Day 11 – Work From Home: Today Went By Really Fast

Career, Lifestyle, Productivity

I don’t know why but today went by incredibly fast. I have heard from some that their days are slow but that hasn’t been the case for me. What about you all working from home? Have your days been a blur? Or a slow drain?

I finally got hooked on posting on Instagram. I figured that there will be a time again where I’ll be at the office all day again and away from the girls so I am posting a ton of photos and posts there. To my discovery, Instagram is very efficient blogging. Plus it’s a happy escape.

My routine has gotten better. One challenge is girls not listening when they need to. Who can blame them? Home is to relax & chill. Don’t get me wrong. They’ve been so good and it’s fun being close to them. Not fun to do my work on my tiny laptop. Sometimes the server is slow. Hate that.

Anyhow. Here was schedule for today

6:30 – wake up shower dress, log in and work.

8:00 – girls wake up. Last night we were not good at putting them to bed on time. The morning was a bit challenging. Usually they cry and fuss a lot when they wake up for the day but later get over it once they eat breakfast.

9:00 – we went to the school to pick up breakfast, we were late so we turned around and head back home.

9:30 – Vivi begins working on her ST math and Lexia

11:30 – we head to the school to pick up lunch This time, we had to wait in our cars. I still had to park my car, walk over to drop off Vivi’s assignments and pick the new ones for the week. We got to see her kindergarten teacher from a safe social distance away. She is GREAT. I miss her and very glad she organized each daily assignment.

12:00 – lunch! Girls had cheeseburger, baked beans, pear, juice & chocolate milk.

12:30 – I send the girls outside to play for 90 minutes. They were so happy.

2:00 – I told them it was naptime. Did they stay in bed? Nope. But they did quiet time.

3:00 – Here I told Vivi it was time to do schoolwork. Plus the homework for today. She did it! Work was getting easier to wrap up so I could spend more time helping her. Tori also did an activity as well.

5:00 – done for the day with work. When I’m driving or feeding girls, that’s when I’m not on the laptop working.

5:30 – virtual workout with my personal trainer. In person the workouts are 2x a week for 30 minutes but he thinks to maintain same momentum and results, virtual workouts need to be 3x a week. Same price per week though.

6:00 – begin tidying up living room & kitchen

6:30 – Dave’s home!

7:00 – feed girls. After that they wanted to watch a movie.

8:30 – girls in bed. Made myself some corn to eat.

9-10:00 – honestly don’t know where the time went. I showered and it’s 10:05. I’m ready for bed. Goodnight.

Day 8 – Work from Home With Kids At Home, Oral Surgery of Mesiodens

Family, Lifestyle, Money

(Reader’s note: I count by business days & don’t count my weekends, so Day 8 is Wednesday March 25, 2020. I’ve been WFH since Monday 3/16/2020)

Before going to bed yesterday night:

“Mom? What are burdens?”

“Burdens are problems you carry on your shoulders”

Yesterday morning after feeding my girls their breakfast, I went to my bedroom, closed the door and called my mom to vent and cry for 5-10 minutes. I was in fear in how this illness is serious enough to shut everything down, including school. I hadn’t taken the girls to daycare since the 16th but yesterday, the daycare announced they would be closing this Friday, March 27th. I was still getting over the shock that school would be closed until May 1st. Talking to my mom helped.

Vivian had an oral surgery scheduled for today that we made in January 2020. She had a mesiodens that needed to be extracted because it was impacting her permanent front tooth from growing in. No idea back then how COVID-19 could possibly affect her procedure. A week out from surgery, it was just waiting to see what changed day to day until Monday. Would the office would be shut down?

The office called me on Monday; I could proceed as scheduled; they would submit an appeal to the surgical board explaining the extraction must be done Wednesday given her age & possible problems if it got delayed…or I could move it to end of May. May??? I’m working, yet I have no idea where I’d be with my job by then. The amount of layoffs across all industries has been insane and heartbreaking. Get this extra tooth out while we still have dental insurance! The procedure was $375. Without insurance it would have been $1600.

