My lockdown experience began whilst we were on Holiday in Lanzarote when the Spanish restrictions came into place, about a week before the UK adopted social distancing measures.
Similar to my two maternity leaves, lockdown living has provided me with rich reflection and opportunity for personal growth.
Here are my 5 key learnings from the past 6 months
PRIORITISING IS KEY
I would always have described myself as a good prioritiser, but now with the lack of 30 hours of childcare we had grown accustomed to, a husband who works full time and my freelance business to keep afloat the need to prioritise ruthlessly has become more prevalent than ever.
My two favourite tools to help me are the Action Priority Matrix based on the Eisenhower Method of arranging tasks by urgency and importance in a 2 x 2 matrix – it’s simple, effective and gets you focussing on the most important tasks and can prevent procrastination.
''in a world where everything can feel like a priority this method helps put the priorities into an order''
The other is the prioritizing grid shared by Richard Bolles in his book ‘What color is your parachute?’ a must read for anyone considering a career change – in a world where everything can feel like a priority this method helps put the priorities into an order. Use the two tools together and your efficiency will be on fire!
COMMUNICATION IS KING
My second key learning is that unless my expectations are reasonable and unless they have been clearly communicated then there is no chance that they will be met. Failing to review these two points leads to resentment and frustration – not a great combo when consistently in a small bubble with the same people day in day out. The degree to which we may be disappointed is likely due to a combination of whether our expectations are reasonable and if they have been communicated.
The question from Yasmine Cheyenne ‘have my boundaries actually been violated? Or my uncommunicated expectations not been fulfilled?’ really strikes a chord
MULTITASKING IS A MYTH
Being constantly surrounded by cute but needy toddlers has re-enforced my belief that multitasking is a myth, it should in fact be re-named to switch tasking because that is in fact what you are really doing: switching from one task to another, and back again, and again, on repeat. It is a survival method and does not make for thriving success instead results in exhaustion and burnout. We’ve introduced batching and time blocking and not only have we all been more productive but happier and kinder to each other too – a massive win win.
ACCEPT AND ADJUST
Probably the hardest challenge I’ve overcome has been to accept this new normal and adjust my business model to the changing demands and need to be online.
The British public are split into those who accept. Suffer or resist according to a recent survey commissioned by King’s College London.
Now I can confidently say I am one of the 48% in the ‘accepting’ group I have found it easier to take action with my goals. At the start of the year I was running sold out workshops for Women preparing to return to work after Maternity leave, with social restrictions in place hosting in person events is no longer a possibility. So I have slowly moved my business fully online, whilst my website is undergoing a lick of paint I have also prioritised the need to network and communicate through different channels such as LinkedIN.
My final learning is to re-assess energy sources. As natural extrovert I am fuelled by meeting new people, getting out and about, networking in real life and attending events. Whilst in my bubble of 4 this change in variety has hit my energy levels hard. When I have energy I take action, without it my focus and accountability wanes.
Natalie from elevatehercoaching is currently running a resilience challenge and day 1 was all about committing to our goals. For me it has been easy to use lockdown as an excuse to not get things done which is why deciding to use an accountability partner has been one of the best decisions made so far, it breeds action, creates connection and is fuelling my creativity.
I first met Lauren through her amazing co-working events, check out freerangeworkco, which have made working from home with affordable childcare a possibility, Lauren and I have now been having weekly check ins to set goals, challenge our limiting beliefs and cheer each other from the side-lines.
Being a small solopreneur during these times is tough but there is power in community and strength in lifting up one another with the support we have to offer.