A NEW REALITY
Beyond theories and words,
beyond restrictions and quarantines,
beyond various social media messages urging you to stay away,
it is a great moment to pause and consider the I factor.
Up until recently a vast majority of us would be spending time travelling to and from the work location - a building where hundreds and even thousands of us would perform our role within the economical chain. Granted, some of us would be ”spicing” this up with taking the kid to and from school or even changing the building from time to time (when changing roles) but the outcome of the activity remained the same: we would meet in a common workplace, perform our roles according to our experiences and socialize in our own particular ways.
This has now changed dramatically or is in a consistent process of changing dramatically. We are dealing with intense restrictions aimed to slowdown the spread of the invisible and unpredictable COVID-19 which changed, almost overnight, our social and work activities. We are no longer spending time commuting, taking the kid to and from school or interacting live with our co-workers. We are no longer planning social activities after work or during weekends. We do not have the same exercising habits and even our shopping behavior has changed. Bottom line, we need to change almost overnight habits that we built and consolidated during years.
One of the definitions for habit is: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. With other words, we can say that we repeat the same activities or actions for a longer period of time until they become a reflex or comfortable for us to do. Call it comfort zone in corporate language. So, in this environmental context we can rephrase the above statement into we need to change our comfort zone. Whenever something comes into play to change our comfort zone, we perceive discomfort albeit each of us feels it differently.
Let me start with my experience. I started working from home intensively during the last 2-3 weeks or so. Since then my daily route to my son's kindergarten was replaced by daily visits to his bedroom to check-up on his sleep; my daily commute was replaced by a regular 10 meters walk from the bedroom to my desk into the living room; my daily live interactions with colleagues were replaced by live interactions with my son and wife and a bit of virtual individual meeting; all live meetings migrated towards conf-calls, adding to the already existing bulk of virtual meetings I had anyway. I can feel the impact of all these changes in the daily routine in several areas of my life: a tendency to be connected more to my desk, a crowded calendar (at times even back-to-back meetings for more than 8 hours a day), a different speech level (talking more to my excited son), attempting to deal with his frustration as I am not available for him as much as he would want me to be but trying to create and stick to a schedule as much as possible. My body started to yell for movement or any form of exercising, my eyes lust for looking a bit farther than the next block and my brain craves for a lively conversation about abstract or general terms that ends (almost every time) nowhere.
It was at this moment when I took a bit of time to pause what I was doing and reflect upon what is going on and realized have a new daily routine that I need to get used to (plus a couple of self-asked questions). And also realized that in order to keep the team (that I am part of) productive I need to focus on myself for a couple of moments. If you accept the comparison, it is like that moment when the flight attendants tell you that in the unlikely event of... to first put on the oxygen mask and then help others. There are plenty of materials circulating on various social media channels so I will not dwell on those for now; for me the bottom line was to acknowledge the new routine and intentionally working on establishing a new routine.
I am sure I am not the only one with such feelings during this disruptive period of time. If you want to give yourself the opportunity to answer you own questions or uncertainties, I invite you to experience coaching. It has not hurt anyone to date but you might end-up appreciating it.