One of the reasons for the long wait between January consult and March procedure is that the oral surgeon works in conjunction with a pediatric anesthesiologist when they are dealing with very young patients for extractions. The pediatric anesthesiologists go to several oral surgery offices in the area so the soonest the anesthesiologist could come to this office was today. It required removal of her front baby tooth, then extracting the mesiodens. Vivi also had a wiggly bottom tooth and to my surprise she wanted it removed too.

The procedure went well, thank goodness. For a bit she thought she was ugly not because she had no front teeth but because she could see the stitches and her gums were a bit purple. The rest of day we let her have it easy and let her watch iPad non-stop. Super adorable with her toothless grin. She’s very excited to turn in 3 teeth to the Tooth Fairy.

Day 6 – Work From Home With Kids at Home for 4 More Weeks

Career, Family, Lifestyle

Saturday: no ballet for the girls. Out of vanity I went to get my nails filled as the salon is closing for two weeks. Salon was very good at spraying door handles and constantly washing hands. I anticipate I’ll need to learn how to file my acrylic nails down within 2-3 weeks, not sure if the salon will remain open for a while. We have most of our necessities at home, yet I wanted to buy another gallon of bleach for good measure. Couldn’t find any at Smith’s or at Anaya’s market, a Latino market. Later that night, I did curbside order for sushi for me and Dave.

Sunday was low key. We did not have Sacrament Meeting, we partook of the Sacrament as a family at home for the first time. Would have loved to have taken a picture, but I do not take pictures of sacred things. Glad we could have this in our home. My sister Claudia came over to take Sacrament and also help me to make dinner – milanesas. It is a happy dish. I think all Latin dishes are happy so I’ve been cooking more Latin food lately. It was good to talk to her.

Today was pretty busy as I took PTO last Thursday & Friday, which was much needed and well worth it. I’m training a colleague on a daily process for business continuity purposes through our computer screens, not side by side at our desks. Training virtually is possible when there are clear step by step procedures. Procedures should not be high level, procedures need to be detailed enough that a person who’s never seen or done the procedure could do it in one shot. Glad I got great feedback about my procedures. That made my morning at work. A little nervous on one process I’m learning that I have to get down by next week.

We are still getting aftershocks from the earthquake. I am just glad I am home with my girls next to me when this happens. Dave is helping me figure out how to use two monitors to connect with my laptop so that my workload will go easier, instead of doing everything on a tiny laptop.

Social distancing has made me crave more social media. Learning to use Instagram and being more vocal on LinkedIn. Using Twitter to get instant news updates. Instagram truly is an escape of happy pictures and positive quotes.

Each day is getting more nerve wracking with the spread of this illness. An elementary school near us in our city got shut down today due to possible COVID-19 exposure. My in-laws mission call has been delayed. As I was wrapping up my workday, I got notice from the school district that distance learning will extend through May 1st. Next week I’ll be preparing for month-end close and quarter-end reporting, perhaps one of the busiest times at work with one colleague leaving at the end of this week for a new opportunity.

I agree it is not an ideal schedule but I rather deal with that than lying in bed unable to breathe. That is what scares me the most.

How to Work From Home With Kids At Home

Lifestyle, Organization, Productivity

Since Monday 3/16/2020 I’m managing three jobs while home during the COVID-19 outbreak: my salaried day job, single parenting from 7ish-6ish, and teacher aide.

A bit of background, I work full time in finance, Dave’s in construction, and we have two kids, a kindergartener and a preschooler. My job instituted work from home and my children’s school is dismissed through the end of the month. Daycare is still open as of this writing. I decided my kids shouldn’t be around groups if one of us could be home. Dave’s work hasn’t instituted work-from-home yet.

Those who know me professionally and personally know that I’m very into planning, I keep a paper planner and obsess about to do lists, scheduling, and routines.

I’ve noticed a lot of working parents struggled this week and starting to search online for routines on the down-low during their workday. How are other working parents doing it? We all still need to work & kids need to be schooled, cuz if we don’t, we gonna have families outta jobs and kids as flunkies once this coronavirus outbreak is over.

ADVICE FOR WORKING (FROM HOME) PARENTS

First: Don’t sleep in unless it’s an actual PTO day, sick day, or the weekend. Wake up like you would when you would be commuting to the office.

