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Make The List. Work the List.

Mindful Leadership Navigation Tips for Your Days at Home

Are you still working from home? Maybe not working at the moment?  Trying to remotely connect?  Kids home all day? We are all still adjusting in different ways to the current difficult situation and life disruptions. Our tolerance, flexibility and resilience is being tested. Many of us are dealing with a lot more time at home, more time on our hands, and a loss of usual routines and daily structure. These are stressful times: many of us are dealing with worry, fear, uncertainty, rumination and procrastination.  We’re seeking distraction, perhaps watching too much online, wanting to get to those projects we now have time for and have productive days, but we’re struggling to get grounded, get moving and sustain action. 

Our 5 Mindful Leadership tips to help you better navigate your days 

1. Set your daily intention

Ask yourself: what needs to be done today? What kind of day do I want to have? What do I want to be able to say I’ve accomplished at the end of the day? Take a little time to get grounded, present, still and breathe. Set your intention, verbalize it, write it down, tell someone, put it on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Intentions are powerful!

PRACTICAL TIP:  Think about and write down some notes about a time when you were at your best, performing well, positively using your skills, and thriving. This will empower you to shift into a more positive mindset, recalling your strengths and gifts. Then set your daily intention!

2. Block out your day

If you’re not an hour-by-hour planner, that’s ok,  Consider blocking out your day with chunks of time for major tasks, work and needs.  Post your schedule so you remind yourself and inform others in your household.  For example:

  • 7 to 9:  Personal time:  exercise, mindfulness, walk, shower, breakfast, To-Do list, family check-in
  • 9 to Noon: Work time, with periodic breaks
  • 12 to 1:30:  Personal time
  • 1:30 to 2: Siesta, walk, mindfulness
  • 1:30 to 5:30: Work time, with periodic breaks
  • 5:30 to 6:30: Exercise, self-care time
  • 6:30 to 8:30: Family time, exercise, chores, making dinner
  • 8:30 to 10: Entertainment, wind down, relaxation time
  • 10 to 11: Personal time, sleep preparation time - no devices!
  • 11 pm to 7am: Sleep :)

You can also go a step further and design your day by the hour, which could look like this:

  • 9 to 10: Email time (then close the email browser so it doesn’t constantly distract you!)
  • 10 to 11: Accounts, finances, planning
  • 11 to 12: Meeting

PRACTICAL TIP:  Consider changing clothes for your work blocks - that will help shift your mindset from home time to work time, and help reinforce clear boundaries for yourself so you don’t find yourself half working all day and still doing emails at 9 pm!

3. Make a daily list and work the list

Over your morning coffee, tea or breakfast, grab a fresh piece of paper and make a list of the 10 (or less, or more) tasks you’d like to or need to accomplish today. They can be big or small tasks, or pieces of tasks, such as “spend 2 hours to continue writing proposal.” Super important: when a task is done, check it off!! You might add tasks to the list during the day, that’s ok. At the end of the day, cross off everything you partially tackled or completed - and don’t be hard on yourself if you didn’t get it all done! 

The next morning: new day, new list! What needs to get done today?  Transfer items from the previous day as needed. If the task is partially done, mark your progress with a single slash; if completely done, an X.

PRACTICAL TIP:  Make time to plan and make lists! It’s so easy to get up in the morning, feel the urge to get the day going, and before you know it, half the day is gone! Making a little time to plan goes a long way and will make your day more productive and intentional.  

4. Make and post a self-care list

Keeping up with holistic wellness practices is more important than ever.  What do you need and want to do each day to take care of yourself? Make a list and post it somewhere where you’ll see it repeatedly….next to the refrigerator door handle, or on the bathroom mirror for example. Add those self-care practices into your daily schedule, or do one of them if you’re taking a break. Examples for your list:

  • Walk or Run
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi or QiGong
  • Meditation (we have a community meditation on Tuesdays & Thursdays - check it out!)
  • Wash hands & sanitize
  • Take vitamins (or other meds, supplements as prescribed or needed)
  • Drink water
  • Power nap
  • Sit outside and do nothing
  • Cook or bake something nutritious & delicious (from that cookbook collecting dust on your bookshelf!)
  • Personal grooming: time for a shower, time to change those sweat pants? :)

PRACTICAL TIP:  When we’re young, we do a lot of art, and it’s an example of a calming, flow activity that is great for our mental health. Consider grabbing some crayons or colored pencils, a piece of paper and heading outside. Take 15-30 minutes to draw what you see, and as you’re doing it, try and be as present as possible with the task. Your mind will wander….and when you notice it’s wandered, gently bring your attention back to the present. Don’t worry about the quality of the art...just draw, and be in the here and now with the task as much as possible. 

5. Proactively manage your technology use and information intake

Being isolated at home, we’re more reliant on our technology than ever before, and it can provide vital connection in these trying times. But…that doesn’t mean we should be on our phones or other devices all of our waking hours. Consider assigning time for email, messages, video or voice calls, watching the news, browsing or your YouTube surfing. Designate hours or blocks of time when you’ll do a tech-fast, and turn off the devices, or at least put them on silent. Don’t have the TV on in the background all day, and be careful how much news you’re consuming. So people don’t worry, consider changing your outgoing message to include a note about the times you won’t be picking up, or telling people that you’re scheduling tech breaks and you’ll call them back asap. 

PRACTICAL TIP:  It can be hard to put the phone down, especially in these crisis times.  Taking some time to proactively take your mind away from the constant inundation of information will not only help ease your stress, it will actually make you more productive throughout your day. Try your best to follow your time blocks – even though it might feel difficult at first, you will be amazed at how easily your brain can adjust.

We hope these 5 easy tips help you to stay motivated, positive and feel accomplished. Now we think it's time for that walk outside. ENJOY!