When one door closes another door opens.
So while our front doors are remaining firmly shut during this period of self-isolation, that then swings the door of the mind wide open. Now, the door of the mind can open into a land of opportunity or a total minefield of fear and anxiety, so let’s make sure it’s not the latter.
Without the pressure of having to be places and see people, never has there been a better time to sit down, take stock and review where you’re at, where you’ve been, and where you are heading.
It can be hard these days to recognise our own value when we spend so much of our time in comparison with others. When spending so much of our time on screens, whether it’s digital media we are viewing for business purposes, or social media that we are scrolling through in our personal time; we can’t help but get sucked into a game of comparison that prompts us to compare ourselves to others in terms of status, skillset or appearance and feel a sense of lack in our own self-image and abilities. And when we spend more time alone working from home this unhelpful thought process is magnified.
I’ve run my businesses from home for over 10 years; our service-based products are delivered remotely, on varied locations so all the day to day runnings of the business is carried out in the home office, or the kitchen table on some days – like today actually.
Not having a team of colleagues immediately surrounding you can feel quite isolating and I speak from personal experience when I say that one’s own head can take one to some strange and unhelpful places and the chances of this happening is going to be increased during self-isolation.
When working from home you have to create your own structure and it’s even more important to manage yourself and your time correctly to optimise not only your productivity with work, but also your happiness in life, and ensure that you keep all areas of work and personal life purposeful and balanced.
DECLUTTER YOUR HOME
So, first things first! This one seems like a no brainer but it’s often overlooked as we forget how quickly we can accumulate ‘stuff’ around us and in our homes. A messy workspace is distracting to our senses and draining on our energy. Keep surfaces as clear as possible and books, papers, trinkets etc. concealed away to allow you to focus on the task at hand. That even goes for all those open windows and files floating around your computer or laptop desktop. Be mindful of this daily but have a tidy up and clear out of your entire home, not just your workspace, once a week to keep on top of it; the act is actually very cleansing and energising in itself.
Whether you do it morning or night, or both, make sure it features in your day. Downloading your brain in the morning get’s things out into the physical and is a wonderful tool to help you set up your day. I am often in conversation with myself on paper first thing in the morning, initially processing thoughts and emotions, then naturally moving onto planning out how my day ahead is going to run. Getting yourself writing in the morning allows you to meet yourself where you are at and work out the best plan of action and order in tackling the tasks of the day ahead.
There are plenty of resources out there with regards to journaling, some recommending a minimum number of pages should be written, but I don’t believe one size ever fits all; I think you should write for as long or as little as you need to, and this may vary each day but you will know what is best for you.
Writing at night can be particularly useful after a testing day to offload some angst and even jot down some reminders for the following day so that you can sleep easy not carrying a whirring mind of thoughts into your slumber.
GET INTENTIONAL WITH EXERCISE
This step is needed more than ever right now with our usual routines disrupted by self-isolation. With a lot of time spent at home and less natural occurring opportunity to be active by generally being out and about, it’s important to schedule time into your days for some form of exercise or movement. There are plenty of self-isolation friendly resources online for activity with personal trainers and fitness professionals offering free virtual streaming of workouts or plenty of videos on YouTube for specific cardio and strengthening exercises if you want to push yourself towards a fitness or fat loss goal, you can even join me on my live streams each week! We know exercise releases endorphins but finishing a scheduled movement or workout session gives a sense of accomplishment which ripples throughout all our actions and motivates us to complete other tasks.
PREP YOUR MEALS
Preparing food in advance for the next few days will help you keep on track with your health goals and stop you over-eating or picking at the wrong things with multiple trips to the nearby fridge and cupboards during self-isolation. Food prep in itself is a great practice in life management as by planning out your meals in advance it encourages you to think strategically with everything else, and having a balanced meal prepped and ready to go for when you need it frees up mental space and energy to focus on other things. Ensuring all your prepped meals are balanced with fresh veggies, balanced carbohydrates and protein will keep your hormones balanced, your mood stable and your body nourished.
TAKE TIME OUT EVERYDAY FOR YOU
Self-care and time out is particularly important for you to take at this time. It may feel like you need to get your head down and work, work, work to generate income at this difficult time but taking time out just for you is paramount for your mindset and wellbeing. Whether it’s enjoying a bubble bath or switching off all communications and settling down to Netflix for the evening, don’t feel guilty or feel it’s wasted time, it’s not. it’s important to give yourself this time to allow your mind to fully switch off and have a break so that you can continue to stay on track and thinking creatively towards your life and business goals each day. Make sure you are intentional with the time you take for yourself, and do it for you. Me-time should be scheduled every single day in some form or another.
To motivate yourself for all the above you can set yourself challenges. I have currently set myself a 5k a day running challenge which is a specific goal and measurable. My time improves each week and that helps to keep me on track and inspires me to do it day after day.
If you are feeling overwhelm then just stop trying to push on with it all. Take a break and write down a list of all the things you feel that you need to do. You may have 10 or 60 things on the list but whittle it down to 5 things only, I would choose the ones that you are putting up most resistance to and for each one of those things, break it down into stages to reach completion; it may take your 3 or 25 steps to get there but list every single step it will take you to get there and schedule it into your diary. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there, it’s not a race, as long as you’ve got actionable steps to take each day with it you will eventually get there and you’ll enjoy the process of moving towards you goals far more than trying to tackle it all at once with lack of focus and direction.
Scheduling in the good stuff to your days will restore any order you feel you may have lost and keep your head level and mood balanced. Paying attention to these things will not only help get your through this period of self-isolation but will actually have your thriving during it and the benefits of which will last long after the lockdown period is over.
DESIGN YOUR WEEK
The beauty of working from home? You get to call the shots! But, you have to call them for them to happen. Our lives are busy and never before have our work and personal lives been more intertwined – so ‘work admin’ becomes more similar to ‘life admin’ – it all needs to be planned out, even in self-isolation, to ensure we keep the balance. Taking time out is so important for us to work effectively but often it’s the first thing to go when business get’s busy. And where does that take us to? Burnout.
We need to ensure that our time management is balanced, even if our workload is not, and the best way to do this is plan out all social, work and exercise activities a week in advance. They will most likely move as personal engagements crop up or unplanned work assignments are pushed upon you so ensure that you move things around the diary to accommodate and not just add it in. If something needs to be pushed into the following week then so be it, your life and career should be viewed as a marathon not a sprint.
If you fancy a chat or a virtual cuppa then come and say hello over on the gram @camillajcollins
Stay safe, Stay positive,