Second: The heart of planning is anticipating interruptions. You will get them once kids are awake and when the rest of your team logins online. Since you’re not commuting for 30-120 minutes one way to the office, maximize that time by starting your workday much earlier. I highly recommend starting your workday 60-120 minutes before the kids wake up. This will be likely be before the rest of your colleagues login online too.

Third: Kids need to be fed adequately spaced meals during the day. I cannot emphasize this enough! When kids are not fed well, or way too late during the day, or a combo of both, they do not stay in good moods and can and will interrupt what you need to get done with work, let alone do their schoolwork/activities. Make scheduling their mealtimes #1 priority during this outbreak, like you would with meetings. Decide on times and stick to them.

Fourth: Go to bed on time. Get adequate sleep. Waking up early will not be effective if you don’t get enough sleep.

Last but not least: if you had PTO for Spring Break but DisneyWorld got closed or don’t want to risk grandparents getting sick, take the scheduled PTO anyway and rest at home. You will not regret this.

Here’s what I’ve been doing since Monday March 16, 2020

WEEKDAY SCHEDULE: WORK FROM HOME + KIDS AT HOME (3/16/2020-3/27/2020; M-F)

6:00: Wake up at the normal time I’d get up for work. 6am for me. Since I don’t have a need to dress up, I shower, brush teeth, wear something comfortable, walk over to the living room to login.

6:30: Begin the workday. I focus on my tasks and goals first. Emails are not the first thing I check.

7:30-7:45: Dave leaves for work. Girls wake up, potty, brush teeth & wash hands. May ask the girls to put on jacket, shoes, & socks if we are picking up breakfast. If staying home, they watch cartoons while I’m preparing breakfast.

8:00-8:30: I make their breakfast or head to their school to pick up a breakfast and take back home.

The Emergency Food Program is a nutrition program providing free meals to ALL children during a national emergency. I highly recommend all parents to find out more about this from their school district with locations and times. Cooking can be a huge challenge when you are profusely busy with work deliverables, and grocery shopping getting more difficult. It also forces you to be on a schedule with not forgetting to feed your kids. (8-9am breakfast, 11-1pm lunch). Look into this program when school is closed.

9:00-11:00: My oldest has two hours of assignments a day, not including homework. I work during this time. Youngest doesn’t have assignments like my oldest so I go to Twisty Noodle and print out activity sheets. She loves running from the kitchen to the office to grab the activity sheet from the printer.

11:00-11:30: Girls generally are hungrier at this time so we head to the school at 11am, and they begin eating around 11:30. Or I prep their lunch at home.

12:00-1:00: I send the girls outside in the back to play for at least 60 minutes. Still working.

1:30-3:00: Here I would get my oldest to complete school assignments if she didn’t complete in the morning, do homework, play downstairs or quiet time. Working and finishing up any other work requests.

3:30-4:00: Girls take shower, eat a snack. I wrap up the workday unless there’s a meeting at 4pm.

4:00-5:00: Let them watch cartoons, and begin preparing dinner.

6:00: Dinner, Dave arrives home. Relax, clean up a bit, blog, watch TV etc.

8:00: Girls in bed

10:00: Me in bed.

What do you think about this schedule? Each family is different so their needs and schedule will be different. Have an idea or schedule that’s working well for you and your family? I’d love to hear it in the comments! 

Day 4 – PTO & Pickup School Assignments during COVID-19

Career, Lifestyle, Productivity

Day 4: Thursday 3/19/2020

The original plan was to go to school on Wednesday to pick up Vivi’s school assignments & her Chromebook but it got postponed due to the earthquake Wednesday morning. https://daveishome.com/2020/03/18/day-3-work-from-home-earthquake/

I had originally scheduled PTO Thursday & Friday to visit my parents in St. George UT for spring break. However on Sunday, we decided to postpone the visit because of COVID-19 and my parents are over 60, we don’t want to risk getting them sick.

Even though I wasn’t going anywhere at the last minute, I still decided to take my planned PTO, it was much needed after what happened Wednesday. I’m very adamant about planning for my PTO and make sure to take all of it before the year is over. My husband & I are gone a lot, not home as often as we like and our kids are growing up too fast.

