As we move from one week to the next in a nation-wide lock down, I was forced to shift my perspective to re-evaluate my life and the things that impact my life. When, due to the impact of Covid-19, I started working from home about 3 weeks ago, the first few days felt like a breeze – getting to spend time at home, being able choose my working hour – everything had a warm, fuzzy feeling.
However, soon enough the fuzzy feeling was replaced by flooding notes on tips to effectively work from home, tips to manage time, tips to create a workstation, etc. Seemingly, a lot of us were finding it difficult to manage work remotely or connect with our teams.
I was also spending a lot of my time absorbing news of the Covid-19 impact, which more than contributing to enhanced awareness, worked to add to my sense of fear and frustration. I connected with some friends during this time to see how they were coping, only to find that most of them were either bored to death or panicking due to the looming uncertainty.
On one hand, my team was very supportive – making sure that we connect and communicate every single day, while on the other hand, I was losing my mind due to technical issues with the internet speed and laptop’s camera (can’t connect virtually without a camera.) Due to the undecided timelines or certainty of the situation, I felt lost.
I decided to focus on things that were still going well. Habitually, I have had a tendency to try and control things that impact me. From small things like how the dishes are placed in my kitchen, to where the TV’s remote is kept. Thus, naturally, for me the uncertainty of our present and even foreseeable future was a shift I could not bear.
It’s not like I do not know that one should only focus on things that one can control, that there will always be some things that are beyond our circle of influence or control and that it is futile to focus on those. But, especially in times like now, how do you explain this to your mind?
That’s when I decided to take back control.
I created an action plan for myself. My action plan included –
It is relatively easy to stay focused on work because you have a team keeping you on track. In our company, we emphasise on regular check-in’s, both at the start of the day and at the end of each day to keep everyone on track.
Each day, we are simply required to commit to certain things that we will work on – at the start of the day and what we were able to accomplish – at the end of each day. Thankfully, this does not just involve endless reports and dashboards but some self-improvement goals like reading and writing too.
The areas involving -self and -relationships needed a bit more personal initiative as there was no one monitoring that. Also, there is no tangible scale to measure them against, so keeping at it could be difficult. I am grateful to have friends and family that keep reminding me that this too shall pass. I spend more time talking with them and limit my time with those who are still trying to adapt to the new normal.
Speaking of the new normal, there are so many things that now having seen the light of the day – like employers realizing that work from home is actually possible, that even for the most socially awkward introverts social interaction matters, the realisation that we under-value our house help, don’t optimally use technology, and the likes of it, seem to be here to stay.
Thus, with the current flow of events, what keeps me going is a simple question –
Am I better than what I was before? Have I progressed in life?
The answer is always ‘Yes.’ The truth is that we tend to forget how far we have come. You could have picked up a new skill or may have given up a bad habit – most of which was made possible due to a change – a possible change in job, a job position, a new role, a new friend or a new life event – most of which we don’t pause to appreciate.
I pause today to appreciate that amidst this world-wide Covid-19 crisis, I got a chance to be closer to my husband and my two adorable dogs. I have started noticing the small things that my husband does for me, making every day slightly better. It is even delightful to experience the Gurgaon air, now that the pollution levels have gone down. Another thing I feel grateful for, is to be a part of a team that has always encouraged me to do great. Over all, I am truly grateful to get a chance to spend time learning new skills and have a chance at re-evaluating my life while I still can.
What are you doing to embrace the new normal?