Having a to-do list is great. It's a tool for capturing all you need to get done and then organizing it into the days and weeks to come.
During "normal" conditions we had to manage our time based on where we had to be and deadlines of work, school, volunteering, and personal goals.
COVID-19 has changed the very fabric of our lives. We know in the past how one cancellation can have a ripple effect on our week, we are riding many waves of cancellations, virtual meetings, and cross-fingered rescheduling.
How can this affect our to-do list?
How can this affect our resolve to get things done?
Quite frankly, it's very challenging!
Have you ever tried to put on eyeliner or lipstick while being a passenger in a moving vehicle?
Depending on the road, the driver, and how many stoplights it can be possible.
But imagine the driver is racing through cobblestoned streets, turning erratically and going through stoplights?
This is kinda what the current epidemic has done to our schedules. It's hard to put on our "makeup" let alone do we even care when we are simply scared for our lives? Is putting on "eyeliner" in a time like this even relevant or not?
I know a few things that are not helpful during this time:
Comparing your life to another's.
Now more than ever we spend time on social media to help pass the time, to get up-to-date information, to stay connected to family, friends, and celebrities, and to simply be entertained. The danger in that is comparison. It could be a day that you are mentally "done". It's a Netflix-binge-UberEats kinda emotional day and you scroll on Instagram and see your friend (or a complete stranger), finishing up an in-home workout, or putting out a workshop for their followers, or just being a non-Netflix-binging human. Then you start to think about what you SHOULD be doing. I once heard:
"Should is a could that's covered in shame."
We certainly live in uncharted waters. We are living in shock, grief, uncertainty, and fear overlaid with the need and demands to try to keep up a normal life.
A Netflix-binge-UberEats day is allowed when you need it. Rest your emotional and mental energy and recharge. Under the present circumstances, this may need to happen more often than you are used to.
You might also need to take a social media break. Seriously.
No routine at all.
The sun rises and it sets. We breathe in and out all day. Our hearts beat. The seasons change. The flowers bloom in the spring and the leaves fall off in autumn. My point? We were made to thrive on cycles and routines. If our lives have been totally thrown off track, it can be unhealthy to not have a few routines in place.
When do you get up?
When do you go to bed?
When do you eat your meals?
When do you clean your space?
How do you center yourself?
How do you feed your spiritual needs?
Getting some exercise?
We crave routine and the less routine we have the easier it is to spiral into depression. Depression and being productive are rare pairings.
Have you been struggling to get or keep a routine?
Start somewhere. Here's a suggestion.
Something you need to get done
Something fun you'd like to do
Someone you'd like to connect with
Something you want to get done
Then look at your day or week and plan to fit those 4 things in it. This keeps procrastination at bay and can help motivate you to find new things to add to the list and feel more productive and less "blah".
Looking blah for Zoom.
Stylists wouldn't exist and the fashion industry wouldn't be a multi-billion-dollar empire if makeup and clothing didn't make us feel a certain way. Try showering and dressing for a Zoom meeting as if you were going to meet in person (I've even worn perfume). You'd be surprised by the positive thoughts and emotions that come from looking great for yourself and having others notice.
During a time that we didn't foresee, didn't plan for, and certainly are making up the rules for as we go along, do your best to keep a positive mindset. Give yourself a pass when you are emotionally and mentally drained, don't compare your productivity to others (quite frankly some could be busy but not productive), and do things that make yourself feel like your old-not-sitting-in-the-house self you were a few weeks ago.
Andrea Hancock is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Dexterous Organizing, a professional organizing and lifestyle company serving the Washington, DC Metro area. Andrea has been organizing professionally since 2010 and has completed the foundation courses in the Coach Approach for Organizers Training. She believes mostly anyone can create the organizational system that works for their lives through training, awareness, and consistent efforts.