Today, I was reminded of a blog I shared at the end of last year called, Taking Back Your Time. I had joked about wanting an extra hour in each day and how we should eliminate time wasters. Well I am sure I speak for most of us when I say that as of lately, I found that extra hour… and then some!
COVID-19 has definitely changed my daily routines and made space in my schedule. Without my commute, social life, or outside entertainment, I have significantly more time on my hands. However, I am shocked that I didn’t see much change.
Initially, I had high expectations. I was almost excited to be locked at home and forced to check a few things off my to-do list and finally put my list of resolutions into action. However, here I am, MONTHS into shelter-in-place, and can you believe my home isn’t cleaned to perfection, I haven’t read more books, and I still don’t seem to have those six-pack abs. What went wrong?! Even with great intentions and plenty of extra time, it amazes me that my expectations didn’t become a reality. Here is where I think things went wrong:
Change Brought Other Changes
While being at home brought more time, it also brought other challenges. Stephane became my new co-worker and full-time roommate. My daily routine and entertainment had to shift to include him as well. It took time to adjust to a home office and merge schedules in a way that left us both successful and feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.
I know many of my actual co-workers are also dealing with homeschooling and supporting external family members. This change brought on new time-consuming challenges.
Unrealistic Expectations – Too Much Too Fast
While my intentions were great, I brought too many new things into my routine at once. Adjusting to this new way of life was already a big mental adjustment. Instead of slowly entering new habits and projects, I tried to jump straight into a new life. Obviously, this didn’t work out too well. Even on a well-balanced and productive day, I was feeling let down that I wasn’t able to do it all.
Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail
Again, I had a list of everything that I wanted to accomplish, but I didn’t strategize when it would actually happen in my day. Without a plan, distractions were everywhere, and my expectations became unobtainable.
- When was I going to read/run/study/cook/clean closets/check on family & friends?
- Did I need to incorporate these new habits every day or just a few times a week?
- Did I need to finish the whole project in one day?
- Did I have support and buy-in from my quarantine team?
Moving forward I understand that I need to think more realistically about my expectations. While it is great to try and make the most of this situation and improve, I may need to readjust my plan. Below are a few ideas that I think will help me see more success and feel better about my changes.
Narrow it Down – Focus on a few changes or tasks at a time
Plan it Out – Dedicate certain times to accomplish these tasks (maybe not even daily) & stick with it
Succeed Together – If possible, find a quarantine buddy who can be an accountability partner or who will join in and participate too
Stay Adaptable – Things continue to change, and we have to remain flexible in our thinking and planning
Celebrate the Successes – Stop focusing on what didn’t get done, and give recognition to the efforts made to grow and make a change