Nothing makes you appreciate your sense of smell like getting a cold. You take for granted your ability to taste your food… until everything tastes like nothing. The first day your sense of smell returns, even a bland salad is delicious.
Stability is one of those qualities that you can’t fully appreciate until it’s threatened. Enter: a global pandemic, and months and months of constant uncertainty. Haven’t you found yourself daydreaming wistfully about the relative stability of 2019?
A lot of people had hopes that things would become more stable and predictable when the vaccine rollout began, but that hasn’t entirely happened. With the Delta variant and other variants continuing to spread, we find ourselves at the start of another busy fall—and there are still so many question marks hanging over us.
It’s hard to find stability when it seems like the ground could shift under your feet at any time. And that means that everything else is hard, including productivity and time management.
More Stability = Better Time Management and Productivity
Stability can be critically important across your life. Your sleep, mental health and relationships can all be negatively affected when you’re uncertain and worried about what will happen next. It’s also really hard to focus on work, be productive and practice good time management when things feel unstable around you.
A lot of the factors creating instability in our lives are outside our control right now, but there’s a lot that’s within your control. Look for stability in these three places this fall.
1. Scheduled Down Time
When your to-do list just keeps expanding instead of shrinking, taking down time can feel like a radical act. You might even feel guilty about spending a Sunday afternoon in front of Netflix or taking a long bike ride when there are so many other important things you could be doing.
Right now is the perfect time to really lean into embracing your down time and claiming this time for yourself without guilt. Everyone is burned out. The relaxing post-COVID summer we had hoped for turned out to be just more stress for some people. Claiming your down time—being intentional about reserving that time for yourself without guilt—helps you prevent further burnout, and creates pockets of predictability in your week. There might be a lot of uncertainty around your calendar right now, but you can count on having fun during your scheduled down time.
2. A Flexible Time Map
The more unpredictable your life or the world gets, the more comfort you may find in a flexible time map that lets you visualize your week. It can be a tremendously useful tool for time management.
Using a time map allows you to make space for all the things that have to get done. It leaves plenty of space open for things that come up as the week progresses. See your entire week’s schedule at a glance and be reassured by all the white space; no matter what life throws at you, you’ll have some time set aside to deal with it.
3. A Connection Plan
If I asked you to name people whose support you really value, I bet you could list at least five right away. They might be family members, friends, professional mentors, team members, people you’ve met through your faith community. Whatever role they serve in your life, these are the people who have your back, and who support you emotionally. The people who you want to talk to when you’re having a bad day because you know you’ll feel better and more hopeful by the end of the conversation.
Do you connect with those people often? When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with each of them?
Busy Professionals Are Busy!
Nurturing those important, supportive relationships with friends and professional contacts isn’t at the top of the to-do list a lot of the time. Suddenly months have gone by since you last spoke to your old mentor or lifelong best friend.
Making a connection plan lets you be intentional about how often you’re actually accessing that useful support. It might mean scheduling monthly phone calls with a few different people. Or creating an alternating schedule so you’re reaching out to a different person each week. However it looks for you, creating a connection plan means that getting the support you need isn’t a task that falls through the cracks, even when your schedule is packed.
I’m also here to be a source of help and stability this fall.
Worried about how you’re going to put these steps into action? Or how you’ll carve out the time and space you need for an enjoyable fall?
I’m here for you! A one-on-one Strategy Session can help you understand what’s possible for you, how we can help, and get you clear on your next best move to get a grip on your time.
Happy fall—and enjoy your down time!
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