SDM Foundation Newsletter

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Dates to note: 
The SDM shop will be closed to clients until further notice. We will continue to receive emails and voice messages and respond to them as we are working from our homes. If you would like us to call you to make an appointment when we reopen, please send an email and we will put you on our list.

Community News

Keeping Up to Date

During this unprecedented Coronavirus situation, keeping up to date with the latest community news is important. For our local Melrose community, regular up dates are being posted on the City of Melrose website. 

For local business news, especially ideas of how you can help local businesses through this difficult time, check out the Melrose Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page

For our part, we will be sharing information on the SDM Facebook page, including relevant community updates. 

SDM Staff

Our Tips for Working from Home


As we continue to work from home we are all getting used to what that means. While some aspects of work-from-home might look the same as they did before quarantine (tech issues, your desk, taking breaks!), some definitely don't. Whether its that working from home is new to your or your organisation, that you're working at home with your kids and juggling work with homeschooling or that your tech setup just isn't up to the job of video conferencing, we are all grappling with finding the best ways to be productive, and happy! 

In this newsletter we want to share some of the things that we have learned, and some of our own tips for working from home. The SDM staff are all working in our homes, continuing to help our customers with their tech issues and questions - and like you, we are learning as we go!
This period is not quite like working from home in the past, and I believe we need to acknowledge that we need different things to make it work.

I think people need to understand and accept that their energy will ebb and flow. Some days you feel very productive, but at other times, you just can’t get going. 
Get up and walk around regularly, and put your work away at the end of the day! No one would work a whole day in an office without stepping out of it.

And for me, two key parts are a view of outside, and a good WiFi connection. My new extender helped with that one!
If, like me, you're working at home with young kids, it's likely that your day doesn't quite look like a 'normal' work from home day! Scheduling your time and creating a quiet space to work might not be easy. If you are balancing childcare, homeschooling and work, you may need find a more flexible solution. Personally, I work from my coffee table for part of the day, and my desk for the rest!

For me a work from home day might include Zoom calls, FaceTime calls, emails and time spent creating content for our website and social media. Every day is different and some tasks (like Zoom calls) are very time-bound, while others can be fitted around my family and my kids school work. 

As Kristin said above, this is not a typical work from home situation, and we need to be mindful of that. My tips for how to work from home during this time are:
- Keep to a routine as much as you can, get up at the same time each morning and start your day with a cuppa and review what everyone needs to accomplish that day, including any fixed tasks like Zooms or Google Meets. 
- I like lists! Make a list of your must-do tasks and work through those first. 
- Allow flexibility in your day/routine for things not going to plan.
- Take breaks, and get outside when you can.
- At the end of the day, make a note of any must-dos for the next day, close your laptop and put it away!
- Be kind to yourself and remember, tomorrow is another day.
Working from home has been both challenging and interesting.  We at SDM are all trying our best to help people through phone, email and video meetings but this often presents more challenges than in person meetings. Sometimes it is very hard to know if you are speaking about the same concept or looking at the same screen remotely and this can make troubleshooting and problem solving quite difficult.  

At first the idea of working from home was new and exciting, but as the weeks wear on the novelty has faded a bit and many, including myself, find it hard to remain at the same level of productivity they would under normal circumstances.  

For me personally what works best to help me maintain normal working hours is a consistent coffee schedule. I very much enjoy my coffee in the morning and I find if I get up, make and drink my coffee at the same time that I would during non-quarantine working hours, it helps me have some consistency now.  Many will probably not consider the idea of drinking coffee in the morning a tip so much as a given but so far this works best for me.
Working from home comes with its own set of challenges. It is important to have a place away from your bedroom or living room and other household members to work. Personally I had to create a neat organized place to sit with no interruptions. I like it quiet but don’t want to feel locked up in a room. Having a routine for your work day is also important, it will make the day feel like it has a start, middle, and end.

- Take scheduled breaks and or walks (take care of yourself)
- Keep in communication with Colleagues, respond to emails, calls, and messages promptly 
- Physically get ready for work.
- Sign in early and be ready.
- Eat healthy
- Stand up and stretch every hour.
- Be proactive and talk to household members about the hours you're working to lessen the chance for interruptions.
- Get yourself as comfortable as possible in your workspace.
- Try and be available at all times during work hours
- Have self discipline
- Stick to work related things during work hours as if you were in the office
Working from home can be difficult especially when thrust upon you seemingly out of nowhere. That’s why we, at the SDM foundation, have put together some of our own tips and tricks to help you be more productive while working from home.

One very important thing to have in mind is your work area. As seen in the April MMTV video, the more thought you put into your workspace the more comfortably and easily you will be able to get things done. It’s all too easy to put yourself in a distracting environment, dedicating both time and space to get your work done ensures that you do so!

Another useful tip is to make sure to take breaks, stretch, stay hydrated and get some fresh air. With being stuck inside and isolated, it can be easy to get lost in what you are doing and to forget about some of the essentials. Remember to take time for yourself, to reset your mind and body. Both have undoubtedly felt the impact of a sudden change in your routine, so make sure you don’t strain yourself by pushing your mind and or body ragged.

A final tip that I will leave you with is to stay in communication with coworkers or whomever is readily available when you contact them. Being able to get out of your own head, bounce ideas around, ask questions, and to be reminded that we are all in this situation together is really grounding and helps to focus yourself on getting work done while maintaining a positive outlook. Hope you can take something away from this to help you through the rest of this quarantine a bit more smoothly! 
When working from home, I’ve found that it's best to try and recreate a consistent schedule and reliable work habits, as if you were still going in to work.

Even though you have the freedom to work whenever and however you choose, setting aside a specific time and place to work can help to get you into a “work mindset” when working, boosting productivity.

And perhaps more importantly, leaving this work area at your set time can help relieve stress, as you are creating a clean break between work and home, preventing the stresses of work from being present in the rest of your home. What’s more important than any of this, however, is to create a setup that’s best for you, so experiment and choose something which works best in your situation.

New Online Content

 ...from SDM

While our shop is closed we are focusing on creating more online content online. Click on the images below to read our latest blog posts.


Spotlight on...

SDM on Facebook and YouTube

Have you taken a look at our Facebook page recently? We've been sharing lots of useful tips, tricks and articles, as well as highlighting content on our website. Right now we're running regular 'ask a question' threads and sharing local community updates too. 

If you don't want to miss out, head on over to our page by clicking the red button below and give us a like! Your like helps ensure our posts will show up in your Facebook Newsfeed.

We are also adding new content to our YouTube Channel. Here you can now find our two MMTV episodes of SDM TechTalk along with a new video on how to set up and use Zoom. 

We will be adding more content over the coming weeks, so please check regularly for updates! Click the red button below to head over to our channel, and while you're there, why don't you subscibe!
Like us on Facebook!
Watch our YouTube Channel!


We are practicing social distancing by closing the SDM shop until further notice. From the most reputable sources, this seems the most prudent thing for everyone to do. In order to understand what social distancing is, and why it is so necessary, we recommend this article Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day from the Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, Arafat Britton, MD, MPH.

Our ShopTalk series is therefore on hold, and we are taking the opportunity to create online content, and this will include our ShopTalks. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook Page for new content as soon as it becomes available. 
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AT SDM FOUNDATION… we make computers easy for everyone.  We offer small group lessons and one-on-one tutoring tailored to your needs and interests. Our patient associates are ready to help you learn at your pace, using either your equipment or ours. No question is too simple; we help everyone, beginners to advanced.

All of our services are FREE and are offered at our shop at 465 Main St. in Melrose, Massachusetts.

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