Updated: Aug 23
COVID-19 and lockdown has brought many challenges, but I think it’s fair to say one of the biggest has been the blurring of the lines between work and life.
For many that line is not just blurred...... it no longer exists.
The space in which we sleep, eat, relax, work out and spend time (alone or with family), has also become the space we home school, work and do just about everything else.
Work has not only taken up physical residence and space in our homes, it has expanded to take up mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual space too.
Your home which was once your haven may now be feeling like a claustrophobic, cluttered.
The problem is the balance between our work and lives determines your overall wellbeing. If all the aspects of our lives are being attended to, addressed and nourished, we maintain our wellbeing – Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual.
If we begin to neglect whole areas of our lives, or the energy and focus directed at one area is in stark contrast to the others (out of balance), the effect on our wellbeing is immediate – it decreases or worsens.
If the situation continues, stress, anxiety, depression and isolation soon follow.
So over the next few weeks, I want to share with you a few simple, practical and easy to adopt strategies, to help you make positive, sustainable improvements to your work life balance, overall wellbeing, and resilience during COVID-19 and lockdown.
TIP 1: MANAGE YOUR DIARY AND RECLAIM YOUR TIME!
Nearly every coaching session I am having with clients at the moment has poor or no management of work diary’s (and therefore time), at the root of the problem.
You successfully made the transition from being office based to being home based overnight. But now you spend all of your time at work (at home) in front of a screen....
no physical interaction with colleagues,
no chats by the coffee machine,
no built in breaks to walk from meeting to meeting,
no banter by the lift, toilet, sandwich queue etc…
nothing to break up your day!
You now remain glued to your seat from 9.00am to 5.30pm (or later), with little or no breaks because you have back to back TEAMS or ZOOM meetings in your diary.
No one seems to have figured out that even though you don’t physically have to get to meetings you still need to take breaks between them!
You still need comfort break and rest breaks.
You still need to stop for lunch.
You still need to and get up and move your body.
And most of all you still need to get fresh air and some sun (little as there is) on your skin.
Instead every single scrap of free-time or space in your diary is being filled by yet another meeting!
We have all made the physical transition to working from home, and we did so with speed, efficiency and professionalism. What we have not done however, is consciously adjust / or build new work day processes to accommodate for this radical change.
The time saved from not having to get ready for work, commute or travel, is being poured into spending more time working, instead of ring-fencing or reclaiming that time for yourself for your own benefit and wellbeing.
This is doubly tempting to do as so many of the things we used to do to relax - go out, socialise, gym etc.. have been curtailed. All that energy and time is now being poured into work, resulting in us working more and for longer.
So beginning today we are going to start building your new processes and habits to ensure you maintain appropriate boundaries between your work and the rest of your life.
It's time to start the journey towards reclaiming your home, your life and your overall wellbeing.
Action #1. Create and commit to a Wellbeing Hour.
Go to your diary and ring-fence at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) for yourself, in the middle of every working day, from today onwards.
Physically allocate this time for yourself for lunch or a break and lock it!
Ring-fencing is the key here, as this time is not to be given away to or subsumed by other meetings or work requirements.
Now the commitment is in your diary you have no excuse! It will flash up as lunch or better still your Wellbeing Hour.
Every day at the designated time, get up, take a break and eat your lunch AWAY from your workspace!
Even better, as the weather begins to improve, eat your lunch in the fresh air, even if it means sitting on your doorstep if you don’t have any outside space.
Well my friend, we are living in the most extraordinarily strange times, and all the rules as we knew them no longer exist!
Action #2. Get your peers, and colleagues to do the same.
To help you maintain this commitment and bed down this new way of being, get your team and work mates and peers to also add a Wellbeing Hour at the same time everyday.
This is the time when you all focus on self care. If you all have this time identified and ring fenced in your diary’s, and collectively commit to keep it sacrosanct, NO ONE will book meetings into it!
This time is so sacred it only gets moved for God (no not your CEO or boss the real one!), and trust me, HE wants you to regain your work life balance too so he won’t be asking you to move it!
If your peers, colleagues and team mates spread the word and and share this practice too, before you know it everyone will be doing it!
So your challenge this week is to just follow this simple tip and adopt these two actions, every day from now on.
And I promise you, this small change will make a noticeable improvement to you, your energy, and productivity - immediately.
Leave a comment below, or message me on INSTAGRAM to let me know how you get on, and also how many friends / colleagues you have encouraged to adopt this new practice.
If you are having any challenges or are facing resistance, share that too as i’m sure we can come up with a solution to get everyone onboard.
See you at the next blog when I'll share the next simple, easy, practical change you can make to reclaim your time, energy and wellbeing.
Have a great week!
You can find more free resources to support your mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing can your career during COVID 19 here