Controlling What You Can Control During The COVID-19 Pandemic

  • 24 April 2020
  • 6 replies

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I’m excited about this community that Briana + team are building. But... I’d love to see more engagement!

So I pose this to the group…

As Ops professionals, I imagine many of you get energized and thrive on having some sense of control. Whether that be in your professional or personal lives.

So as many of us enter month 2 of sheltering in place, have you noticed any aspects of your life where you are grasping for control? I’ll go first and give you an example…

The kitchen is my domain. The playroom cleanup is my domain. I’ve found that having these spaces sparkling clean and organized is effectively serving as a coping mechanism for the vast aspects of my life where I no longer have control. 

How about you?

6 replies

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Great post man, and I agree with the sentiment— the lack of control has been tough to work with. For me it’s all about my schedule. I try to stick to a daily routine. Wake up early, coffee and breakfast, then a quick morning walk to get the blood flowing. Then work, I try to take an hour long lunch in there if I can, then an online workout class after work. If I can do this every weekday, I find it keeps my mind calm. 

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That’s a great mindset, Dan. Love the routine and I imagine that helps you remember what day of the week it is! 
As someone who was recently laid off - I find that I’ve recently tried to become more regimented in my job hunt. Because my wife and I have 2 small kids at home - I need to be more present. 
I’ve tried to actually set a timer for my search and “home office” time and when it ends, back to activities with the kids. 

Totally agree with Dan. During extended periods of WFH, I’ve noticed that without being disciplined, it’s easy for every area of your life to bleed into each other -- During work, you feel like relaxing, and when you’re off work, you feel like you could be doing more. It’s bad for your mental health.

I also stick to a daily routine, prepare some tea in the morning, eat food, work, exercise (which is absolutely key), then spend time online with friends. This has worked pretty well for me, but you just have to ensure that you stay true to your schedule, otherwise it can sort of collapse on itself.

PS - If anyone reading this isn’t doing some form of exercise, I highly recommend it! Even just doing some bodyweight workouts is better than nothing at all.

Routines are key. One thing I’ve noticed and this is common for folks who work remotely is the continually creeping extension of workdays. Start earlier and end later because you’re filling that commute void and also the laptop never quite closes at home like it does when you have to physically leave an office.

Filling those commuting “voids” with positive activities (working out, reading, walking, meditating, etc.) does wonders for your mental health and overall energy levels. 

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@Max Chen - thanks for sharing! I agree about remaining disciplined. 

I’ve been WFH for the majority of my career. It’s important to both literally and mentally separate spaces. I actually shut off my office lights and close the door when I know I’m done so I can leave that part of me in that space. 

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For me it has all come down to proactive communication and scheduling out the day with my wife. We also have 2 small kids at home (3 and 5) and sharing in the parental responsibilities, while ensuring we both of time to work/job search is crucial. If we don’t figure out a specific schedule for who is working when, we are both much less productive and a lot more frustrated. 

Setting up guidelines for the kids when we are working has also been really important. Office door closed = I’m unavailable, door open but headphones on = come on in but please be quiet, door open and no headphones = come on in and be as loud as you want.


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