All you working parents out there: it is very important not to postpone or reschedule PTO if at all possible. Think about it, if you never took PTO to demonstrate your “commitment” and all of a sudden you died, your work will just post another job requisition and move on. Puts things into perspective. Make plans ahead of time to take PTO and take it when it comes.

A lot of us are not able to go anywhere for our Spring Breaks because of COVID-19. Should you go work from home since you’ll be home anyway? I say don’t do it. Take the scheduled PTO and don’t login from home! These opportunities don’t come often and may never come again. Staycation, sleep in a little longer and use this time to be with the kids, especially with learning more of what they have to do for school while being home. You want to take extra time to get familiar with what they gotta do, you might be stuck at home longer than you think.

When I’m not on PTO, I get up at 6am. No later than 6:30am. Weekends and PTO days I lay in bed a bit longer but I don’t generally go past 8am in bed. There’s so much that needs to get done, and you can get a lot more done when you’re well rested and wake up early.

A little before 8:30am we went to the school to pick up breakfast. I thought by chance I could also pick up my kids school materials even though my designated pick up time was at 1pm. Noticed only one family was there and no one else before the main entrance of the school opened. We stood in line, separated by hula hoops before 9am. Was able to grab breakfast, Chromebook, and bagged lunch all in one trip before 9:30am instead of 3 separate trips.

Trying to get as much school work out of the way when I’m on PTO, especially since next week will be quite busy at work!

Day 3 Work From Home – Earthquake!!!

Career, Lifestyle, Productivity
Planning can go out the window when in a panic.

Got up my usual time: 6am and logged in at 6:30am.

Here Dave & I have different accounts of our experiences a little after 7am. I swear he was sitting across from me on the couch while I was working & he was about to leave for work. He said he was not there in living room, instead he saw me run down the hall straight to girls room.

Dave’s first reaction was that an airplane was flying too low. I knew what it was because I had experienced an earthquake as a child in 1994 (Northridge CA). It was deja vu. Same thing, early in morning, kids asleep in room when it happened. This time I was the parent running to wake up and grab my kids. For comparison, the one in Cali was longer and much stronger at 6.7. This one didn’t feel as bad. It was strong and glad it was short. The earthquake registered at 5.7. The aftershocks, especially the one at 1:15pm was terrifying, at 4.6!

Vivi said it felt like an elephant running inside our house. As a child, I could describe it as some muscular strong man right below our house and shaking it.

Anyhow, this event really “shook” my routine. Mentally draining, especially the aftershocks. Upon reflection, I realized how badly natural disasters can make your routine and plans fall apart. Everything had to close, some households were without power, and things were delayed with work. Some people practice earthquake drills 6x a year, and in the moment, run to the wrong area of the house. I stayed logged on at work through 5pm. On emergency preparedness and food storage front, I need to plan better. We have everything but haven’t taken time to inventory and teach kids what to do in a natural disaster or emergency.

We were lucky that no one was hurt, nothing structurally was damaged around our home, and nothing fell or broke! We had just bought a 75″ TV and lucky that didn’t break and also lucky we paid for a warranty!

Anyhow, kids ate at home because school lunch had to be cancelled so that school could be assessed for damage. Girls weren’t in daycare but parents of 2 year olds and younger had to come get their kids. Because of the aftershocks, the daycare closed shortly after for the day.

COVID-19 and school closure was a blessing in disguise. I am so grateful the earthquake happened when we were all home. It would have been so terrifying if it happened during the day when I would be at the office and girls at school or daycare. I needed my kids next to me, and I knew that children want their parents right by them, as I did as a child after an experience so scary. My kids are sleeping in our room tonight. I did that too as a kid after the Northridge earthquake.

Tomorrow and Friday are PTO days for me, really need that after today.

How do you plan for a natural disaster?

Day 2 Work From Home COVID-19 Recap

Career, Family, Productivity

Same routine as yesterday only that I stayed logged on 1 hour longer, 6:30am-5pm. Girls started eating breakfast at 8am, they did some activities, watched YouTube, and then we went over to the school to pick up lunch at 11am.

