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Ringmaster Help

I don’t normally share information about my personal life.

But… these are unusual times.

See, here’s the thing. I know how to work from home. I’ve been doing it successfully for years.

But I’m no longer working from home. I’m working in the middle of a three-ring circus.

Overnight, my lovely, orderly recruiting office became the de facto principal’s office for our newly mandated “Brooks home school.” The headquarters for Babysitter Central. The dogs’ favorite place to bark when anyone dares to move. And, the backup office for my husband.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family! I enjoy spending time with them.


Since getting me (or them) out isn’t an option, I’ve done a few things to ensure that the show goes on.

First things first, establishing a routine for my son. We aren’t the only ones struggling with a disrupted schedule. Our children need the structure and discipline that vanished when school, sports, and after school activities were canceled. My summer babysitter, Kate, started a few months early and has been a sanity saver. Kate is responsible for maintaining a schedule that includes chores, learning, fitness, and creativity. She also took over all my son’s school requirements- which are extensive- freeing me up to spend my time working.

If you have school-age kids at home, think about a babysitting arrangement if at all possible. Remember, every high school kid in America is suddenly desperately bored. If it isn’t possible (or safe) to hire a sitter, take some time to put together a schedule that ensures your kids wake up/go to sleep around the same time and have things that they need to accomplish at certain times each day. Let them work while you work. If your kids are like mine, they will be happier…and so will you.

I might have shown a little more compassion when I told my husband he would probably be safe enough sheltering at work, but shouldn’t even consider working out of my office! In my defense, he’s a really loud typist, his voice resonates when he is on the phone, and, well, he breathes. All day. I just can’t concentrate.

We needed a solution that didn’t include sharing an office!

So, I built a new office. More specifically, I ordered an extra docking station for my laptop and a few other pieces of equipment and set up a second office in a far corner of the house. It’s basically an office in a closet. My very own “cloffice” where no one but me types, talks, or breathes. Where no dogs will venture. And where my son forgets to find me.

Be creative! Think about where you can create a “cloffice” somewhere for those times you really need to concentrate.

Finally, we have extra time on the calendar now. No school drop-off/pick up. No running errands or sports or service activities. No eating dinner out or visits with friends. To stay motivated, I wanted more purpose in my days, so I’ve scheduled a little time each day to complete a few “coronavirus projects” (both work and personal) that have been on my list for a while. Once everyone goes back to work and school and my day once more becomes my own, I’m going to have a lot to show for this time of social distancing!

That may be more than you ever wanted to know about how I’m working these days, but I’d love to know what solutions you’ve come up with!

Remember, we may feel like we’re more isolated than ever, but we really are in this together. You may hear a dog bark or a child laugh (or a very loud keyboard) when we next have the chance to talk, but I know you’ll understand. We’re all working together to maintain “business as usual”!