When you’re in the middle of a major crisis or face an unusual transition or situation, it might feel as if it will never end. As humans, it’s in our nature to focus on fear and make up negative scenarios in our head. With so much negative news floating around, it can seem hard to stay focused or grounded on the task at hand. Many of us may feel unproductive and at a loss on how to move forward.
Here are five ways to stay grounded and create more productivity in your personal and professional life.
Create New Routines
In a time of crisis, creating new routines and rituals is often helpful. For example, if you’re asked to work from home and your kids are home from school as well, you’ll need to factor in time that you need to spend with them and plan meetings accordingly. Time management is key to maintaining a productive workday from home. Consider scheduling your time in blocks with frequent breaks to help manage your emotions.
Prioritize and Delegate
Recognize that your productivity potential will likely be lower during times of crisis. So make the best enhance your productivity by prioritizing your tasks. Create to-do lists and prioritize the most important tasks first. Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix is an effective tool to prioritize tasks by evaluating their urgency and importance. Other productivity and team and project management tools such as Google Docs, Slack and Trello, as well as scheduling tasks on your calendar can be immensely beneficial to help prioritize your day. Delegating tasks to others can also be helpful. Look to your team and support system for assistance when possible, rather than trying to conquer everything on your own.
When you are under a large amount of stress, it can be easy to forget about the importance of taking care of yourself. Stress saps our energy and contributes to fatigue, negative thinking, and distressing emotions, including anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, self-pity, and depression. In times of crisis, people tend to be more vulnerable and self-care may be more important than ever. Do your best to take good care of yourself. Remember to eat healthy foods, exercise, and take time to rest. There are many methods and practices that can help you manage and reduce your level of stress. All of these represent tools to help you self-calm. Self-calming practices generally combine intentional breathing and focused attention to help relax and quiet the mind and the body, which in turn reverses the negative effects of stress.
Look Out For Opportunities
President John F. Kennedy once remarked that crisis yields opportunities. If you’re stuck at home or projects are not moving forward or if the business has been forced to slow down, view this as an opportunity to do something new or tackle something that has been on your to-do list but you just haven’t found time to do. Clean out that closet that you always wanted to, try out new recipes, connect with that friend whom you’ve lost touch with, take online courses to develop new skills, simply find ways to enjoy more time with family or self-reflect.
Help Someone Else
You might find that when you focus on others’ problems or help tackle their challenges, suddenly your own problems seem small and insignificant. It’s a shift in perspective that has remarkable effects. In times of crisis, remember that we’re all in it together. Reach out to a neighbor, friend, colleague and check on them. Not only will it help them, but it will make you more connected with others and thereby ground you.