The school breakfast and lunch is federally funded during periods of national emergency and available to all schoolchildren for free. One of my biggest worries as a working parent needing to stay home during COVID-19 was how to make sure my kids get a good lunch without taking more time away from work during the lunch hour. School lunch solves that. Huge time saver for mom, healthy for kids, and everyone’s happy for the rest of the afternoon. When kids are fed, they don’t get in bad moods and disrupt you while working. Go to your school district’s website to find out more about this program during school dismissal.

5:30pm I had personal trainer come over. Generally on Tuesday’s he comes at 6:30pm but being home this week, I asked him to come one hour earlier. I’ve been working with my trainer for over a year, I only exercise 2x week for 30 minutes on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. The workouts are intense so sometimes I’m done in 15 minutes. I honestly don’t have time to exercise more than that per week as a working parent. My trainer over the time we’ve been working together, has shown how we can get effective workouts in the comfort of our own homes without needing to go to the gym. It’s also a huge time saver, not needing to get dressed, haul kids in car and then go to the gym. More info on personal training here https://www.thumbtack.com/ut/salt-lake-city/personal-trainers/lionstrong-fitness-llc-salt-lake-city-trainer/service/272584301285934328

I stayed online a bit longer going over some written procedures to train a colleague in the next few days and it has to be done online instead of at the office.

I am a huge advocate of detailed, step by step written procedures. Procedures are very important for audit and business continuity purposes. Most workplaces, you sit and watch someone prepare a process but often that is not effective, especially during times like this where people have to stay home, or worse quarantined and can’t make it to work at all for 2 weeks. 2 weeks is half of the work month!

Having step by step procedures may seem redundant and I would say a lot of people hate writing them. I cannot emphasize enough about having good written procedures, especially in a pandemic where things must be completed regardless. Please have procedures for crucial tasks because you don’t know if you will have half of your team show up or not. Good writing with good screen shots please. Your procedures need to ensure no steps are missed and that a person can successfully complete the task on their own even without having done the procedure before. Procedures should be reviewed annually and when someone new is working on the procedure.

Anyhow, that’s all what I have on my mind today. Think about business continuity during COVID-19 at your jobs.

Day 1 Work From Home COVID-19 Recap

Career, Family, Productivity

I chose to wake up at normal time at 6am but login to work around 6:30am. No need to style makeup, pick out an outfit, wake up the girls, get them ready, dressed and out the door before 8am. This allowed me to get some key things out of the way with work before the girls woke up around 7:15am.

I had originally planned to drop them off at daycare but yesterday night changed my mind. We really need to avoid being in groups of 10-20 people to combat the spread of coronavirus, and reduce our chances for the need to be quarantined.

I’m glad I work at an employer where we are allowed to work from home. I figured it is better to have the kids home with me even with some interruptions to my work day rather than risk being contagious and not being able to work at all.

Dave left house at 7:30am, no orders yet from his work to work from home. He got the girls to start watching the movie Frozen, which allowed me to wrap up what I was doing between 6:30 & 8:00am and then prepare their breakfast. Breakfast lasted about 8:20am.

Girls finished watching the movie and encouraged them to draw/paint. Kept working on laptop through this time.

Today was the last day of the chocolate bar fundraiser at school and needed to go to the school with the girls at 11am to give the money to the PTA. When we arrived at the school, they offered free hot lunch to take home and it was available to all children. It was also good to step out of the house for a small bit.

The grab and go lunch was a huge convenience for me as a working parent, and encourage other moms to go to the school to grab a lunch for their kids if offered, things can get so busy between lunch hour and work. I’m used to making breakfast in the morning for the kids but making a lunch at home during the weekday was new for my routine. Girls had lunch around 11:30am at home and then went outside to play for about 40-60 minutes. My plan during school dismissal is to show up right at 11am before the crowds show up to grab their lunch to take home. My favorite part of the day today was sitting at table with them for lunch.

Because the girls were very well behaved and ate all of their lunch, I told them they could watch iPad after they had enough of playing outside in the back yard. They also played indoors with their toys.

At 4pm I decided to call it a day with work. I think that is the plan I will have when I’m work from home during the period of social distancing. Work from 6:30am-4pm with the breaks needed to feed girls and grab their lunch.

4pm-8:30pm was great. I was able to work on getting the house cleaned and do more laundry. Girls spent some time in the tub and had dinner around 6:30-7pm, roughly the time that Dave came home. Typically on a normal weekday, I arrive at work at 8:30am and we are not home until 6-6:30pm. Dave joked the house was actually clean lol. Yes I want it to be tidy as much as possible.

