Had enough Zoom calls to last a lifetime? Binged just about everything the internet has to offer? Trying to keep your stress from your kids yet again until you fall apart after their bedtime? Giving 80%, or even 60%, to tasks throughout your 15-hour day because perfection is out of reach?
Just about any coping strategy that helps us get through the day and juggle the chaotic UNBALANCE of work and life in these insane times is acceptable.
The one thing that won’t fly, long term? Giving our all to everyone else while giving up on the things that help us stay sharp and valuable to future employers.
Anxiety is a funny thing. In an overabundance in times such as these, anxiety can be a tricky feeling to navigate. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Actions related to anxiety include pacing, spacing out and feeling like a spinning wheel without getting tasks done.”
Ay, there’s the rub. “Feeling like a spinning wheel without getting tasks done.” That’s pretty much the going feeling, these days. And while some of us unwillingly find ourselves with too much free time on our hands, many of us are so busy we can’t keep our heads screwed on straight. How, then, to stay sharp and ready for future career possibilities while swimming in a sea of uncertainty?
That’s where the concept of “organized chaos” comes in handy. According to Kim Miles, Founder & CEO of Miles in Heels Productions, making small commitments to ourselves that organize our minds and feel like we’re learning and growing contributes to a more productive environment which, in turn, can help slow our racing minds and ease our overall anxiety. She explains that when things get overwhelming, it’s best to press pause, assess, reevaluate, and commit to not giving up on ourselves by keeping our head in the game.
Here are some of Kim’s ideas to help organize the chaos, both physically and mentally:
-CLEAN YOUR OFFICE! (However you define “office” these days, whether it’s a corner of the dining room table or the floor of your walk-in closet.) Sounds pedestrian, however, you’d be amazed at how a clean workspace can actively clean out the cobwebs in your head before and after your work. A clean space gives you a chance to have a clean mind throughout the day, and a fighting chance to feel – and stay – sharp.
-CONNECT WITH YOUR CONTACTS: Feeling thirsty for real connection? Water your contact garden! This is a great time to go through your LinkedIn contacts, older emails, or business cards, and either reconnect with old contacts or clean out names whom you don’t even recognize anymore. Your old college roommate may have “someone who knows someone” or may give you a career-boosting tip that could lead to a wonderful new job opportunity for you.
-EXERCISE + CONNECTION = FEELING GOOD: It’s no secret that exercising is good for you. More importantly, in times of stress, The Mayo Clinic states that “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” Why not START the day with endorphins that can pave the way for good vibes throughout? Taking a “walk to work” around the block, or involving your family in a morning dance party or online workout, can help everyone feel more centered as the day progresses. Bonus: If you add a phone call to a former colleague while you’re taking a morning walk, you can check off “exercise” and “networking” in one fell swoop, with two major daily accomplishments before you’ve ever even entered a Zoom room!
-REINVENT THE FUTURE “YOU” WITH A NEW BUSINESS SKILL: While you’re juggling home and work during a global crisis, it’s still important to take time for creativity and learning for yourself. Whether that’s indulging in a hobby or learning a new skill, forward progress as an individual can be therapeutic and even freeing. When we take time for ourselves to broaden our horizons and push our brains in new directions, we become better leaders, team players, family members, spouses, and friends. If this feels like one too many things to take on during your work day at the moment, think about teeing up a 15 minute TED talk for that morning “commute” or listening to a podcast while cleaning up the yard on the weekend, as a gift to your future self.
The ultimate way to stay sharp while feeling like you’re drowning? Taking time for yourself, reconnecting to people and reinventing yourself in order to stay sharp and propel yourself forward. In a sea of uncertainty, that could be just the life raft you’re looking for.