Challenge Accepted-Tips for Parents and Kids to Work From Home


Challenge Accepted – Tips for Parents and Kids to Work From Home Effectively

Parenthood is a journey that’s full of fun and memorable moments… along with a healthy dose
of challenges too. The challenge of working from home, while parenting and maintaining social
distance due to a pandemic, is something most of wouldn’t have predicted a year ago. But here
we are, ready to face this new challenge head-on! If you don’t feel quite that positive, don’t
worry. These tips will help you make a plan, get organized, and make the most of this situation
so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Set a Realistic Schedule
Many kids are starting this year doing virtual education through their school, while other families
are choosing to homeschool instead. Whichever approach you take, the tricky part is figuring
out how to balance your child’s school day with your work schedule. We suggest starting with
non-negotiables (like a virtual meeting you can’t miss or your child’s daily Zoom time) and
working everything else around those. Fast Company recommends letting young kids help set
their schedules, but for school-age kids, sticking to their regular school day is a good strategy
because it helps them maintain a greater sense of normalcy.

When you’re building your schedule around these must-have appointments, don’t forget to
include breaks. Teachers sometimes call these “brain breaks,” and they’re just as important for
parents as they are for kids! Get up from your desk and move around so you can return to work
more focused. You’ll also want to establish boundaries that help you stay more productive
throughout the day. This could even be a physical boundary, like a sign that indicates when kids
can ask mom or dad questions. Most work-from-home families also find that having a consistent
morning routine helps you start the day off right and keeps everyone on schedule.
Proactive Solutions for Common Problems
Even with the best-laid plans, adjusting to this new normal will still take time, along with some
trial and error. There are some common work-from-home problems many of us can anticipate,
like how to run a good virtual meeting, but others may pop up out of nowhere. The important
thing to remember is that the way we work is different now, so you may need some innovative
For example, if you’re a business owner who usually works solo, you may find that you could
use the help of a personal assistant these days. The great thing is that you don’t have to hire a
full-time onsite staff person (or have to deal with employee taxes). Instead, you may want to hire
an assistant as a freelancer who can provide virtual support with tasks like scheduling meetings,
taking care of phone calls, and keeping you caught up on email.
Another common problem with virtual education is that kids get bored staring at a screen, but
you can help by giving them interactive opportunities. For elementary-age kids, Mommy
Poppins recommends educational websites like Scholastic, virtual museum tours, and coding
programs. Older kids and teens who are into gaming can even use technologies like Virtual
Reality (VR) that allow online learning through video games. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a
reliable and faster internet connection to support these learning opportunities (as well as your
own work requirements).
Get Organized – And Get the Whole Family on Board
Of course, it would be pretty hard, if not impossible, to stay on top of your schedule and keep
kids on task if you’re trying to work in an unorganized home. Partnering with A2Z Organizing
Solutions is an easy way to get help in setting up effective workspaces. If you can, give each
child their own space, and include all the supplies they need too so they can help themselves
throughout the day.
Staying on top of your own work from home while keeping kids happy, fed, and educated
certainly is a challenge. We know you’re up to the task, though! All it takes is a little planning
and organization, combined with a whole lot of patience.

You missed the hoarding conference?

Bummer, ’cause it was fabulous!

FIRST, you missed meeting our generous sponsors.

SECOND, you missed networking with professionals who are passionate about helping people impacted by hoarding.

LAST, you missed our fantastic speakers!

Here’s a quick recap:

Our day started with Chief Investigator, Adam Reynolds from the Houston SPCA. He spoke about animal hoarding. Such a tough subject, yet presented professionally and compassionately.

Next, Cory Chalmers, owner of Steri-Clean and from the A&E show “Hoarders”, spoke about Why People Hoard and the Types of Hoarding Behaviors. Attendees listened intently as he talked about the different ways that hoarding presents and the myriad of reasons behind their behaviors.

After a delicious lunch and networking break, Ann Zanon, Certified Professional Organizer, spoke about our need to protect and support the innocents in hoarding situations. Children, spouses, animals, and neighbors are all victims in hoarding situations and what we can do to advocate for them.

Cory took the stage again to speak about potential Dangers In Hoarding Situations sharing stories about hoarding fires, building violations and more. His final talk about How To Make The Most Progress with Hoarders was informative and gave some great actionable tips.

Our final speaker, Holly Davies, from Willow Meadows CERT team presented information on how CERT teams can help people with hoarding behavior in our neighborhoods. Her volunteer efforts to help our city are so admirable!

Check out our generous sponsors!

For more information on hoarding in Houston, please reach out to us. If you are interested in serving on our task force, please reach out to us. Watch for information about how you can get involved. We’d love your input for next year’s conference!

We are available for speaking, educating, hoarding remediation and more!

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides!

Now Serving Houston, Texas & Surrounding Areas
Mobile: 713-364-5305 or 203-858-0475

What do you know about “clouds”?

