At the end of the year I saw numerous social media posts about being ready to say goodbye to 2020 and the events of the past year and welcoming 2021. Yet within days, it became evident the change of the calendar was not going to miraculously solve the variety of fundamental issues we are facing – including the global pandemic, racial inequities and injustice, political discord, economic instability, and so much more.
We’ve been operating in a survival mode of sorts – just managing through until things return to “normal.” However, the normal we recall is not likely to return anytime soon. Concurrently, the deluge of breaking news is overwhelming and distracting, yet important and relevant. So how do we move into a sustainable mode of operations, reset expectations, and adapt to the current climate?
Below are some tips for embracing today’s realities and minimizing stress.
An article in the Wall Street Journal shared how people have created fake commute routines while working from home to differentiate the start and the end of their work days. An excerpt from the article illustrates the approach:
“Ms. Hein, now a veteran of the fake commute, has her coffee, puts on “real clothes” and then does one 15-minute loop around the block before getting to her desk by 9 a.m.
“The day goes better if I walk around the block before being ‘at work,’” she said. “It’s almost like a different persona you have in each place.”
It can be helpful to find ways to establish a start time and an end time to the workday while working from home. Without defining the start or end of your workday, one can bleed into the other. This can lead to burnout. It is important to maintain work-life balance.
Limit News Consumption
Today’s news (e.g., political events, COVID infection/death rates, civil unrest) can create anxiety and perpetuate a sense of uncertainty. While it is important to be informed, experts advise limiting news consumption. This can be challenging given the constant access and exposure to news via our mobile devices, alerts and social media. Consider these tips from VeryWellMind to help strike a healthy balance.
Part of the reality of the current climate is a seemingly endless variety of distractions – kids needing help with remote schooling, laundry, deliveries, social media alerts, and on and on. WIRED published some tips in its article “How to hack your concentration when you’re working from home.” One tip included in the article is the Pomodoro Technique. With the technique, you identify a project you want to complete, you set the timer for 25 minutes and work on the task until the timer rings. When the timer rings you put a check mark on the activity and take a short break. After four Pomodoros, you take a longer break. It’s a great way to focus on a project in chunks, helping to break up large projects making them more accessible. My daughter learned this technique in middle school, and it has proved effective for her, my colleagues and me.
The uncertainties and turmoil of 2020 are likely to continue through 2021. Remote working is also likely to remain the norm – when feasible. Instead of staying in survival mode, let’s identify ways we can thrive despite these challenges.
What are some of the ways you are embracing the new normal, combating distractions, and thriving in 2021?