We’re based out of Seattle and I’m not going to lie: when our governor announced schools would be closed for two months, I thought a meltdown was imminent. My reaction was to take a moment alone to go grocery shopping (not for toilet paper) and scream exceptionally loud for as long as my lungs could handle it. That was an excellent release, and it also gave me some clarity on my next steps. My solution was to double down on the systems I know work well for me personally when I work at home, and to create a similar system for my kid. One week in, the structure has been incredibly helpful. It’s been a challenge for me, but here’s what I’m trying and suggestions I’ve heard others are using effectively.
Get hyper-organized. If you have kids at home, get hyper-hyper organized. Keep the kids on a schedule; bedtimes should be around the same time every night, as should your morning routine. If you have to work, the kids’ schedule can help you organize your work schedule around theirs. You will need to give yourself a few moments for transitions.
Create transitions. This allows your mindset to shift from ‘home’ to ‘work’. If that means taking a shower, getting dressed, going outside, or even just putting makeup on: carve out the time you need to get your mind in the right place to focus on the next action item.
Ask for help. Lean on family or hire support to enable learning or daily tasks. Reach out to your community. I’ve already found a handful of people who need extra income and are willing to help.
Schedule “you time”. Currently, my exercise routine has been blown out of the water. However, I am making sure to get some weights in. I also end calls and computer work at 5pm if I can to get outside and be in nature for a hot minute. This is a great time to take up a mindfulness practice. There are excellent guided meditations on YouTube or other apps, and allowing your brain to stop at least ten minutes a day will completely reset you. You can always get back to things later, but your mind needs love just as much as your body and family right now. Know your cut- off and respect it. *
Sleep. If you haven’t heard from all the health and wellness experts about how important sleep was before, then I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it now. In times of heightened stress, your immune system takes a beating. To combat that, be proactive in giving yourself the allotted amount of sleep your body needs. You know your magic number, and your body will thank you.
Now is also the right time to feel confident about your money. We talk about basic financial health exactly for moments like these. Taking inventory of your finances right now will help you feel in control as the world seems very much out of control. Remember, this is much more about your mental game than anything else.
Financial Health Checklist:
Understand your spending. Periodically review where you spend money to determine if you’re cool with the amount going in and the amount going out. If it’s time to reduce, finding the holes, canceling the subscriptions, buying generic versus brand always helps you reduce. At Nav.it we say spend less than you earn, or spend the same and make more money.
Make more money. In crises, there are always random opportunities. Right now parents are looking for childcare assistance. Can you tutor or babysit? Health care facilities and grocery stores are looking for able-bodied individuals that can support them during this time and are not in the high-risk category. Amazon is hiring 100,000 more people to help deliver. Wow.
Build an emergency fund. There’s no time like a crisis to ramp up your savings habit and stash your cash. When it’s in a separate account you really don’t think about it until an emergency. If this is an emergency, try focusing on #1 and tighten your spending. There are relief bills being passed at the state and federal level that hopefully will help. Stay tuned, and we’ll be sure to send updates.
Pay down high-interest debt. If you can save extra, it’s time to think about getting that pesky credit card debt off your books. Since interest rates are dropping, look for a 0% APR credit card you can use to pay down your other cards (before the APR kicks in) or ask your bank for a personal loan at a lower APR that you can use to pay off high-interest debt. The key here is to make a plan on how you will repay all debt. This might be a good time to talk to a financial advisor who can help you with all this.
*Update as of two weeks in: music has been another lifesaver for me during my own transitions. Especially between my morning meetings and my afternoon meetings. Upbeat music and some hot dance moves (that no one can see) is currently bringing me life.
Our money management app can help with the financial checklist, and until the pandemic subsides our premium features ARE COMPLETELY FREE. Ready? Let’s Nav.it! Download now, it’s free.