March 23, 2020

Ask yourself these six questions every day working during COVID-19

Our day-to-day lives are changing constantly right now. In order to keep going, it’s important to check in with yourself. These are the six questions you can ask yourself every day to create the best life at work for yourself in difficult circumstances.

(Pro-tip: write down your answers as you go through them.) 

  1. Am I doing what I can to maintain a sense of normalcy in my life?

    Our daily routines have been up-ended, between learning to work remotely home-school kids and stock up on pantry-stable groceries. When a lot of things are out of our control, finding opportunities to exert our control can make a huge difference. 

    Take a step back and see what you can do right now, including collaborating with those you share a space with to create a schedule and communicating physical boundaries for work and play. Seeing chances to take back some of the power over your day-to-day life can help alleviate the stress. 

  2. Am I making my home the most productive environment it can be?

    Our daily routines have been up-ended, between learning to work remotely home-school kids and stock up on pantry-stable groceries. When a lot of things are out of our control, finding opportunities to exert our control can make a huge difference. 

    Take a step back and see what you can do right now, including collaborating with those you share a space with to create a schedule and communicating physical boundaries for work and play. Seeing chances to take back some of the power over your day-to-day life can help alleviate the stress. 

  3. Am I worried about anything in particular?

    It can sound counterintuitive to lean into our anxiety when we’re trying to be less anxious. But during a crisis moment, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the potential scary things that can happen. Instead, try to pinpoint what’s most bothering you. 

    Once you’ve identified the source of your worry, you can learn more about how likely the risk is and create a game plan to reduce that risk. Focusing your energy on one thing at a time can help alleviate your anxiety and give you back more of that control we mentioned earlier. 

  4. Who can I talk to if things are feeling hard?

    A support system is crucial, especially now. It’s easy to brush this off and say, “Well, everyone is stressed, so I shouldn’t bother them.” In a time of social distancing, we need to maintain our connections to fight off loneliness and see we’re not alone in our fear. 

    Run through your list of contacts and actually make a list of the people who are most likely to be there for you via text or video chat and then reach out to them. You may find your relationships are even stronger after supporting each other through this. 

  5. Am I collaborating with other departments on my work?

    Things are weird at work right now. Teams that have always been able to meet in person are learning how to work distributed around their city. Add a layer of personal stress to the mix and it’s understandable we’re not all doing our best work all the time. But now is a great opportunity to foster collaboration and make your team stronger. 

    While you’re adjusting to working remotely, intentionally overcommunicate. Make a point to keep your team in the loop for everything you’re doing (including the fun stuff, like what you’re having for lunch or what podcasts you’re enjoying). You’ll set a good example, ensure balls don’t get dropped, and feel more connected to your colleagues.

  6. Am I getting and giving consistent recognition?

    We’re alone and toiling away at work, and we have to wonder: Is anyone noticing? Teams that aren’t used to remote life are also not used to celebrating wins when they’re not visible. But recognition is even more important during this moment; people should be noticed for their ability to adapt and excel. Lead the way and highlight your colleagues for the great work they’re doing.

    Spend some time answering these questions and make a plan that puts those answers into motion. This may be a temporary situation, but it’s an opportunity to make permanent improvements to your working style and your team’s productivity. Share your plans with colleagues and make a point to keep these changes going when you’re back in the office. You’re probably exercising more self-care right now than you would in “normal” times — you may find that the new tactics you’re trying, including this daily reflection, continue to serve you well long beyond this acute moment.

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