So, many of us are currently operating in situations that are less than ideal. For some, the lines between weekdays and weekends, and daytime and evening have become blurred.
To mix things up a bit I build something I call an anchor into my days.
The Daily Anchor
You could call this a ritual or a routine or even a new habit. This anchor is a way to keep you grounded.
Because work from home burnout can become real...especially during a pandemic when we're at home for long stretches at a time, think about whether you might benefit from some anchoring.
We all have anchors, they're the things that provide us with a sense of stability and security every day. They're unique to us and might look like our beliefs, traditions, the people we see each day, objects, the way we do or view things. We likely have some professional and personal anchors.
For instance, grabbing a coffee on the drive to work, saying hello to the security guard on the way up to the office, walking the dog on our lunch break, the plants we water every Friday, calling our mom on Sunday evenings, family dinners.
Much like an anchor in the literal sense, the things that anchor us aren't always obvious or easily seen. We might not realize how much they contribute to our sense of security until they're disrupted somehow. For many of us, that disruption took us by storm in March and has left us feeling untethered ever since.
What Are Your Anchors?
People: Identify the people in your life that provide you with a sense of support, stability and security.
Beliefs: What can you believe to help instill a sense of stability and security?
Traditions: What are the traditions in your life that provide you with a sense of stability and security?
Things: What are the things in your life that provide you with a sense of stability and security?
Ways of Doing: What are the ways of doing in your life that provide you with a sense of stability and security? (e.g. following a schedule, working at a desk etc.)
Ways of Being: What are the ways of being in your life that provide you with a sense of stability and security? (e.g. I am a leader).
Take a good look at these areas. Are you able to identify any anchors that have been lost or that have shifted? Pick one area that feels the most important. Don't try to make adjustments all at once. Start with awareness and see if there's a small shift you can make in one area over the next week (e.g. going for a short walk before starting your work day).
Aside from feeling a general sense of lack of grounding, I'm also hearing about what sounds to me like virtual burnout from folks. Too many hours a day on Zoom is taking it's toll. I thought I'd offer a few tips in case you're suffering from this:
1. Get your priorities straight: If you can, be strategic about the meetings you attend. Folks are telling me they are scheduling back-to-back Zoom meetings with barely a break in between to pee or grab a drink of water. This isn't a good idea with in person meetings and it's not a good idea with virtual meetings.
2. Shut your video off: Sometimes it's just too. much. stimulation.
3. Take regular and micro-breaks! Set a timer or get a dog. Either of these will remind you that you can't sit for hours upon hours staring at your screen. I remember working in an office many years ago and probably would've stayed half the night if it wasn't for the nightly cleaners that would start vacuuming around me. If you're at home and not accountable to anyone it's too easy to work too much. Pay attention to this!
4. Unplug: You need time each day to unwind. Even if it's just to your back yard. Set some boundaries, know your limits. Things can get murky fast, meaning it can get tricky to shut work off when we're working from home. I know it's even trickier if you have kids that need your attention and care throughout what would be your normal working hours. The temptation will be to work evening and night to make up for the loss of productivity. If you do this, be intentional about it. Set specific work hours even if you work a "split shift" in order to balance your obligations.
Finally, with all of this realize that you are human, not a machine. None of us are doing this perfectly. Try to find a balance that works for you.