I currently find myself with a new routine – or perhaps a better way to put it is ‘no routine.’ My work is now all virtual rather than partially virtual. Some of my clients are working for organizations that are closed until further notice, eliminating opportunities to practice skills or interact with colleagues. A few clients now have no income so our work together has been suspended. It is a unique situation that calls for innovation, flexibility, creativity and above all – calm.
Many of us are challenged with how to leverage this new situation so that we can come through it with a focus and energy. How do we keep at it without giving up?
I’ve got some tips that are a result of my taking on tasks during this new and undesirable situation of being isolated without being sequestered. I found that I had time to tackle things that are low on the priority list, require my attention and once handled, provided me with a renewed sense of energy and rejuvenation.
I started with the kitchen junk drawer. I put those things I don’t regularly use (potato masher, turkey – baster, candy thermometer) into a basket on a kitchen shelf. I like the feeling I have when I open the drawer and see that things are grouped together. I then moved on to the medicine cabinet and the linen closet. When it comes to work, you can reconfigure the folders and files on your computer so they result in a more efficient retrieval system. Organize Slack or Trello to better highlight people’s accomplishments and what’s coming next that requires attention. Refresh old graphics.
You can get rid of (or remove to a remote location if you are not ready to toss thing) everything you don’t regularly use, organize the things you do, and commit to keeping it that way. If you aren’t sure you are ready for a total overhaul, on your work computer, you can create a Beta version and ask for people’s input and suggestions for improvement. Put older files/folders in an inactive folder. If you haven’t opened them in 6 months or a year, you probably can delete them.
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Clear clutter in one area for 10 minutes. When you are finished, you are finished. If you want to continue you can (maybe set the timer for another 10 minutes) but when the timer dings, you’re free to stop. Look at what you have accomplished in just 10 minutes! When it comes to working from home, try not to sit at your computer for more than 45 minutes without a break. Go for a 10-minute walk outside, or a 10-minute snack, or a 10-minute drive. Allow your mind and body a different activity that refreshes.
Grab a trash-bag. Do a sweep of your home with a trash bag in hand. How fast can you fill the bag? Wherever the bag ends up (trash, recycling, a donation center) is up to you. To motivate you a bit more, do this right before your usual trash pick-up. The work version of this is to find TedTalks, YouTube videos, and articles you want to read and toss them in a file for later.
Want to make this a habit? Track it. Research shows that we have greater success with the habits we track. Those who write down everything they eat see more weight loss over time than those who don’t. Those who use an App to track their steps or their meditation tend to be the people who watch their progress and get motivated to keep it going. (E.g., If you could find something to donate or throw away every day, at the end of the year you would have eliminated 365 unwanted/unnecessary things from your life.
While this situation will not last forever, treating it like it is quite temporary can rob you of the opportunity to make the most of the way things currently are for however long it lasts. And we don’t really know how long that will be.
Work is challenging right now. While we are all figuring out how to stay safe and sane, we can navigate ways to get through by trying some things that will position us well when we can get back together.