I am taking a break this week. Please enjoy this post from the archives. Originally published on 2 July 2009.
It is one thing to get your life to a point where it is functioning well, and you are keeping up with everything. But what happens when a disruption enters the picture? Family visits, business travel and sports camps can seriously de-rail a household schedule. Here are some strategies for coping:
Strategies for Coping With Schedule Disruption
Figure out what won’t work. Schedule changes mean that you are going to have to change what you are doing. For instance, I usually run our robot vacuum right before I leave for work in the morning. When my parents visited for a week recently, I couldn’t run it while they were sleeping, so the floors didn’t get vacuumed that week. I picked up where I left off the next week.
Figure out sufficient alternatives. Not cleaning the kitchen floor was not an option during my parent’s visit, with more people coming in and out of the house. But running the robot vacuum was not an option either. Instead, I chose to use swiffers to clean the floor every night. It didn’t do as good of a job, but it did a sufficient job for me to continue to walk barefoot in the house.
Let go what you can. My husband has been traveling frequently with his job, and that means that the care of everything at home, including our daughter, falls completely on me (we have no local family to help). I allow dinner planning to slip: my daughter loves the idea of breakfast for dinner, so I will whip up a batch of pancakes and applesauce for one evening, and perhaps pick mac-n-cheese for another.
Delegate what you can. If you know have to pick up someone else’s job, ask yourself if it can be outsourced. During my husband’s recent two week trip, I knew the grass had to be mowed, but a stretch of bad weather would have meant I would have to take time off from work to do it (mowing between rain showers). A neighbor, home from her first year at university, was looking for ways to earn money. I was very happy to pay her to mow my lawn. (And it looked much better than if I had done it!)
The key to dealing with schedule disruption is to be flexible both in your expectations and your implementation.
Photo by theogeo