I thought I was going to be more frazzled today managing work and managing parenting at home but I was actually more relaxed, particularly in the afternoon. Usually by early evening, I’m exhausted, I guess the commute makes me tired that way. Nice to take a break from commuting.

Dave went to the grocery store to grab some things. Store was literally empty. No pasta and no meat or poultry. We do have some things we can prepare but will have to go back and check. Each day, more things are shutting down, and more restrictions imposed.

Tomorrow I will take more notes of my routine and the girls’ routine to see what’s working and what can move around. Girls are requesting activities. I usually obtain a paper print out online via Preschool Pioneer-UEN (https://preschool.uen.org/), very helpful, and UEN has several activity plans to look at. More convenient than looking at Pinterest for activities.

Girls were so happy I could stay home. Social distancing is a rare opportunity to be with them.

How was your day like at home with the kids? What have you planned for your time at home with them and with work during the period of social distancing?

Planning Your Life During a Pandemic

Career, Family, Organization, Productivity

Pandemic or not, many interruptions and demands will arise and you have to be able to reset priorities when change happens.

Plans are still good to have because it allows you to remain focused on the most important things and know where to reset a few things around. If you’re not able to revise as interruptions come about then your planning will not be effective. Planning allows you to prevent things from slipping even when big changes happen.

Many interruptions will arise anyway, you have to review and reset plans as changes occur.

The biggest change in my plans as well as for everyone else affected by COVID-19 is staying home during times I did not anticipate to be home. My weekend is starting to look different because ballet is cancelled as well as church meetings. Starting next Monday, my schedule and routine will be different too.

My Pandemic Planning

(1) Daycare. Daycare will remain open. My kids do not have a set routine at home between 8-6pm M-F so my plan is to bring them to daycare where they do have a routine. I won’t bring kids to daycare if they’re sick though.

(2) Kids’ school. So much conflicting information on the news about school closures. I went and reviewed school district website about their plan. Preschool is cancelled but kindergarten and above is not closed, only dismissed. School will move to online distance learning format. I will find out next week about checking out a Chromebook from the school and then decide whether my oldest should be in daycare during the school hour. My main priority is ensuring my kindergartener can get her schoolwork done with minimal interruption.

(3) Work. After figuring the plans with school and daycare, I was able to relax about work. Work updates related to COVID-19 changed by the hour this week. By end of day Thursday, they asked us to work from home at least through end of March. I was really glad I tackled some big items before switching to work from home (thanks to planning ahead!!!). Sometimes it is quicker to have two monitors at the office instead of one little laptop at home to work on spreadsheets. Remember to get the big rocks outta the way first whether the routine is eventful or not.

Most important area of focus is morning routine* during weekdays. I am planning to get up at the normal time and get girls to daycare like I would pre-pandemic. There will be discretionary time because the commute will be much shorter and not need to dress as if I’m going to the office.

Looking forward to temporary evening routine*. I should be able to get the kids earlier back home than I would normally, between 4:30-5pm instead of 5:30-6pm. Hoping I can get them to bed early! Also want to plan at least one weeknight meal early next week.

That’s what I have so far! What plans you got now with everything closing and cancelling?

*Note on morning & evening routines: they are 2 hour crucial time blocks between the hours of 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm Mondays through Fridays. More on that in another post.

What Working Parents Can Learn from Kobe Bryant

Career, Productivity, YouTube

It’s been 1 month since Kobe Bryant’s passing, and here is one video I’ve found to be helpful. Here, Kobe explains that getting enough sleep is important for peak performance. In order to be effective for all the hours we are awake in the day, we need to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Yes getting enough sleep is hard with young kids on top of trying to get up to get to work on time. Still, do all you can to prioritize your sleep! Your body needs it. In fact, your body will cave in for sleep before it caves in for food. How Long Can You Go Without Sleep? Function, Hallucination, and More

Get enough sleep and you will be able to handle your obligations at work as well as at home.

Give thanks when you wake up each day, because we are never guaranteed our tomorrows. RIP Kobe.

The Power of Sleep!