In my first week of self-isolation during the coronavirus, I found it challenging to set up a new routine. I am self-employed and was already accustomed to working at home so it surprised me that it seemed difficult to create a schedule that felt satisfying. My focus was scattered because I was anxious and discombobulated.
One of the reasons that I found myself struggling to adjust to a new normal was mental and emotional overwhelm. Since the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, I had no past experience to draw upon. Each day I wondered if I was dreaming. I had to process the new reality of the world and develop acceptance while simultaneously calming my anxiety.
I discovered early in the week that I was too ambitious with a list of what I wanted to accomplish. I truly needed to slow down. Instead of having a long to-do list, I decided to focus on three items each day.
Here is an example of areas one could pick for a 30-60 minute time slot each day:
- Clean and declutter: Pick an area of your home to deep clean or declutter. Create a zone for items you decide not to keep. Set up boxes or bags to donate or sell later. Place useless items in trash or recycle bins. Keep only items you love and use.
- Read and learn: Choose a book to read. Enroll in an online class or program. Learn about a topic of interest. Develop a new skill or hobby. Take an exercise class. Try a new recipe.
- Create and organize: Write a book or keep a journal. Tidy up messes in your life. Digitize photos and make physical albums or scrapbooks. Become an artist or hone your abilities of something you used to do before you got busy in the outside world.
Make a list of three items that you consider productive or important to you. After you check off those tasks each day, engage in self-care, entertainment and connections with those you love. Keep your to-do list short and simple. You have time now to chip away at projects you previously considered daunting. If not now, when? Begin today to do the things you had previously postponed to some time in the future.
Also consider creating a piece of paper or notecard entitled “Accomplishments and Completions”. List items you finish during this time. Items can be personal and trivial such as books read or a part of your home that you decluttered or cleaned. Entries can also be significant such as creating or updating a Will and Estate Plan. Check out a previous blog post I wrote about Getting Your Affairs in Order.
Lastly, allow yourself a guilt free day off each week. Some people call it Sabbath. Give yourself a day of rest with no to-do list. Just do whatever you want or nothing at all.