each other and how you all think and what you enjoy doing.
The ultimate lesson in this situation for all of us is to just find the silver lining and take advantage of what we're being given- an opportunity to withdraw from the world at large and rediscover ourselves at some level, to rediscover the feeling of being a community, to share with neighbors, to stress less and care more, to use our minds and engage, and to build a new lifestyle that supports all of that. For any of you who may be interested in working virtually with other entrepreneurs on a daily basis and getting the accountability and support you need to keep yourself going- check out our membership in The Limitless Collaborative.
We've built an entire productivity center in the cloud and designed it just for you so you can get the support you need to get your life and energy back on track, get that to-do list knocked out, and build the business you know is out there waiting for you. Seriously... we have coaches and task managers and support groups and even stores in there! Come check it out...