In July, I feel like I’ve hit a wall. It’s been a very tough month to stay focused. I don’t know what initially caused me to hit a wall. I feel like it was more just a gradual move towards feeling exhaustion, sadness, overwhelm, and loss. I miss seeing clients. I miss my friends. I miss my BNI group in-person meetings. I miss vacation. I miss feeling productive. I miss my creativity. Most of all, I miss HUGS.
I would have hoped that we’d be heading down from the virus peak in April but we are obviously going the wrong direction. Things have not been reverted in my area yet, but moving into a new phase is so obviously out of the question.
This week is about pivoting for me. I thought I’d share what I plan to do in case you feel a need to pandemic pivot, too. Here’s my plan of action to get out of my COVID funk at work.
My first focus area is my health and wellness.
Less coffee, more water
As I look at the habits I’ve acquired during our shutdown, drinking too much coffee is a problem. My one iced latte has turned into a giant pour or two. I feel dehydrated and tired in the afternoon when my caffeine buzz wears off. I participated in a hydration challenge in June and it was great. I’m doing that again and really trying to limit to one normal latte in the morning and 64 ounces of water at a minimum each day.
Move early every day
This has been going pretty well, but lately, I’ve been so tired in the mornings that I haven’t been consistent with walks or bike rides early when I prefer to get them done. Most days, I like to do an exercise walk or bike ride, plus a dog walk. Lately, my son has been walking the dog and by afternoon, I’m not into doing anything at least three days a week. My energy is zapped. I’m going to carve out morning workouts again. We have a ton of backyard projects. I plan to focus on those, too.
Music for good vibes
The news is really getting to me. I’m not going to spend my mornings on political podcasts or cable news. My office is going to have Spotify or Pandora blasting with music that makes me feel good. Norah Jones, 70’s funk and WWOZ. That’s my favorite New Orleans Jazz station. Think CALM. And whenever I can transport my mind to NOLA, I’m happier.
Declutter a little bit at a time
Nothing has lifted my spirits more than getting junk out of the house. In the last two weeks, I’ve made it to two shredding events and dropped off at the Goodwill twice. It feels amazing to unload and I want to keep up the momentum there. I don’t have to do it for long periods of time to put a dent in things. I’ve created a space in my basement to basically create a “shipping station” for transport out of my house.
And now for the work and office plan.
Focus on incompletes
One of my friends, Chieko Watanabe, is a business coach that teaches people how to stay productive at work. She recommends when you feel overwhelmed to tackle your “incompletes”. These are things that you need to do, you’re late in getting them done, and they are weighing on you. This is truly the starting place for me. Check out the book she wrote with three other friends of mine. It’s a great read.
Reassess my calendar
I’m a time blocker. Lately, my time blocking has been doing nothing but making me feel like a failure because I don’t follow it that much anymore. I feel unstructured and that makes me lose focus. I’m writing this blog post when I’m supposed to be totally focused on project work. I’m going to really take a look at my to-dos and what times of the day work best. A later start time is needed so I can get out and exercise. Do I need to work as many hours as I currently do? Why am I working on weekends again? I need to assess it all and make adjustments.
I really am hating Zoom these days. I’m mostly tired that I do it sitting at my desk. A stand-up desk is in my future but not just yet. I’m going to set my meetings to be more limited now. I had opened them up a bit because of driving times on my meeting days. But the driving part was a break. I’m just not getting those anymore.
Library time at home
For those of you who have been coming to the cafe for a while, you know I used to meet a friend at the library at least twice a month and we quietly worked on our own businesses sitting with each other. We were accountability buddies. This is sorely missing from my life. I need to spend time on my own websites, think about my processes, my workflow. Keeping on top of that makes me more productive.
I feel like I need to sharpen my skills. I browsed Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) over the weekend and picked out a few WooCommerce classes to advance my skills there. I also bookmarked a few Mailchimp courses. These are areas I feel I can expand my services with for the future. And it will make my work my mind a bit differently. I’m stuck in a rut.
This is my plan to dig myself out of the hole I feel I’m in. I’m feeling a lot of pressure to not only get on top of things but to get ahead of schedule. I never know when my parents may send up the signal for assistance. I need to be ready for anything, anytime. The only way I can do that is to get on top of my work while taking care of my health and well being that the same time. It’s not just for me, but for them. That is a huge motivation for me.
Are you feeling like you’re on top of work during COVID? Please share your tips in our group. We can all be there for each other.