March 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in the blink of an eye. We are scrambling to figure out how we can continue being productive now that everything has gone virtual – everything but our kids, that is. We still have meetings, projects, emails, and calls, and yes, we now have our kids, who want and need us, at home all day, every day too.
In the past, when you daydreamed about spending less time at work so you could have more time with your family to laugh, play games and go for walks, I’m pretty sure you didn’t think that the Coronavirus was the way this would happen. After a week of togetherness, a little less time with your family and more time at work may be what you need. After all, you are still expected to be productive and effective at your job.
I have previously talked about strategies for creating a healthier work-life balance, but that was when our routines were our routine. Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak, things are different, and new routines are emerging. For this reason, I modified these 4-steps to help you have some semblance of a healthy work-life balance during this challenging time.
1. Set Boundaries: Your boundaries will vary depending upon the demands of your job and the ages of your kids. The overarching goal, however, is to be clear and direct with your employer and family about what they can expect from you and what you expect from them.
- Make sure your family knows when you cannot be interrupted (excluding emergencies, of course) and when you’ll be available to help with schoolwork and hang out.
- To the extent that it’s appropriate, let your boss and colleagues know that you are balancing work and being home with your kids and that you may have unexpected interruptions.
- If you typically spend significant amounts of time in meetings and helping others with projects that are not your responsibilities, this is an ideal time to transition your focus, time and energy to do that which is your responsibility.
2. To-Do Lists: Even if you have always worked from home, there is no denying that things are different now. Be kind to yourself and accept that during this time, your productivity may temporarily decline.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself.
- Create a Today To-Do List with the things that must be done today (personally and professionally) and add other to-dos a Master To-Do list.
- Don’t forget to include time for yourself. Self-care is essential, especially now!
3. Delegate: Now is a great time to delegate tasks that could or should have previously been completed by others. Doing so not only helps you; it allows others to learn new skills, take on more responsibility, and become more independent.
- Assign age-appropriate chores to your kids (i.e., make their bed, do their laundry, prepare dinner for the family).
- Stop holding on to work responsibilities that others can or should be doing.
- Communicate openly (at home and work) when you need help or support by asking someone else to take over a task, either temporarily or permanently.
4. Meeting For One: During the Coronavirus pandemic, this strategy is less about blocking time for yourself so that you can get work done (though still necessary) and focuses more on ensuring that you are tending to your self-care.
- Self-care is not selfish. It’s essential that you give yourself time to write, walk, meditate, exercise, or whatever you need to take care of yourself.
- Hopefully, you are enjoying the added family time but know that 24/7 togetherness can take an emotional toll on you, so regularly give yourself some space from others and when necessary (if possible).
- On the work front, allocate time for yourself so that you can be productive and meet your responsibilities.
- When possible, stagger meeting times with your partner so that one of you can be more accessible to the kids.
- Get out of the house every day! Fresh air, the sun, and moving your body are all necessary for your physical and emotional health.
- Remain connected with your friends and family. We are emotionally healthier when in contact with others, so pick up the phone or have video calls.
- Binge-watch TV shows, watch movies, play games, and read books.
- Thank the medical doctors and nurses who are putting their lives on the line for all of us right now.
- Thank everyone else who is also working hard to help us have some sense of normalcy in our lives. This includes postal workers, local restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacists, delivery services, and all the employees making this possible!
- Support your local merchants now, if possible, and as soon as they reopen.
- With every challenge comes growth. Identify yours and realize that there is always a silver lining, even when it seems like an impossibility.
These are not carefree days, but we will get through them. In the meantime, stay healthy by practicing social distancing and do your best to maintain a healthy work-life balance while at working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Get your go-to guide that’s chock full of reminders on maintaining balance. It’s perfect to pin up in your workspace. Get it here.
*If you have not yet received your free copy of the “Effectively Managing Your Workday: a 4-step system proven to help you manage your workload,” guidebook, you can download it here.