Time, Time Everywhere but Not a Sec to Think

work-stress

The feeling of being in a dream washes over me daily, as the pandemic continues to accelerate. I simply cannot believe this is our collective reality. Yet here we.

And there he is – my son. We’ve opted for homeschooling this year. This decision felt right for our family because in our public school district, masked kids are confined to their desk for class, lunch and even recess. I realize these measures are needed to keep them safe – but it breaks my heart to think of all the kids – mine included – who don’t get to just be kids and hang out with other kids. For us, homeschooling seemed like the least horrible of the horrible options.

What I wasn’t prepared for, however, is how this requires my constant attention. My day, every day, is peppered with interruptions and questions. One minute, I’m wrangling my son to focus on schoolwork, then acting as the IT Helpdesk for his Zoom activities before responding to pressing work issues and managing the household. I’ve got to try to figure out what’s out there that will both engage and educate, and am constantly working out schedules.

I’m not going to lie – there is a lot of iPad time and Roblox playing. So there’s a lot of guilt, too.

All of which is to say I have no time to actually THINK – no uninterrupted time to tackle bigger projects. The scary thing is that it’s becoming habit. Things I know I need an hour for now linger on the to-do list, which frustrates me endlessly.

Worse yet is the end of the day. Like everyone else I know (parents or not), I am simply exhausted. This is widely discussed – Zoom fatigue, child fatigue, Netflix fatigue. The emotional toll is real. Substantive conversations and genuine recognition by people far more qualified than myself confirm that. But what about the “Becoming Tactical” phenomenon?

Am I losing the ability to think? I wondered if that was a silly question until I brought it up to my circle of friends, some parents and some not. Turns out, I’m not alone and it’s not silly.

One of the hidden impacts of this “new normal” may well be our inability to allocate mental space to anything that requires more than executing a two-minute tactical action, like shooting off a quick email, reestablishing the internet connection for my son, grabbing a handful of crackers for lunch or emptying the dishwasher. When our lives become seemingly endless series of mundane tasks, we risk losing the ability to approach our lives with a strategy. And without a strategy, without feeling like you’re gaining traction when it comes to goals and aspirations, you’re running on a treadmill – expending energy without any forward movement.

We need to acknowledge this so we can create solutions. Jumping from tactical task to tactical task is eroding our ability to THINK, reflect and form “big picture” approaches. We need the kind of time when we can quietly and calmly think through a problem. It can be things as simple as building an agenda and gathering materials for a work meeting, making a plan for healthier meals, or setting goals for your student and yourself.

What is to be done? What solutions exist? How are we helping each other and how are employers helping employees? New solutions are needed quickly, and parents need options. A great place to start would be companies expanding childcare offerings and going beyond traditional models. Childcare now includes another layer – how to occupy your children, safely, in something valuable that does not require your constant presence.

One powerful solution at our fingertips are the many small businesses who offer incredible activities that engage kids and support their academics. Many of these small businesses are struggling because of the pandemic, and aren’t able to offer in-person activities (or they can but at such diminished capacity they can’t cover their expenses, which have increased to comply with health and safety regulations).

These businesses can be a tremendous foundation to regaining our ability to think while supporting our kids and small businesses. The tasks of finding, sourcing and managing worthwhile activities for your children is a logistical (and time consuming) nightmare for parents and guardians. You might hear about cool things from kids from your friends. But with our ability to get together curtailed, “finding cool things” might entail endless, often-fruitless Internet searches, piecing together pricing, scheduling, vendor requirements and payment. Honestly, sometimes the iPad is simply the path of least resistance when I’m frantically moving from one task to another during the day, or when crushed with exhaustion in the evening.

If any of this sounds familiar, know you’re not alone. This is exactly what the Sita-a-Bit Marketplace is all about. Virtual activities are not always ideal, but many things lend themselves to a virtual experience and, when done right, can be amazing. And, dare I say it, these might just be what the world needs right now. For families, for small businesses and – most importantly – for our kids.

The Sit-a-Bit Marketplace offers parents a one-stop shop with an encyclopedia’s worth of awesome activities. Got a soccer star who wants to maintain that top-notch footwork but in-person practice is cancelled? We have killer teachers running virtual drills. Have a future thespian causing too much drama and in need of actual theatrical time? The Marketplace has that, too. And what about school? Does your high schooler need extra help with math, Spanish or creative writing? Check! Got that.

The Marketplace lets parents pick and choose and see how schedules overlap so there’s no Zoom logjam. You can access all this while managing just one profile for your family, and going through just one financial transaction.

Join us at Sit-a-Bit to sign up and be notified when the Marketplace opens to the public. Let your company’s HR department know this is a benefit they should bring to their parent employees.

This way we can all get back to the art of thinking. And creating a strategy for life!