5 Things To Help You Through This And Tips On Homeschooling

Having marked 5 weeks in self isolation, I managed to complete another 30 day learning experiment completely unknown to myself.
One of the things that I have been grateful for, is that I started a habit of journalling and this brought up some interesting insights.

And it was during my down moments that I gleamed the most valuable insights. And with kids starting home schooling, I thought this might help some parents out.

You are allowed to feel overwhelmed from time to time. This is not a normal situation. However, staying in that space is unhealthy.
It is not good for you or the ones around you.
And right now, we need you more than you realise.

1. Sense of Progress

The days that I was feeling the worst, was the days when I realised I no longer knew what day it was.
I am grateful that I am able to work from home, but there were extended periods of sitting in front of my computer that I no longer had a sense of time.
And as an achievement focused person, any time I spent on gaming or binge watching a TV series, I felt even worse.

It is for this reason, that I picked learning a new skill.

My first goal is to publish something every day for April 2020.
So far, I have fallen off the wagon a couple of times. However I have so many drafts of incoherent thoughts that it made me evolve the next step.

Action Step For You

Choose something you would like to learn/do.

2. Structure

I am a man of structure. I like things where they are. Even if it can look like a bomb has gone off in my living space, I know where every thing usually is.
As you know, I volunteer with the State Emergency Services (SES) here in Melbourne. They are a group of volunteers that respond to car accidents, fallen trees, search and rescues and many many more things.
I noticed that during those weeks, even when I have been at home, they were less stressful.

Don’t get me wrong, you do not want to hear that pager go off (especially at 2 in the morning). But there is a sense of preparedness that sees me able to get out the door, (even at midnight) and helping out.

And that’s when I realised that I had a workflow for my call outs. I keep my keys, my charger, my wallet, socks and shoes right near the door. That way, I just need to put on the comfy, least restrictive clothing and dash out the door.

That’s when I started structuring my day.

Apart from the time set aside for my job, I organised the rest of my day into different parts.
Exercise: Indoor Vs Outdoor
Blog
TV/Gaming
Reading
Eating
Sleeping

You may laugh, but some days I get so wrapped up in what I am doing that I often forget to eat.
Which… given the current environment and the fridge being so close might not be such a bad thing…

Action Step For You

Create a structure that you can adhere to. Keep it simple. Keep it physical and NON-DIGITAL. The reason why is in the next step.

3. Discipline

With the toilet and kitchen being way closer at home than compared to the office, I often stopped getting the necessary amount of steps in.
Usually I would go up to a person’s desk instead of sending an email (heaven knows we don’t need an email if we can chat about it AND we don’t need a meeting if it can be an email… but that’s another post).
During the first 2 weeks, I found my refrigerator getting emptier quicker than I could imagine.
And when the restrictions were lighter, I would just “pop out” for some groceries.
I have automated alerts set up to notify me when I have gone over my spending amount. Kinda like how your mobile service provider tells you that you have consumed 85% of your monthly data limit for the month.
This was hitting my hips AND my hip pocket.
So I initiated a new rule. Every time I go to the fridge, I need to do 10 bodyweight squats before I open the fridge. I would do burpees but HA! My floors are WAY too smooth and slippery.
Plus, I stuck a note on the front in bold writing that says “Are you hungry or just bored?”

Thus I realised that I was in need of some stronger self-discipline. In the times I caved, I almost immediately regretted my choices.

So now, I have slowly replaced all the unhealthy choices in my home with better options.

That way, even if, after I pay the “squat tax” and I still feel hungry, I only have healthy options to choose from.
That and sugar free Jell-o.

Action Step For You

What can you do to help improve your discipline? Are there barriers you can introduce to help you stop snacking?

4. Learning

I am genuinely the happiest when I am learning something.
It doesn’t have to be something professional either!
Heck, I tried juggling for a while and it turns out I can teach someone who has NEVER juggled before TO juggle than I can teach MYSELF to juggle.

Yeah. Go figure…

I had promised myself that I would not buy any more books in 2020. I already have a library (much like my games collection), where the completed segment is tiny in comparison to the books I am yet to read.
However, in 2020, I have already bought 18 books. This was before the lockdown, ok? Don’t be so judgy. Geezus.

ANYWAY – I decided to work through my entire back catalogue and have picked the ones that align with my goals for the next 30 days.
I realised that by structuring it that way, it helps me retain it and I get to use it straight away.

Heck, I might even start my own book reviews on them.

Action Step For You

What would you like to learn in the next 30 days? Comment and let me know!

5. Accountability Feedback

It’s one thing to have goals, but if you don’t get a sense of pressure to complete it, chances are, you won’t.
One of the things I picked up from Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week book was about having little bets.
So right now, I have an accountability partner that checks in on my work every day. If I don’t get the requisite amount of blog posts up in a week, you better believe I get called out for it.
And it helps grow his spending fund.

With this environment, I can’t afford to lose money. As Ramit Sethi says,

“Show me a man’s spending and I will show you his priorities”

So I built in feedback to ensure that I keep myself accountable.

Action Step For You

Who can help you focus on your goals?

How this applies to Home Schooling

When I checked in with my friends that already home school their kids, one of the first things they mentioned was about creating a structure for the child.
Whilst it doesn’t need to mimic a school with bells etc, there should be a clear delineation between classes or subjects.
Even better for them, is to setup a separate place where they can work. (I applied this for myself. I now have a dedicated part of the home where I work and it’s definitely not in the living room anymore! All those distractions are now GONE!!)
Then they leave that space and go on their merry way.
You can even have structure for when they can play on their iPads and videogames.

Kids, like adults need structure.

Oh, and allow them to wear their uniform. There is something physiological that helps them realise they’re going to school.
Even I get “dressed” in the morning. It might be a casual tee and track pants, but those track pants are purely reserved for going out and not for lounging in.

I really hope this article helps. If you learned a few things, feel free to share it with your friends as I would love to get the word out to as many people as possible. And if you are keen, feel free to join my newsletter. No spam. Ever.

And as always, remember…

“We are in this together. We will get through this together. Have Faith.”

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