Three more weeks of social distancing, at least, are upon us in an attempt to further flatten the curve during this pandemic. We received some good news about the spread of the virus from Leo Varadkar on Friday so we know what we are doing is working.
From an individual point of view, we must make sure that our day-to-day routine is working for us too within the restrictions imposed on us.
There are more and more online motivators and life coaches out there now informing us that we don't have time to waste and that we must use every second of this time at home to stay busy for our mental health and to be as productive as possible to ensure we don’t lose any time.
I’m an advocate of doing something that may benefit you down the line as long as that’s what you would like to do. If you are looking to fill your time with activities then it might be worth your while to do something that you enjoy and that will also help to improve your routine for some time in three weeks, maybe longer.
I’ve been working on my recipes at home in the kitchen and posting them on my Instagram because it is something I don’t always have time for in my busy non-pandemic schedule.
This is something that I enjoy, something that will benefit my work as a nutritionist and something that has always been on my to-do list. It isn’t a hard thing for me to do, considering we have to eat anyway. I’m just putting more effort into it.
The other thing that I have learned is that I’m very poor at taking time off. Being self-employed means that work hours are optional, and in most cases if you take the option of putting your feet up and not getting your work done as a sole trader you are setting yourself up for an unnecessarily stressful period, or you don’t get enough work done to sustain a flourishing business.
However, there’s a balance to be struck that some of us aren’t great at. If there’s an option to do some work we take it.
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The whole pandemic has reminded me that time off can be a good thing. The running around during every hour of the waking day, trying to squash more of your to-do list into less hours is a recipe for disaster for your own health and possibly even your productivity.
Taking an hour or two off in the evening, or during the day time if there’s a coaching session in the evening, is what might set you up to be more efficient and more productive during the times that you are actually working.
There’s a great book by Cal Newport called 'Deep Work’ which speaks about working smarter to allow yourself to be more productive in less time.You can then spend more time on the important things in life. For me, that is time with my fiancée and new puppy at home while also making more time for my family and friends.
It has taken a pandemic for some of us to reconnect and make the effort to give someone a call, or to realise who and what is the most important thing.
Sometimes you can’t help how busy some periods of your life are but this time that we are forced to spend at home could help you to recharge the batteries in order to find a new focus on your work when you get back to it.
You don’t need to find more courses to do or to be as productive as possible. You can also get some rest, restore your mental and physical health and prepare yourself for going back to normality with a fresh impetus. Fully restore your motivation in whatever it is that you do on a daily basis.
Personally, being forced to take some time off has really benefited me because I wouldn’t have taken the time to reflect or steer myself back in to the directions that I want to go. I’ve had time to organise myself at home, get some jobs done that were put on the long finger and build on the foundations that allow me to do well in my work and career.
A break from the same routine of working during the day, coaching in the evening, coaching at the weekend and working on a Sunday to get ahead of the week has been the best thing for me. One week had been rolling into the next which makes life mundane and taken for granted.
Easter Sunday was a stark reminder of what is important to us. Being able to call to family for dinner, watch my niece doing her Easter egg hunt in person rather than through a phone, the freedom to see who we want in whatever setting we want.
Be grateful for what you have, we'll be back to hectic normality before we know i
Maybe take the time to reflect on who or what you are missing most right now and allow yourself some time with those people or on those tasks when life resumes.
My coaching is very much about empowering the person or group to make a decision, whether that is on a rugby field or in a nutritional context. If you can get the person to see what the right decision is for them instead of always giving them the information it will be more powerful down the line.
Similarly here, it is difficult to tell someone to take a rest, that they shouldn’t do some continuing professional development or that they should definitely come out of this pandemic a ‘better’ person.
What I am saying is that rest, work, recovery, achievement and so on are all possibilities for you during these times. You should figure out your own priorities based on what’s best for you and make a positive decision for you and those around you.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by online guru’s telling you how you should manage your way through this time but just getting out the other side of this pandemic healthy and ready to get back to your normal life is more than enough too.
Be grateful for what you have, we’ll be back to hectic normality before we know it.