Coronavirus and lockdown turned our everyday lives upside down. But from all the stress and hassle rose positive habits and unexpected clarity. These three strategies helped me see it.
When closing schools and some form of lockdown started to seem inevitable due to the coronavirus in mid-March 2020, my first instinct was to empty my calendar and hide under the bed. Throw any dreams, goals and ambitions down the toilet and wait for better times. And like many other working moms, I had all the reasons to lose my mind: in addition to my work as an entrepreneur, I had a household and a very active four-year-old to juggle. My every cell screamed “This can’t be done!”
However, under that scream there was another voice, quiet but steady. It kept repeating “Calm down and focus”. Maybe everything can’t be done but the really important stuff sure can. Instead of throwing away what your heart desires - which, for me, was launching an online course - focus down and make it happen.
The steady voice overrode the scream, and these three strategies allowed me to focus during the chaos.
1. Prioritizing myself
When everything can not be done, it’s primordial to define the non-negotiables that will get done, no matter what. For me, that meant boundaries and self-care: daily meditation, regular exercise - out in the sun as often as possible - no working after 9 p.m. or on weekends.
Driven Woman’s monthly webinars were another non-negotiable meeting for me. Working on myself in a supportive environment regularly made it easier for me to clarify my goals and remind myself why I find them important. Anyone can push through a few fully scheduled days but it takes stamina to stay focused on your big goals through months of chaos and uncertainty. Driven Woman webinars gave me the strength I needed to get up and keep going day in, day out.
2. Staying accountable
Second step to success among chaos was showing up to my accountability partner - whom I had also found through Driven Woman. Every Monday, we caught up and determined the goals for the week. Every Friday we checked in again to see where we were at.
Accountability system does not guarantee success but it makes it more likely. On some Mondays the check-in included mainly complaining about fatigue and loss of focus. And on some Fridays none of the goals were accomplished. But that’s not the point! The point is to show up regularly, and not only for your partner, but also for your own dreams and goals. At the end, you always get something done when you show up.
3. Making time for planning
The third thing may seem counterintuitive during the times of extreme stress, but it was a game changer: make more time for planning. I inserted a weekly 1.5 hour planning session to my calendar every Monday. These 90 minutes were dedicated to a routine called Monday Hour One.
The basic principle of Monday Hour One is to list all your tasks and plan time for them once a week so that the rest of the week you don’t need to worry about it. It was hard to find time and self-discipline to stick to learning a new habit - but it paid itself back by saving time during the week and reducing stress levels. Monday Hour One kept me from spending time everyday in shuffling priorities and allowed me to prioritize the most important things, not the most urgent ones.
Result: More clarity, less procrastination
Honesty check: it was not always easy nor pretty. Sticking to my goals was frustrating but it also kept me sane during these long weeks at home. And it resulted in something wonderful: a sense of clarity and in reduced procrastination. When the goal was clear and resources (mainly time) strictly limited, there was simply no room for procrastination.
Now that our lives are taking small steps towards some kind of normal, there are also results to be seen: I have an online course ready to launch, new clients in my ranks and a bunch of positive habits that will keep me on track whatever comes next.
And Driven Woman came through to me one more time in the form of a Visibility Challenge. It’s a 14-day accountability challenge in Driven Woman’s Facebook group, where we all encourage and inspire one another to show up more confidently. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect this year, since the challenge supported us when we started crawling out from our lockdown cocoons.
Well, timing is always perfect, when you have the courage to trust it.
Pauliina Rasi is a Driven Woman member and communications entrepreneur with a mission to empower female business owners to show up to their audience with confidence and without fear.
DrivenWoman is a female-only empowerment platform and accountability network, that helps ambitious women to achieve their goals and dreams by creating positive habits one step at a time. Thousands of women around the world have joined our program and are achieving their life goals, which range from entrepreneurial dreams to career change or simply being more confident in their own skin and enjoying life in the present moment.
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