THE NEW RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Working Smarter & Living Slower
One things for sure, this pandemic has forced a ‘new normal’, and working smarter, slowing down and embracing the opportunity for change has never been more timely.
I’ll start with a caveat, things have been pretty busy for me these last few months, juggling the renovation on the weekends and a busy period at work in the week means I’m not really the perfect student for balance / slow living / working smarter (and practicing all of what i’m about to preach) – but whilst the current situation is of course terrible from a health point of view, the move to ‘lock down’ and being house bound has enabled me to make some small (and growing) positive changes, and has the potential to be quite the opportunity for all of us to create our own ‘new normal’.
WORKING SMARTER & LIVING SLOWER
A slowed pace of life has been a somewhat desperate need of mine for probably 8 years now, and whilst I got better at ‘balance’ last year, prioritising my health and working from home on a Friday, this situation and the ‘stay home’ enforcement has been the forced stop that I probably needed.
The forced slow down in pace – a result of a reduced social life, no commute, travel & events being cancelled, more time at home, more time to be still and just catch up on life admin etc – has been a welcome side affect of the stay home situation. And whilst my work has been busier if anything since lockdown, being home has made it so much less stressful, more calm and generally less of an issue for me to manage alongside looking after myself. There’s something quite different mentally between being in the office until 9pm, travelling home late for an hour, eating late, going to bed late and then having to get up and commute again at 7am, to working late into the evening on your sofa, juggling dinner and a quick stretch between having my head down. It’s just a completely different feeling.
I knew I loved working from home already (my Friday’s have been life changing for my stress – it’s hard to explain why, as like I said works still busy when I work remotely, but just being in my own space changes the dynamic more than words can justify), but moving to 5 days a week at home has been heavenly for me.
It’s also forced so many behaviour changes for everyone in the office, clients and the industry generally – so much so that smarter working is no longer a theory for a hopeful better life, but it’s actually becoming a reality and a proven successful model for working.
I for one can’t go back to the ‘old ways’ post this experience, and I don’t expect it’s in any businesses interests to force those old behaviours anyway – we know smarter working massively increases productivity, that flexible working helps us better balance all the demands in our lives (family, admin, work, health etc), and I personally think the slower pace has the potential to make us all happier, less stressed and more present in the moment.
I still have a long way to go to truly work smart and live slow, but I’ve made some positive new routines already – i’ve taken 30 minutes to make lunch daily (a big achievement don’t you know), i’ve clocked off properly in the evenings, i’m operating on 30 minute meetings rather than a bog standard often unproductive hours slot and am generally feeling just much calmer overall in life.
I also firmly declined the pressure to succumb to making lockdown the time for new hobbies and finally getting in shape. My work is still taking most my time and the renovation on the side has meant that I just don’t have the energy or capacity to think about all the things I thought i’d make time for during shut down – books, yoga, creativity, blogging. I soon realised that any time not doing DIY or sat on microsoft teams needed to be spent quite literally doing nothing at all … just being!! I hope in time i’ll gain some more energy to read, or to get my cameras out – but for now it’s clear to me my body just needed to stop. Nothing more.
So yes, this situation is a challenging, sad and an alarming period for all, but I also think (seeing the positive) it’s a forced move to ‘smarter working’, agile and flexible working adoption and overall a chance for better ‘personal management’ if you want to leverage the opportunity for change.
I for one, will be embracing these learnings, doing far more home working, and of course continuing to push and work smarter where I can. How about you?