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prepare for a second lockdown

How to Personally Prepare for a Second Lockdown

Get ready. It’s time to prepare for a second lockdown.

As much as we want to wish this virus away, it is sticking around and making life difficult.

Moreover, the numbers are not shrinking as we had hoped.

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “Europe is locking down a second time. […] With COVID-19 cases mounting and threatening to overwhelm health care capacity, much of Europe has taken similar measures to curb human contacts. […] Europe has surpassed the United States in cases per capita; last week, it accounted for half of the more than 3 million cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Before you start to dismiss it as just a problem happening across the pond, remember that the U.S. followed the European nations when it came to the spring lockdown.

Moreover, the U.S. presidential election may also point toward a second shutdown. 

Joe Biden has suggested he would shut the country down again if advised to do so by scientists. When asked if he would shut the country down by ABC News anchor David Muir, Biden responded, “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”

Until there is a vaccine readily available, there is a legitimate reason for Americans to prepare for a second lockdown.

The good news is, unlike the first time around, we have a better idea of what a shutdown looks like, so we can better prepare. 

Save as Much as You Can Now

How Much can you save

Sadly, one of the worst lessons we learned from the first time was how devastating a shutdown can be financially.

By June 2020, 45.7 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance, or as many as 1 in 4 workers

People lost their jobs abruptly as the economy came to a standstill.

Unfortunately, many Americans were unprepared.

CNBC reports, “Since the virus was declared a pandemic, 14% of Americans — up to 46 million people — said they’ve wiped out their emergency savings. […] Another 11% of adults have had to borrow money to cover everyday expenses.”

At this time, many industries still have not fully recovered.

If businesses are forced to close for a second shutdown, it means even more financial losses.

It goes without saying — do what you can today to prepare financially. 

 

budget

Budget Better 

Look carefully at your expenses and make note of how much you need to cover your expenses. 

Since the possibility of a second lockdown means you may have to dip into your savings, look for places in your budget where you can cut back and grow your savings account.

Use an app like Mint to budget better, save more, and stop overspending.

Mint is a free online budget tracker and planner which helps you make realistic budgets.

Cut Back on Unnecessary Spending

Along with budgeting, you can prepare for a second lockdown by cutting back on unnecessary spending.

If you know pay cuts may be on the horizon for you or your spouse, stop spending money where you can.

That means cutting back on your subscription services or takeout. 

In the long run, these cutbacks will help you stay ahead of the curve – especially if you use the money you save to boost your savings account.

Cut Back on Holiday Spending 

An easy way to prepare for a second shutdown and boost your savings is to not go overboard this holiday season.

2020 has been a hard year for everyone, so your loved ones will understand if you choose to spend less money on gifts and holiday entertaining.

[Related Read: Black Friday Deals 2020: 13 Tips to Avoid Holiday Debt]

Get Your Personal Finances in Order

get your personal finances in order

In addition to budgeting, you need to get your personal finances in order.

Take time now to go through your financial statements to see where you stand and understand what you need to survive.

Then, plan for the worst. It isn’t fun to think about, but given what we learned the first go-round, layoffs are possible and likely. 

Have a Plan A and a Plan B.

  • Update your resume.
  • Shop around for better car insurance and home insurance.
  • Start thinking about potential side hustles.
  • If you already have a side hustle, think about how you can use your side hustle to cover a potential job loss. 

 

Get Your Home Office in Order Now

Home Office

One of the immediate changes that occurred during the first lockdown was the shift to remote work.

Overnight, people who never worked from home were expected to.

Take time to prepare for a second shutdown and get your home office in order now.

Organize and Clean Your Space

When you work from home, it means everything in your home will be vying for your attention.

That’s why it is important to clear the clutter now.

You can’t work in a cluttered workspace.

Moreover, organize your space. Think of what worked and didn’t work during the first shutdown.

For example, if you had a mess of cords that you had to step over, find a solution, such as a power strip with multiple outlets

Set Yourself Up for Productivity 

Let’s face it. Productivity is a challenge outside of the traditional office (and in it, sometimes). 

Find ways to set yourself up for productivity in a virtual environment.

What things in your home made it harder for you to be productive in the spring? What can you change to prepare for a second shutdown? 

For example, limit distractions by working in a space without a television.

You can also use an app like Freedom, which blocks you from distracting websites. 

Buy Things You Need Now

Take advantage of holiday sales to buy the things you need for your home office before it is too late.

Unfortunately, we are still dealing with supply chain disruptions from the first lockdown. For example, it is still hard to find dual packages of printing ink.

The supply chain disruptions are only going to get worse as we prepare for a second lockdown. 

Purchase now the remote work supplies you need in order to be productive.

And don’t forget the noise-canceling headphones

[Related Read: Get More Done: How to Set Up an Efficient Home Office]

 

Plan Now for What to Do If the Whole Family Is Locked Down Again 

virtual learning

On top of American employees shifting to remote work suddenly, school students switched to virtual learning overnight.

This meant parents had to work from home while their children were home. 

Should we face a second shutdown where the whole family is locked down again, we need to prepare to do better.

While many parents are crossing their fingers and hoping their kids’ school will stay open, schools in different areas of the U.S. have already closed again indefinitely. 

That’s why it’s important to prepare for a second lockdown with the whole family now.

Tips for Working from Home with Kids

One of the biggest challenges during the first lockdown was working from home with kids. Here are some tips to help you handle it better this go-round.

  • Set clear boundaries. From the very beginning, set clear boundaries with your family members regarding your work. For example, set rules about when kids can and cannot interrupt you during the workday. 
  • Use a planner. Between juggling your work schedule and your kid’s school schedule, you need a planner. 
  • Have a routine. Create a morning routine for the whole family. Start each day following the same routine, so that everyone starts on the right foot. 
  • Prioritize your tasks. When you work from home, it’s easy to become distracted about work that needs to be done around the house. Don’t give in. Instead, prioritize your daily tasks for work, the kids, and your house. 
  • Share the load. Don’t try to do everything yourself. You cannot be an employee, a parent, a teacher, a housekeeper, a nurse, and a counselor. Share the load with your spouse. 

[Related Read: 21 Tips to Work from Home with Kids]

 

Ideas for Entertaining Your Family during a Winter Shutdown

entertaining family

Don’t forget entertainment when you prepare for a second lockdown. If you felt stir-crazy in the spring, imagine how it will feel when you are stuck indoors due to winter weather.

  • Snacks and food. Keep the pantry and snack bin full. Look for fun meals to cook as a family.
  • Winter gear. During the spring lockdown, bikes were hard to find because of supply chain issues. Experts expect the same thing to happen with winter gear. Buy it now. 
  • Games. Stock up on board games and card games while they are on holiday sales.
  • Screen time. Screen time rules go out the window during a shutdown. However, don’t sign up for every streaming service available (that goes against saving money). Instead, choose the streaming service that offers the most benefits for your family. 

Make Changes to Your Side Hustle Now 

make changes to your side hustle

Unfortunately, the first lockdown was hard on side hustles, too.

Prepare for the second lockdown and make changes to your side hustle before you are forced to.

For example, shift as much of your side hustle to virtual platforms, if possible.

If you work in an affected industry, consider ways to shift into a more lucrative venture. 

Invest in necessary tools that will help you continue working your side hustle during the pandemic, such as computer software, new technology, or safety equipment. 

 

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