I’m not rushing things, but as we move through this unusual time period of our lives, I’d like us to begin thinking about takeaways. Start writing down what you want to keep doing; stop doing; or add to life. It’s sort of like organizing Things: keep, toss, donate is our first step. Our second is to add back in whatever you’d forgotten was important, joyful, or mattered to you.
Why reflect on takeaways, if we can’t predict what “next” looks like?
Consider which of these reasons may ring true for you:
- You’ll forget what you loved about this time;
- You may forget how it FEELS, the changes you’ve made;
- You may have found new ways to be productive at your work;
- You realize you won’t have time to reflect once things change again;
- You may find it a difficult transition, switching gears once we “return.”
- We’ve been organizing our days differently for long enough that you may have new habits, new routines or ones you have dropped. How will you retain them later on?
- To give you hope. When we don’t take time to reflect on what is good, we often default to negative thinking.
Identifying Your Takeaways
One possibility: On April 14th, 2020, my industry organization held a Zoom class with interactive discussion, the fourth in a series of how to help ourselves, our clients, our businesses and our home life. The class was led and developed by Alison Lush, CPO-CD®, CPO®, Master Trainer, for ICD® (copyright statement), also the current president.
The framework from this class is one way you could organize your thoughts:
- What surprises have you encountered;
- Self-care strategies (changes, non-negotiables, how has it changed);
- Changes at home (routines, communication, chores, technology, etc.)
- Support for others (for clients, family/friends, for your mental health);
- What are you surprised you are not missing (credit to Lynne Johnson for this question).
- Self-reliance: new skills you’ve discovered, things you’ve found you can live without or with less; strengths you discovered; how you’ve handled your mental health.
Shared with me by a mental health professional, this framework has you reflecting on phases of time. Here, you’d write about each phase in whatever ways matter to you. When you get to #3, write what is important to have or not have in your next phase. You can also list the questions you want to answer at some point.
- What was
- What is
- What will be (for as much as you know want/don’t want)
My thoughts on an approach:
- What has been different …. at work; at home.
- In that list of differences, what would I like to hold onto?
- What do I not miss in my life (like question #5 above).
- How did “before” feel?
- How do I feel now?
- How would I like to feel as we move out of this?
- Who do I want to be more of; are there feelings, thoughts, behaviors which I’ve admired about myself during this time? Ones I would like to hold onto?
Use the 8 wellness dimensions
The eight dimensions of wellness diagram will help you to identify what has been different, better, missing, etc. This gives us each aspect of life to consider, another way to organize your thoughts and feelings.
After all, when you look at each dimension, probably each one has been disrupted or changed from your old normal in some way.
For example, what have you learned about your social support needs? Have you changed any spiritual, meditative, peaceful practices? How do you feel about these changes?
How do you feel about yourself today versus before this all started? Acknowledging your feelings is crucial to feeling comfortable again.
Of course, part of my question set as a personal productivity coach is be the “how” question. Once you’ve reflected on your takeaways, and you know what you’d like to keep in your life, how will you do that?
Think adaptability here. No either/or, black/white thinking. What are the possibilities? Instead of “I won’t ever be able again to spend that much time on xyz,” ask yourself: “How could I spend more time than I used to (pre-COVID)?” If it matters, it needs space in your life. Maybe that’s part of the learning here.
Make a vision board, paper or electronic. Keep it where you can see it each day: on your screen, as an open tab if it’s on Pinterest, or if you make a printed one, where will you see it each day.
Use your calendar. First try to schedule everything important into your calendar and see if it is all possible timewise, or where you might need to adapt (fewer times a week, shorter times, etc.).
Keep these “best practices” to life somewhere you’ll see them each day and make reviewing them part of your day. A notebook on your bedside table. A note on your to do list/app you use each day. With your morning reading.
Print out this blog article and take your time reflecting. It may happen over time. Your reflecting may happen in one journal entry.
I wish you:
Peace. Health. Calm.