Is it time to start planning? Have you been in a holding pattern?
Like many, I was waiting to see what the announcement on Sunday would bring. And with that, the intention of establishing how to plan for the new world, at least for the next six weeks.
Yes, things can change. Yet plans can be as loose, or tight, as we choose. They can also allow for some known potential changes, or be adapted, accordingly. Without any planning we can sometimes drift.
Our plans can include our places, people, and pastimes.
We know it is going to be a while before our work environments, networking, social gatherings, activities, or travel, come close to being, once more, that which we want them to be. It can therefore help us mentally, to plan ahead for some useful outcomes, and to feel more in control of what our immediate future will look like.
It may be that you have already been very organised, have set a clear routine, and have already been strategic with what you have been doing and proactive with future activities. It may be you are in holding pattern of activities until this is all over.
Indeed, not everyone needs or wants to plan ahead. Perhaps, you still don’t have the energy right now (whilst allowing for the fact sometimes a bit of routine and fresh air can help improve energy – you do you).
However, if you are thinking that you would like to be more proactive, or strategic, about the next (say) six weeks. Here are a few ideas that might help:
Taking into account the number of adults and children in your home, and any activities, or privacy needed. Are there:
1. Any physical spaces (if at all possible) that need changing, or adding to, tweaking (even if only for a while), or decorating. So to reduce space or activity conflict between people and allow for whatever activities are needed right now. Be it working, or exercise space, or tv watching by different people in different areas.
Even if it feels tough and you want it all to go back, to how it was in your home, asap. Is there anything you can accept right now, to make it easier for people to work, play, relax, have alone time (some of your family may need more alone time than others), or allow people to do different activities concurrently?
It can also help to allocate space for a particular activity. For example, if you work in the lounge, it can help to designate the sofa for relaxing, the temporary desk, for working, for example.
Our environments make a big difference to our wellbeing.
Taking into account where people are spending most their time, what can they see? How can privacy be created? A screen, a painting (or kids’ pictures), a window, decluttering, or some DIY? It all adds up.
Look up from where you are, and look around you. Could you do anything to make it calmer, more energising, clearer. Whatever you need? What about others?
2. Any personal space, time, or other family boundaries, or routines, that need tweaking, letting go of, setting or reaffirming? What about regular family meetings, would that be a useful addition?
3. Any new activities the family, or you, want to undertake, within the new rules, that feels safe. Or a new mix that gives everyone a chance to do something they enjoy.
4. Any changes to your wider home arrangements. Be it moving back to your home, or starting a temporary (as in for the immediate future) cohabiting arrangement with a friend, or more significant personal relationship related changes.
Family & Social Circles
How will this change going forward?
1. It may be that you want to increase your online calls, it may be you want to reduce them. It may be you want them to be less spontaneous, or more spontaneous. Or change the times. What do you want?
2. Who do you want to speak with. Again, you may already be very clear about your contacts. However, you can also take a moment to jot down those that you want to speak with weekly, monthly, occasionally. You can then keep that list visible, diarise it. Or set a day each week that will be a communication day, to look through your phone and reach out. This can help prevent us from suddenly realising we haven’t spoken to someone in far too long.
3. Given the possibility for walks with people at two metres. Do you want to start doing that, or other activities, now available? How safe do you feel doing that, and how do you want to limit it, if at all.
Or thinking ahead, with the possibility of outdoor cafe’s opening in the future, what boundaries might you want to apply?
Making decisions in advance can help us not only plan what we might want to do. It also means we can plan ahead as to how we might decline invites from certain people, should they invite us, with what our decision is.
Work & Career
For business owners or similar, who are now planning a return for employees. That is a topic in itself, and many have been planning to an extent, for some time. Focusing therefore on those who are working from home, are less busy, or are furloughed. Is there anything you want to start being more strategic or proactive about, such as:
1. Becoming more selective with which events or webinars you attend, or courses you sign up to. Being more strategic with a specific goal or outcome in mind. What specifically do you want to learn, and why? It could involve researching a bit deeper, beyond webinars, or free courses, already in your awareness. Be it personal, behavioural, or professional skills.
2. Choosing networking groups. Since physical networking is no longer possible, if you aren’t already, could it be useful to commit to regularly attending a few online networking events?
3. If you are now in the position that you will be returning to work, you may be considering how that will work. What changes can you make that will make you, and your family, more comfortable with the arrangements. Alongside how you still continue to support each other, and enjoy the family closeness.
4. Do you need any help or support, be it internal or external mentoring, coaching, or otherwise, for your current role to feel more confident, stand out, or if you are changing direction. Whether on furlough, working from home, or being back at work physically.
Exercise & Wellbeing
As already mentioned, new activities are now available. Some people have been moving or exercising in the same, or different ways. Others relaxing. Looking forward, what feels good to you taking into account:
1. Spontaneity or structure. Would creating more of a structure, around whatever you do for physical movement, help or hinder? Whether that includes times of day, frequency over a fortnight, a habit tracker, or something else (pick an activity out of a jar each day, for example).
2. What other wellbeing, or just for you, activities do you want to choose or change? How can you best protect time for them? Be it meditation, sound healing sessions, laughter yoga, coffee in silence, reading a book, walks on your own, a bath. How can you support that happening regularly?
3. Fun time! Is there anything not already covered that needs to be added for fun?
Whilst a lot of this is covered above, is there anything else that will make you feel better in yourself?
1. Do you need some extra emotional support, be it friends, family, or a professional?
2. What else?
Whilst it isn’t about spending to make our inner selves happy. We know, for example, we feel better if we dress differently. Even an upgrade in jogging trousers, for example, can make a difference to wearing our old scruffy ones. Showering at a different time. Flowers in the house. Dressing up for dinner with the family once a week. Take a moment to brainstorm all the things that could make you feel better in you and pick one (or more). Or maybe something different each week.
Bringing It All Together
The next step, from your list of ideas, is to have the necessary conversations, change what you can change, and plan ahead to make some arrangements. Hopefully ending up with a bit more space, focus, fun, and structure to get what you want , or need, to be moved forward or completed.
If you have any other suggestions, do let me know!