Judy Collins sang about clouds in the 1967 hit song written by Joni Mitchell called “Both Sides Now”. Ok, I admit that I was indeed alive in 1967 and my sister and I would spend hours in our basement listening to a small white transistor radio, singing along and dancing until the battery would give out.  But I digress…

Click here to go back in time to 1967 & listen to Judy Collins (but don’t forget to come back and learn more about clouds!)
Click here to go back in time to 2000 & listen to Joni Mitchell’s heartfelt rendition of her own song.

Now that you’ve enjoyed a little flashback to the ’60’s, let’s talk about what a CLOUD looks like in 2018.

“The Cloud” is a global network of servers, each with its own function. Instead of accessing files and data from a local or personal computer, you are accessing them online from any Internet-capable device—the information will be available anywhere you go and anytime you need it.  But how secure is it?  How can we keep others from accessing our personal information?

Like looking at clouds in the song “Both Sides Now”, there are a couple of perspectives when looking at cloud solutions.
There are many advantages to using the cloud–access to information from any device, ability to talk to people around the world on our devices, fresh access to information, less need to upgrade hardware, cost-effective, easier for collaborative projects, disaster recovery, etc.
But, there are some disadvantages as well, including connectivity/accessibility, usability, cost of storage and most importantly, security.
Personally, I mostly use cloud storage solutions for my personal photos and scanned documents. In the past, I figured, I’m not a celebrity, I don’t have any naked pictures, who would want to hack into my photos?
But this morning I read an article about the 2014 Labor Day photo hack of naked photos and videos of celebrities. What I hadn’t seen before was that the hacker not only hacked and leaked photos from celebrity accounts but also the accounts of friends and family members!  I wondered how he gained access to these accounts, but the article exposed that…he tricked his victims into providing their usernames and passwords in emails that appeared to come from Apple security.
Now I look at clouds from a different perspective. It’s a wonderful way to back up our information but unless you investigate them closely, you may miss the storms that are brewing behind them if you don’t use them with caution.
Please don’t click or respond or share your personal or password information with anyone!  If you receive an email asking you to click or sign in, instead of clicking or copying the link in the email, go to the site by typing the name of the company into your browser or make a phone call to the company. Then change your password just in case!


Sunset in Puerto Rico…Now those are amazing and beautiful clouds!

Happy to help.

Ann Zanon, Certified Professional Organizer®
Certified Personal Photo Organizer®
Compassionate Hoarding Remediation Expert
713-364-5305 or 203-858-0475

One last thing.

Contact me or your nearest trusted cloud and internet expert for more information on cloud backup, cloud storage and more!  It would be a shame to lose all of your electronic photos and/or documents in a fire, flood or other natural disasters.

Best Practice:  Triple back up!

Happy to help.

Ann Zanon, Certified Professional Organizer®
Certified Personal Photo Organizer®
Compassionate Hoarding Remediation Expert
713-364-5305 or 203-858-0475

Moving from Connecticut to Texas

We’re really going to miss Connecticut
and you…

My husband has accepted a new position in Sugar Land, Texas
starting on July 2, so we are moving!

At this point, my schedule is completely full for hands-on organizing sessions although I’m happy to offer virtual/remote organizing and photo organizing sessions after we get settled. We have enjoyed our time in Connecticut and I will really miss all of you. My email and phone number will remain the same and I’d love to hear how you are doing and keep in touch.

For those of you with whom I’ve worked, you know I have a tendency to break out in song, so I’ll close this newsletter with the song lyrics from one of my favorite comedians, Carol Burnett.

“I’m so glad we’ve had this time together,
just to share a laugh or sing a song,
seems we just get started
and before you know it,
comes the time we have to say ‘So Long'”. *

*written by Joe Hamilton

wine organizing

What do you think that a Professional Organizer does on her day off?  You guessed it…she organizes!

A week or so ago, I invited a few of my colleagues over for “happy hour” following a group project near our home. We had spent the entire day in the July heat, volunteering and organizing a home for a family nearby. I had some appetizers prepared, along with some cold beverages in a cooler and ready to serve.
One of my colleagues, a seasoned professional organizer (who’s home is undoubtedly super-organized!), requested a glass of red wine…specifically a Malbec, which I knew we had to have since it is one of my preferred wines. Well, I pulled out at least 12 bottles looking for a bottle of Malbec and I think she got a little frustrated and said, “Oh, a Cabernet would be just fine”. I continued pulling bottles out of the wine fridge but finally gave up and embarrassingly opened the Cabernet and poured her a glass.

Having seen my husband go through this same problem of finding specific wines, I decided to do what any passionate organizer would do…and today, I organized the wine!
I took some black cardstock, made some hang tags, wrote the wine varieties on each tag and …

VOILA!  Organized Wine!

And look!  I really did have some Malbec!

Happy to help.

Do you need help organizing your wine cellar? Or your closet, pantry, basement, garage, office, or whole home?
Downsizing, moving, and hoarding are my specialties!

Call Ann today to schedule your free phone consultation!
Ann Zanon, Certified Professional Organizer®
Mobile: 203-858-0475