A lot about our lives has changed dramatically in the past two weeks. And this newsletter is no different. So we’re changing what we bring you here, too. Every week, we’ll give you things to do and also practical information about how to live better and get through this. This week, we’ve got useful tips on how to reset your routine. But before we get there, here are some other ways to keep your life full:
Like everyone else, Elizabeth Wellington’s daily life, routine and schedule has changed abruptly. So she talked to experts about how to keep up your energy, sleep better and stay motivated when you’re working from home. Here’s some of what she found. (Read her full piece, with even more strategies.)
The world may have come to a stop, but our need to live a productive life hasn’t. “The game of life is on pause right now,” said Heather Coletti, an adjunct professor of philosophy at Villanova University. Let’s face it: Many of us were overbooked and overtaxed pre-pandemic. “Now that the marathon has been suspended, it would be a mistake if we didn’t take advantage of this global reset."
Here’s how to do it better:
1. Marie Kondo your activities
It’s a good time to reflect on what you have to do, want to do, and why, and drop those things that no longer bring you joy. Patrick Porter, author of Thrive in Overdrive: How To Navigate Your Overloaded Lifestyle and CEO of BrainTap, a North Carolina-based company that marries technology with wellness, suggests we start our days in quarantine getting crystal clear on what we need to live a fulfilling life. “It’s a great time to meditate or journal,” Porter said.
2. Use your extra time to start something new
Without the work commute and the weekend play dates, we all have more hours in our lives right now. Think about the things that you always wanted to do, like start a meditation practice, learn a new language, or start a business. Think about all the things you can start doing, instead of everything that you have to stop doing.
3. Be mindful about how you structure your day
Take the time to be the architect of your day. Write down a schedule and stick to it, says Natalie Nixon, a Philadelphia creativity strategist and author of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products Services and Beyond. The key, Nixon says, is to prioritize. If you work best in the morning, schedule your most important tasks then and power through them. Try to work at a clutter-free desk. (That means no logging in on the couch.)
4. Don’t just take breaks, schedule them
It’s important to take breaks. “This is a time for us to create new work rituals,” Nixon said. Nixon likes to work in 40-minute spurts, followed by 5-to-10 minute breaks. The key, Nixon says, is to walk away from the work area and stretch those legs. And give yourself permission to let your mind wander. “Our most creative ideas come when we let our minds go," Nixon said. Also, Porter added, make sure you exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day.
5. Be consistent with your sleep
If you stay in bed longer and stay up later, you are wreaking havoc on your body clock, Porter said. To stay productive, be deliberate about getting a full 6 to 8 hours of sleep. If you have trouble dozing off because of anxiety, try a relaxation app like Calm or BrainTap. And when the alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze. Shower, get dressed — as in lose the PJs — and start your day.