Overnight we gained numerous new jobs. Now we’re forced to work out how to uphold them all. We became leaders of entirely remote workforces and inherited the responsibility for homeschooling our kids on a curriculum that oftentimes blows our own minds. We transformed into kitchen whizzes, responsible for making what feels like a million meals a day. And we morphed into personal trainers, with yoga mats sprawled across the living room floor and dozens of virtual workout classes on every screen.
With so many plates spinning, something is inevitably going to drop. And more times than not, the thing to fall first is our sanity.
After two months inside, I’m yet to perfect this delicate balancing act, but I have adopted a few practices that have helped me stay on top of three main areas of my life – family, business and team, and myself.
Lists for all
List making is something I’ve always done – choosing to start my day by writing down priorities for the hours ahead. Since my daughter’s school closed, I have encouraged her to follow this practice – building lists each morning to tackle the work she needs to get through that day.
This helps her to keep focused (because let’s be honest, at the age of nine all she wants to be doing is playing outside with her friends right now), and provides me with the peace of mind to know that she continues to make good progress through her syllabus.
The blessing of technology
It’s been a lot remembering my own meetings, let alone my daughter’s. I’ve had her tell Alexa what she has on for that day and then remind her when her next class is about to commence. Not only does this take some of the pressure off me to remember everything on her schedule, but empowers my daughter to become more accountable for her day and her attendance.
Laughter is the best…
It may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie. I really believe in the power of laughter to make everything better. There’s so much uncertainty and tension at the moment and nothing soothes the mind and body better than belly-aching laughter.
My daughter is one of my greatest sources of humor. Unbeknown to our whole family, last week she discovered some water balloons in our house in San Diego and before we knew it, they were all full of water and she was pelting them at me across the front yard. It’s those moments that break up the day and reconnect us with emotions outside of panic and worry.
When this is all over, we don’t want to look back and only remember this period as one of immense stress and tension. Nor do we want to remember it by the endless Zoom calls. Instead, those magic moments of laughter will help us look back and think “it wasn’t all bad”.
Business + team:
For the first time ever, I am now running a remote workforce and while as a company we were already set up for success tech-wise, it can be hard to maintain both focus and motivation for the team as the weeks go on and on. Everyone is at different stages in their acceptance of the current climate and while some people may have found ease, we must remember there are others who still find this new routine challenging emotionally.
Our weekly team meeting at the start of the week allows us to set the stage for the week ahead and build excitement for the work we are doing, which provides many of us with purpose in life. The agenda is always the same: what are the problems we are trying to solve for the people we service and what are the four things we do in order to deliver this? Setting those key objectives gets everyone on the same page and keeps us on track for the remainder of the week.
Re-write the business playbook
There’s no manual for this type of working practices. The only thing we can be sure of is that being malleable and moving quickly really matters. At Liveli, we are constantly asking ourselves how we can best serve our community and optimally impact their overall health and wellness. A lot of the things we are working on right now were not in the original plan – but we believe meet the evolved needs of our community and therefore are our responsibility. These things aren’t necessarily easy – but they are right – and at the moment in business, that’s what we must focus on.
Collaboration is king
Now’s the time to work with everyone you can work with. Talk to people. Pick their brains and listen to their weird and wonderful suggestions. This is a period when people are more inclined to look out for one another and welcome new human interactions. We are looking into collaborating with other like-minded brands right now and I’m leaning on friends in the industry and mentors to help me make sense of it all.
Working around the clock has always been easy for me – but this should not be the best practice that I show to my team. Boundaries are important for those that look up to you, and also for yourself. It’s easier than ever at the moment to get burnt out and not realize until it’s too late.
I speak to many people who, like me, say that boundaries are hard to create because they have running minds. Even when I force myself to switch off, sitting on the sofa turns into a solo brainstorm in my head. So I have found ways to refocus my mind so that it doesn’t have the freedom to wonder. I walk, I cook something new from scratch, I create a scavenger hunt in my local area as a family activity. I re-channel my brain power into something else – something not work related – and that’s how I build my barriers.
With cortisol levels higher than normal, nourishment through eating and drinking well is a no brainer for maintaining optimum health so you can perform at your best.
I have always loved greens and would pack my meals full of the leafiest ones I could find. Nowadays, I’ve also made a post-lunch supergreen and CBD shake a constant on the calendar. This ritual not only means I’m getting lots of good stuff into my body, but it also provides an afternoon brain break that lets me reset when I would normally be starting to experience an afternoon dip.
Getting the zzzs
Gone are the days when bragging about only getting five hours of sleep was impressive. We all know now that sleep is such a core part of wellness and that going without it can severely disrupt your overall health and wellness.
I’m a slave to the eight hours. It doesn’t matter what time I get to bed – it can be 10pm or 2am – I will always ensure that eight hours of shut eye happens. Without it, I can’t function properly. I am less productive, more forgetful, and more likely to drop some of those numerous plates spinning wildly out of control.
Everyday we wake up with the opportunity to approach our day anew. Try not to let the tension of the times overpower your mind and guiding intuition. Take a deep breath and lean into it as best you can. It’s not always we can enjoy lunch with our families amidst a busy work day. It’s oftentimes a question of perception, our time in isolation— it’s not always easy to stay positive, but it’s most definitely worth it to try.