During this period of extreme uncertainty, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed in the mornings.
You may be stressed about your relationship, finances, job stability or all three and the weight of the world makes it hard to face the day.
As tempting as it may be to wallow, waste away and be weary right now, I would strongly advise against these temptations.
This is the exact right time to level up.
The world is never going to go back to the way it was.
We are silly if we are sitting here, waiting for things to go back to normal. Nothing is ever going to go back to normal after this. This crisis is going to force us to change everything about how we live, from how we travel, work, socialize and spend our free time.
Nothing will be returning back to status quo and that is amazing.
Change is good. Change can make things better. Change can make us better. Change can bring us closer together.
This is a great opportunity to be on the cusp of new emerging trends and be one of the creative, ambitious and forward-thinking leaders of tomorrow.
You can help lead your colleagues, friends, family and self into a new world by seeing this time as a precious opportunity.
You get to hibernate away and finally have the time to do all of the things which you have always wanted to do. Think about what you did not like about your life before this happened and start applying ways to ensure you do not go back into those ruts once this problem has a solution.
When you think about your job and how you are currently working versus how you use to work, what does the ideal future look like?
Scrutinize your organization and roles, see if you can draft up how what is being learned during the crisis and how it can be used in the future to streamline processes. Start drafting arguments for a new workplace design because the way of the old was clearly not working and leaders are interested and excited to learn and improve. See how you can be a leader in your organization and how your positive outlook and ability to find the good in a bad situation will be beneficial to your career path.
Where are you wasting time?
Are you spending too much time on social media? Too much time in front of the television? Too much time in bed?
This is the perfect time to zero in on your biggest vices and rid yourself of them. We need to start seeing how beneficial this lockdown lifestyle really is and how we can improve from it.
If you are spending too much time on social media, delete the apps from your phone before you go to bed and try not to download them again for at least twenty-four hours. See where you spend your time when it is not being wasted scrolling.
If you are spending too much time watching television, challenge yourself to not turn on the set until at least noon and see how this behaviour changes your day. Each day you will realize that you will stop feeling so tempted by tube time and you will start filling your day with things of greater value.
If you are spending too much time in bed, try to get a routine going again. Who knows how long we are going to be in this situation for and I think we can all agree that the no rules, all fun portion of quarantine has run its course.
It is time to make your time meaningful.
Start each day off on the right track.
Create a structure to your day. Create a structure for your house and dedicate certain areas for certain tasks. Vow to wake up at a decent time (whatever that is for you) and spend the first four hours of your day doing good work. Whether that is a workout, healthy breakfast, household cleanup and reading or meditation, working from home and a run around the block, make the morning count. If after those rigorous first four hours you go back to bed, do not beat yourself up. Aim to spend five productive hours the next day and see how it goes.
How are you socializing and making positive connections with others?
Let’s quit bickering with our spouses, yelling at the dog and complaining to our friends via text. We need to see this time as an opportunity where we can learn, grow and improve. Let’s quit looking at how everyone around us is driving us crazy with their lazy, selfish ways and start seeing how we can be better for ourselves and others each day.
Start acting like the person you want to live with. Stop telling people what you want to see from them and show them positive behaviours to mimic instead.
Think about who you do not miss seeing and speaking to every day or on a regular basis.
Maybe your colleague Karen, with her morning rant of how much she hates her job, was not as harmless as you once thought. Perhaps without that negative outlook on your job each morning you are finding more purpose in what you do.
How about the lack of Friday night drinks with your friends? Who do you not miss? Why? This is a really good time to foster and strengthen the friendships which lift you up and to disassociate from the ones you may be realizing were bringing you down.
Make effort with the individuals who inspire, excite and promote good things. Foster connections with individuals who you may have been meaning to get to know better. A simple way to open a line of communication is by sending an email or direct message to the person you wish to know better, asking how they are doing during this difficult time.
Plan at least one virtual social get together a week.
This is the perfect time to connect with that old college friend you are always meaning to call or your favourite aunty, who you rarely get to see. Make sure you are setting up social engagements that are beneficial and motivating. Socialize with people who build you up and are able to see the positive points in our current situation. We are strongly influenced by those we spend the most time with, so choose those people wisely.
How are you taking care of yourself? How are you not taking care of yourself?
Spend this way to research and plan out positive changes to your everyday life, which you can bring with you to the next chapter of your life. Not everything that works for someone else is going to seamlessly integrate into your own unique journey, but this is the perfect time to test out methods, reflect on how you feel with positive integrations into your day and what you wish to carry with you forward.
Each morning list three things and people you are grateful for in your journal. Next, write down a positive affirmation for the day. Make the day a great day before it even begins by believing it will be a great day. Focus on controlling your emotions and find simple tools to utilize when you feel your frustrations rise.
Perhaps you start taking the dog for a stroll around the block every few hours, just to get some alone time, clear your head and reflect on how you feel. Maybe you sit on the sundeck each morning with a cup of coffee and simply observe life around you for the first thirty minutes of the day. Or try something completely unique which works for you.
Instead of promising to be perfect tomorrow, or vowing to make next week the week, you become your best self, try to integrate small changes into each day, starting today.
Have a cup of green tea, instead of that fourth cup of coffee. Read one page of a book, before you scroll through your Instagram feed. Do ten squats before you open the fridge. Make your challenges small enough that they are not too overwhelming to do.
Take a good look at your finances, past, present and (plan for the) future.
Where were you spending way too much money and are saving now? Where are you spending too much money still? Where would you like to stop excessive spending in the future?
Maybe you bought a coffee every morning before work and now you are making daily use of your previously dusty old coffee maker. How does saving that five dollars a day feel? What should you do with this extra money? Maybe start intentionally moving five dollars into a savings account each day and watch it grow.
Perhaps you have always wanted to learn how to invest some of your money. This is the perfect time to research the best options for your lifestyle, income and final goals. You could schedule a phone appointment with a banker, accountant or broker to learn where you could save money monthly.
The most important area to level up in is your mind. What are your negative thought patterns? What is the self-imposed prison you live in?
Pay attention to how you speak to yourself or about yourself and try to change negative thought patterns by replacing them with positive ones. If you are constantly telling yourself you are not healthy, probe into why you think that about yourself. Find simple steps you can start taking today to help change this self-limiting belief. Maybe you are someone who always feels victimized by others. Start laying out how you can be in more control of your life and stop blaming others for your own circumstance.
By replacing negative thoughts and opinions about ourselves with positive ones, everything else you hope to accomplish with be infinitely easier to do.
Who knows if this will last another week, month or year, but all I can say is regardless of the length of time, it is the quality of the minutes which matter.
Let’s not throw away 2020 as a wasted year because of (some) restrictions and changes to our daily routine. The current state of the world is going to change our world forever, so we need to learn to be flexible, adaptable and positive in order to be successful through the tough times and the times to come.
We can either hide away and blame this virus for why we are not successful, our best selves or unhappy or we can find the value in this challenging situation, learn from it and challenge ourselves to be better with every new day we are lucky enough to be living.