Put Structure into Your Day

Many people’s lives have been turned upside down due to the Coronavirus. As the “quarantine” continues, the impact on our lives can create chaos. Putting more structure in your life might help. Being constantly at home with your spouse, kids, pets, combined with a lack of social interaction can add up to that upside-down feeling.

Moreover, for working parents who are now teleworking, childcare can be a problem. If your child is used to you working out of the house, and now you are working from home, setting boundaries will be very helpful. 

In the early 1990’s when working remotely was not the norm, I was a single parent. I worked from my home. My girls knew not to disturb me during my office hours unless it was necessary. Think about what boundaries and limits you can create that are age appropriate for your kids. Ask yourself, What boundaries can I set up?

Another potential issue to handle is the new form of communication with others – video calls. Most people are, or have become familiar with Zoom, and it seems we are all getting familiar with holding meetings through that process. I have several clients who are going from virtual meeting to virtual meeting. I’ve observed that several meetings I’ve attended start up to 5-7 minutes late for various reasons, the least of which is getting used to.” Further, these meetings tend to just go on and on, taking up much more time than was anticipated.

My suggestion, which I have found successful … try to schedule meetings where there are 15-minute breaks in between so you are fresh and present for each call. How far apart are your virtual meetings? Can you space them out on your calendar?

Being home so much more than before can grate on your patience. Notice how you are all doing, such as mood and level of energy. 

The lack of social interaction can also make you feel lonely, especially for extroverts. Keep up with your relationships … FaceTime is great for this! Celebrate your special events like birthdays … set up a virtual party!

How we look and what we are wearing are absolutely factors in how we feel. Get dressed and do the best you can if you haven’t been able to get your hair styled. Make sure to exercise, eat healthy, and get a good night’s sleep.

Make the best of this situation. I know “what ifs” un-nerve many people. Take life one day at a time. In reality, that’s what we all have. One mindset I have is to view this as a retreat instead of a quarantine. I am not being a “Pollyanna.” There are clearly things we have no control over, so why not make the best of it? You will feel better! 

Plan Your Untouchable Day

As I sit here going through the second round of proofreading for my new book, I saw an article in Harvard Business Review in my email inbox that caught my attention. It was called “Why You Need an Untouchable Day Every Week” by Neil Pasricha. Boy, that sounded good!

I thus want to share a bit about my current experience and how an “untouchable day” fits.  I knew my book project would take a good amount of time, so I planned for extra time in case it was needed. Even more, because it was a first-time project for me, I knew that there would be things that I just was not aware of, so I figured I would deal with those things as I went along. We all juggle our schedules. My attitude was plan to the best of my ability and be flexible along the way.

An untouchable day?  Wow. I have always kept a healthy business-life integration. If I added something to my schedule, I made sure before I said “yes” that I had the time, and if not, I could take something out of my schedule that would create the time I needed. This process has worked well for me and for my clients. I try to set healthy boundaries and not deplete my energy.   Almost everyone I am in contact with has a busy life.

When I saw the article I was absolutely ready to try an “untouchable day!” I’d like to share it with you. Your circumstance may be different and you can substitute yours. Everyone fills their time with “things”- appointments, meetings, traveling…The hope is that you will free up some time, energy, and be able to be more energetic, more creative, more at peace, and experience way less stress.

What is an untouchable day?  These are days when I will literally be 100% unreachable in any way…by anyone.

Untouchable Days are now going to be my secret sauce for getting back on track. They’re going to be how I achieve my most creative and rewarding work. The author of the article said he was 10 times more productive on his Untouchable Days.

Pashrica said planning Untouchable Days involves looking at your calendar sixteen weeks ahead of time, and for each week, blocking out an entire day as UNTOUCHABLE, and putting it in all-caps.  

But, what about emergencies, you might be wondering? Pashrica says that there really aren’t any, unless they are truly REAL-LIFE EMERGENCIES.

Pashrica has a simple rule. He says Untouchable Days may never be deleted, but they can move between “the bowling-lane bumpers of the weekends.”

I like Pashrica’s thinking.  He says when you plant the Untouchable Day flag on your calendar, it feels permanent in your mind. You start feeling the creative high you’ll get from such deep output as soon as you start booking them in.

To read more on the untouchable day: https://hbr.org/2018/03/why-you-need-an-untouchable-day-every-week?autocomplete=true