Back to school(?), back to normal(?)

Back to School(?), Back to Normal(?)

Normally around this time of year, I post about the return to a “normal” schedule, with summer ending, Labor Day behind us and everyone in Minnesota officially back to school. This is NOT that same post. This year’s back to school and fall season looks VERY different from most (or any) others we have experienced. There is no “normal.” Everyone’s schedule is different, and most of those schedules are likely to change (and change again) before the year is done. So….how can we get back to normal when we don’t know what normal looks like? Here are a few ideas.

Embrace structure….and welcome change

Even though everything looks different, and there is less structure than we are all used to, there is still more structure in the fall than there was this summer. Summer breaks are over, cabins are being closed, and road trips and vacations are behind us. Some structure is available, even if it is only a few hours a day while the kids are in virtual classrooms or a couple of days a week when they are physically in school. And if your kids are full-time in school, count your blessings, know that the rest of us are jealous, and use it to your advantage for as long as it holds up! No matter what the situation is, it will likely change, as the Covid-19 numbers are constantly changing. Use what you know right now to build a plan, work that plan until things change, and start the process over. A plan that changes is better than no plan at all!

Build a schedule around what you know right now

Schedules and structures matter. They help us focus and plan our days, weeks, and months. They keep us on track and focused on what matters most, which leads to success. You know what your routine will look like starting the Tuesday after Labor Day, but not how long that routine will last. Don’t worry about that last part; control what you can control and build a schedule that matches what you know right now. If you know that your kids are out of the house every Monday and Wednesday, or in a virtual classroom every day from 9-1, plan accordingly. Shift your most important work, that which requires most of your effort and focus, to those days or times. Plug important tasks into your calendar, and hold yourself accountable to those tasks. Work that schedule for as long as you can, and again, when things change, change with them.

Fall back on good habits

Good habits are important when life is easy; they are imperative when life gets tough. We are in the latter category, so focus on the good habits that contribute to your success. Establish a plan for your career or business for the remainder of the year or into 2021. Set SMART goals and define the numbers and metrics that will help you measure your progress toward those goals. Hold yourself accountable to your goals, numbers, and actions….or find someone who will. Rely on systems and processes that you have in place to keep you focused, efficient, and on track. If you don’t have those systems, work to build them (or find a partner who can help you do it).

Know that it will be OK

We’re all in this together, as we have been for the past six months. Remember that everyone is going through some kind of weirdness in this new season. Schedules are choppy and shifting for all of us. The “normal for now” uncertainty of all of this has you, and everyone around you, off-balance, and we are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. And that’s OK. You’ll be OK. I’ll be OK. We’ll all be OK. We are built to handle adversity (and if you are the kind of person who reads content like this, chances are you’ve already successfully handled plenty). You gave others– and yourself– some grace at the beginning of quarantine as we learned to operate in that brave new world. It’s time to extend that same grace again– to others and to yourself– as we re-learn how to operate in another new normal.

Things look one way right now, and they are sure to look different in the future. Control what you can control, and adapt as the changes come. Find as much structure as you can, and build your plan and your schedule around that structure. Do the things that have historically brought you success; set goals and priorities, and build the plans that allow you to focus on them. And accept that it will be messy, for you and for everyone around you. We’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat, so work to make the sailing as smooth as possible for you and those around you. Most importantly, get to work! Those kids hop off the bus (or log off that Zoom call) pretty soon!

PS– Addressing these issues and making plans to solve them is what I do with my clients, every day. Whether you have no idea where to start and need guidance in building a plan, or know exactly what you need to do and are looking for someone to make sure you do it, I would love to chat with you. Comment below if you would like me to reach out, or simply book a complimentary 20-minute Coaching Call with me. I look forward to the conversation!


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