Image to convey stress

Many working professionals have spent years crafting a carefully balanced weekly routine that enables them to complete competing priorities like a professional baseball player rounds the bases on a home run hit, with ease. Unexpected changes can wreak havoc on that carefully crafted efficiency like someone parking a school bus between second and 3rd base at that ballpark. The necessary social responses to Coronavirus such as school & office closures, event cancellations, reduced community services, “social distancing” policies, depleted supermarkets, and closures to outlets including gyms, restaurants, and wineries have left countless people feeling a steep toll on their productivity and an increased sense of isolation. 

Here are 5 Easy To Apply Strategies To Realign Work & Life During Unexpected Change

  1. Accept the Change: It may sound contrite but allowing yourself to reset your expectation for what can be successfully accomplished based on the new set of circumstances is not only important, it helps to further reduce compounding stress you would likely encounter if you were to insist on trying to maintain your normal weekly goals. By accepting that your schedule has been altered and carefully reprioritizing your “to do” list, you give yourself the opportunity to reset expectations of those around you. That shift in expectation can help reduce stress. 
  2. Set a New Schedule: Once you have redefined your weekly priorities, it’s important that you adjust your schedule to focus on the low effort and high impact tasks that you can realistically accomplish in light of the new change-related circumstances. Although you may be able to handle 20 things before 12:00 in your standard routine, you may find yourself facing unexpected delays during times of uncertainty. Time-blocking your day/week will allow you to evaluate and readjust your goals as you learn more about how the changes truly impact your efficiency. By setting a new schedule that is achievable you’ll continue to feel security, which supports your well-being.
  3. Communicate Early and Often: Once you set your schedule, let your friends and family know how that change in your priorities will impact their access to you. Just as you have been accustomed to a routine, your community also has a cadence and expectations for how they interact with you. It will help you if you proactively let them in on your new goals and help them to understand how to get your help when they truly need it. 
  4. Ask For the Help You Need: Changing priorities means something has to give. Some of the tasks you typically accomplish in a week may be able to be put-off to a time when life is less stressful but, there may be other tasks that are urgent and important but don’t fit neatly into a revised schedule. It is ok to seek support from your co-workers, spouse, children, friends and even from gig services (if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford those solutions.) In times of challenge our colleagues, friends, family, and communities often want to know clear and direct ways they can be of help.  
  5. Accept the Help that is Offered: Those of us who have strong routines also often have methods in which we are used to accomplishing the tasks we typically get done. Remember it is okay to be specific when asking for help but, it is also important to be flexible when getting assistance. Know that someone who is helping may not approach the task in the same manner that you would approach it. Empowering that person to take ownership of the task and handle it in their perceived best way will both fully release you from the stress related to the activity and leave them more open to helping you in the future. You may even learn and adopt a new, more efficient way of getting a task done through this process.