The noise drives me crazy.
Ding-dong! Another kid joins a Zoom call.
Shoo-shoo-shoo! A child is pretending to fight with a lightsaber.
“Moooommmmm!” Someone needs tech support with their distance learning.
“I DON’T UNDERSTAND!” The 1st grader is shouting at his teacher because he’s struggling to learn to read on Zoom. Buzz! My 1st grader’s teacher texts me to tell us she’s had to kick our 1st grader out of Zoom – again – because he was shouting at her.
This has been the soundtrack for my worklife for the past 11 months. There was some respite from some of the noise over the summer when the kids were just at home, not at home trying to learn on Zoom. The backdrop is distracting, making it hard to focus on work and look professional in front of my colleagues and students.
While there is no easy solution to this, I can share a few things that have made it easier for me. Working with the situation rather than pushing against it has helped the most. Try applying the A, B, Cs.
One, accept that this is the current situation. Once you accept that you are in it and can only change your own reaction, not the situation itself, there is a peace that comes with it.
Two, schedule yourself a break. When you’re working, schooling, and living from home, it’s easy to hop up from work and immediately begin engaging in taking care of home and family. Taking a break can send the signal to yourself that you are transitioning from one mode to another. I usually wash my face and change clothes. Even better, get some exercise or take a walk as your transition.
Three, have compassion for yourself. We’ve all felt guilty for getting frustrated with our families. Even if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home, like I am, it is normal to get frustrated, exhausted, angry, and sad when you’re cooped up with no place to go. We can be grateful and at the same time be burned out – even betrayed – because so many leaders have failed to find better solutions for working parents.
My wish for you is that these ABCs bring you a little peace, even with the din of distraction.