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Finding your routine in a time of uncertainty

As we go through this unprecedented period, many are struggling not only with uncertainty but also, the sudden lack of structure. The monotony of days can be difficult to deal with. Heightened stress, loneliness, anxiety, and boredom are common emotions that are tricky to shake.

Having a routine can do wonders for one’s cognitive and emotional wellbeing. Sticking to a schedule and building in time for fulfilling activities like learning can be a great way to break the ennui of a day. But this takes sustained discipline, which, in turn, takes practice and intentionality…

8 tips to finding the right routine for you:

1. Build the right environment:

Try and find a dedicated spot for your desk you can make your own. Whether you’re set up in the dining room, kitchen, corridor or have an actual office space, mark the area off as your ‘work zone’ in some way.

Get the ergonomics right in terms of your chair and laptop set-up, and then turn your attention to Feng Shui. Arrange the objects you need and want around you – nurturing your physical environment can make a difference to your mental state. Try and choose a quiet spot sans kids, cats, and other distractions.

2. Set a schedule:

It’s all too easy to turn into a pajama-loafing, ‘I only groom for Zoom’ meme when there’s no actual need to put on ‘real clothes’ and brush your hair. That can come with a lethargy trap and a very real drop in productivity. Hence the need for a physical schedule! Base your day on your pre-Covid-19 life… It’s important to find a rhythm that works.

Some suggestions to get you in the groove:

  • Set an alarm and do not press snooze. Wake up when you’d normally get up for work.
  • Choose a set time every day for exercise. Consider subscribing to online yoga or something similar?
  • Set aside a slot for news. Stick to that time and limit your other exposure. Being continuously bombarded with negative headlines isn’t good for anxiety levels. Same goes for social media.
  • Get dressed and comb your hair. Come on… you can do it!
  • Try and schedule your meetings to happen at a set time so Zoom doesn’t take over your life. Same goes for mundane admin. Let your teammates know your meeting window.
  • Make time for learning! Accruing a new skill could be one of the most fulfilling outcomes of this period.
  • Have a coffee/ tea ritual to start your morning.
  • Slot in regular breaks to stretch, check in with your family or whoever you’re living with right now, and go outside if you can.
  • Stick to mealtimes and try to limit snacking… especially if you’re working next to the fridge.
  • Set boundaries. Clock off at a normal work hour and then resist the urge to answer emails unless very urgent.
  • Have a set bedtime and stick to it.

Of course, it gets more complicated if there are kids in the equation as then you’re managing your own schedule and theirs… But establishing a routine may well benefit all of you in the long run.

3. Differentiate the weekends:

Time starts ‘warping’ and lines become blurred if weekdays look the same as the weekend. Intentionally make days off feel different. Write a list of activities to do – fun and practical – and stick these on the fridge. Then, work your way through them on Saturdays and Sundays.

4. Start each day with gratitude:

It may sound trite, but it can be extremely powerful to wake up and mindfully write down one thing you’re grateful for. Purposefully finding a positive could set you up to be in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.

5. Value quality time:

A submariner recommends ‘de-conflicting early’. If you’re living with others, then air grievances quickly and forgive these equally fast. Be honest, chat often, and vocally appreciate one another.

6. Learn, learn, learn:

It’s incredibly empowering to learn something new. Whether you’re wanting to pivot your business, grow professionally and further your career, or just do something totally new… now’s your time!

7. Build in flexibility:

A routine can’t be so rigid that there’s no time for flexibility and spontaneity…

8. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do:

Have the serenity to accept what you cannot change… and control what you can control. As Gandalf said, ‘All you have to decide is what to do with the time given to you’.

Conclusion:

Having a routine can help overcome feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Structure your days to find fulfilment and consider learning something new to feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

USB-ED has an array of online learning courses to keep you stimulated and honing your talents during this time. Fancy learning the art of negotiation? Or brushing up on MBA essentials? Or being immersed in the magic of marketing?  Enrol today.

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