Do you ever watch your pet stare off into space and want desperately to know what they’re thinking about? The answer is probably “nothing” or maybe “treats,” but what your pet isn’t thinking about is tomorrow, or next week. (Just one more thing to envy about that sleepy bundle of joy!)
Being able to anticipate what’s coming down the road has always been important for humans. We can’t protect ourselves from things we can’t predict, and we understand the possible consequences when things don’t go according to plan. We get anxious when things are uncertain and outside of our control. So if you’re looking ahead to this fall and worrying that the spread of the Delta variant means things are going to change again… well, they might. Businesses and schools in your area might close again. Or they might not. Events you’re planning to attend might get cancelled, or they might go off without a hitch. It’s impossible to know at this point.
The key to getting through this next phase of the pandemic is to accept that things are going to stay unpredictable. You’re going to need to have a time management plan that works even when things are this uncertain.
Time Management Tips for Maximizing Certainty
As long as things feel uncertain, you can expect time management and productivity challenges to feel heightened too. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything on your plate when you feel like the ground is constantly shifting under you. But you don’t have to live in a state of confusion or chaos just because there’s chaos in the world. Take action to improve your time management so you’re in control of your time, no matter what’s going on around you.
- Have a visual weekly plan. If you know me at all, you know that I am a loud and enthusiastic proponent of weekly planning. Whether you use a paper planner, an app or some other strategy is up to you—but your weekly plan needs to be something you can lay your eyes on. Not only is this critically important for keeping things from falling through the cracks, but it can also be really reassuring when things start to feel overwhelming or too uncertain. Your weekly plan not only maps out when the essential things will get done, it also helps you make sure you have at least 24 hours of uninterrupted time off from work each week. Having time off to unwind and disconnect from work stress is critical, especially when you’re coping with so much life stress too.
- Create backup plans and alternatives wherever possible. Knowing that you have backup plans in place can be a huge relief in times of uncertainty. Maybe you won’t be able to do the big family Thanksgiving this year—if that happens, what else might you do to make the holiday special? Maybe your child or someone else in your household will get COVID and you’ll all have to quarantine—what can you do now to make sure your team in the office wouldn’t be left in the lurch if you went remote or took time off with no notice?
- Reflect on your priorities and progress. Are you taking care of the things that matter the most to you? Maybe you’ve let some things drop since the pandemic started, or have been too busy to work on the side projects that you keep meaning to get to. But are you still making progress on the goals that are aligned with your peak priorities? Have you still had wins and accomplishments recently? (Yes, you have!) Taking stock of the big picture makes it easier to put the short-term struggles into context.
- Ask for the support you need. Pandemic struggles didn’t end when the vaccine rollout began. The stress is real, and just because it’s affecting everyone doesn’t mean you need to grit your teeth and just endure it. Reach out to providers for the mental health help that you need. Create the space in your weekly plan for exercise, meditation or whatever keeps you balanced. Talk to your partner about the stressful things that are coming up over the next few weeks so they’re ready to support you through those times.
I’m always here to a source of support too.
Time Matters Boot Camp 90-Day Virtual Program helps you create the structure you need to make your fall not just manageable, but actually enjoyable—no matter what it holds. Join Time Matters Boot Camp now and get the support you need for the fall you crave. Click here for more information and to register.
Have questions about what my support might mean? Reach out to us at [email protected] and let us help you!
Whatever this fall holds, I hope it’s a wonderful one!