As the world stays indoors, many of us have had to quickly reimagine our routines of working remotely in this new normal. While working from home is a blessing for many, it can also be challenging for some. At times it can be confusing, or even frustrating, to figure out how to ease into this new variation of our lives within our homes. However daunting it may feel, I assure you that it’s possible to navigate this new way of life without all of the headaches.
With some self-compassion, and a method I call “intuitive scheduling,” you’ll find your way into a new normal that works for you — and find it at your own pace.
How you navigate this transition will serve as a symbol of how you manage change in other areas of your life. For some of us, with a little direction, you may find your groove quickly and jump right back on your feet. For others, it won’t be as smooth of a transition, but that’s okay too! We’re each on our own path, after all.
The best thing you can do for yourself to realign your routines and your schedule is to start by doing some inner work. This is a great time to check-in and ask yourself not only how you’re maneuvering your new work-life, but also how you deal with and react to change overall. Use of a bit of the time you’ve been given back to zoom out and self-reflect on what your relationship with change is on a larger scale.
How have you reacted to change in the past? What has worked? What hasn’t? Use your inner wisdom that you’ve already gathered to help steer you forward. With your self-awareness on speed dial, that’s when you can dive into strategizing your next move.
Step One: Assess What Makes You Happy And Brings You Joy
Spend some time writing out a list of everything that brings you joy and makes you feel at ease. Keep this list around and refer to it constantly. Try your best to incorporate items from this list into your day as often as possible to counter any negative emotions that could stem from a new, always-shifting routine. Remember, this is all a work in progress. Think of this list as your daily lifeline you can use to bring you up when circumstances outside of your control bring you down.
The goal here is progress, not perfection. By even spending two or five minutes doing something that brings you peace of mind, it can help transform your energy and put you back in flow for the rest of the day. Whatever you do, don’t think of this list as a to-do list — think of it as what it is: a joy list. If you’re in need of a boost, the best person who knows what you need is you.
Step Two: Create Mindful 'Breaks' in Your Calendar
Start to notice what about your new routine makes you feel out of your groove. What stresses you out? When do you feel the most drained? Perhaps you find yourself getting burned out from too many virtual calls. If that’s the case, separate your meetings out further to give yourself a break. Maybe there’s a particular time in the day where you feel like you can’t get anything done. Create boundaries by blocking off your calendar and spending that time doing something to help you recharge while changing your environment. These breaks can be anywhere between two to twenty minutes (or even an hour if you really need it). The better you become at noticing your shifts throughout the day, the easier it’ll be to maneuver your schedule to fit your needs.
Need some ideas for mindful breaks? These can be anything then helps you reset your energy and reconnect with yourself. Maybe it’s stepping outside or maybe it’s meditating. Or maybe it’s blasting some really fun music and dancing around in your pajamas. The perk of working from home is that you can literally dance like no one’s watching. And, if you run out of ideas for mindful breaks, you can always refer to your joy list.
Step Three: Practice Unapologetic Self-compassion
What we’re all going through isn’t easy, but we must continue to move forward. Of course, there will be some days where you don’t feel like moving forward and want to stay put (that’s okay too). There’s no need to punish yourself for not doing enough or being as motivated as you normally are. Some days will be easier than others, and — with intuitive scheduling — it’s all about being more flexible with yourself and your life. Support the flow of ever-changing emotions and energy.
Ask yourself: what is in your control in a time when your world is uneasy and uncertain? How you treat yourself in the process. Be flexible. Try things out, one step and one day at a time. If something doesn’t work, try something new. Try this: the next time you’re unmotivated, ask yourself what you need. If the answer is rest, take a 10-minute nap. Make a promise to yourself that after you rest, you’ll do at least one thing productive or one thing from your ‘joy list.’ Then give yourself a big hug for doing the best you can. Self-compassion means you treat yourself just as you would a friend — with support and encouragement. There are plenty of productivity hacks out there, but there’s nothing like using your own intuition to help you navigate change. Tap into that, and you’ll be unstoppable.