Bliss not Bedlam: Time Management during Lockdown

How to prioritise your time during lockdown to honour your family’s demands, deliver your work goals and preserve your own wellbeing and mental health during this new normal.

  1. Chunk your work shifts around your family. I’m structuring my days to work 8am to 1pm when I know my children will be happy with self-poured cereal, self-spread Nutella crumpets and Fortnite time leaving me to concentrate. Beyond that it’s hard for me to focus on work so I’m making myself available for them devotedly and giving each child 1 on 1 time where they choose a treat of quality time together after school work has been completed (dreading the pogo stick session I’ve agreed to tomorrow!).
  2. Set clear and open expectations around home schooling. I held a family meeting and explained that the schoolwork is mandatory, not optional, the teens are obligated to (and surely mature enough to) complete at their behest, the little ones will get my undivided attention for 1 hour per day (they picked the hour of choice) and if there’s one jot of resistance I will walk away and not help. I pick my battles in life and right now getting to the end of another 10-year old’s maths paper is not top of my agenda. (My youngest did announce after the meeting that he was on strike, leaving the family and moving to live on the trampoline. Funnily enough at 3.30am he came back into the house, with his damp, condensation ridden duvet soggily in hand. 😉)
  3. Block out time in your diary for exercise and ensure no-one steals this sacrosanct time. On a normal day commuting to London I work out immediately upon waking at 6am but in this new world I’m treating myself to more sleep and a 7am session which makes me feel fortunate and grateful from the moment I open my eyes and see a 7 not a 6!
  4. Stick to a regular structure. It’s tempting to endlessly drift from week day to weekend, to stay up late watching box sets and sleep on past the alarm, but this is no good for our mental health. We each have unique circadian rhythms which we usually respect and organise our lives around and now marks the time to very consciously maintain and honour these.
  5. Get into nature, even with your laptop. As I write I’m sitting under a blossom tree in my garden wrapped up in winter coat and Uggs but the wifi works, the video calls will keep flowing and I know this fresh air is doing good stuff for my soul. Again, I’m open about where I am doing my calls/videos and no one judges, conversely people are inspired to follow suit. See how many meetings you can host with birdsong as the background melody.
  6. Cut out the non-essential meetings. If ever there was a time to become hyper mindful of committing only to the most useful of meetings, it’s now. Your time is short as your kids need you, so cull anything superfluous. In Essentialism Greg McKeown teaches the art of achieving more whilst working less and he adopts the mindset of a consultant tasked to solve core business challenges quickly and effectively. Ask yourself when you look at your calendar for the next week which of the meetings contribute to your core KPIs? Interrogate agendas, attendees, request or build RACIs and be tight on cutting hour long meetings down to 30 minutes where possible.
  7. Plan fastidiously but loosely. What I mean here is get organised with your diary to create free time. If you want time to learn a new skill or mediate or knit, plan when. If you’ve scheduled your day with home-schooling chunks, domestic chunks, essential meeting chunks, then evenings can be your learning time. That time won’t appear unless you’ve organised for it. So, yes plan fastidiously but only to enable the free-flowing looseness of time for yourself once the prerequisites are dealt with.
  8. Define what ‘Me Time’ means to you and enable it by following the above. When you do see that diary gap twinkling away at you have fun filling it with whatever rejuvenates your spirit. Take a nap, or clear the loft, read fiction, sit with your dog, just be… Seize the time as your very own in the very best way you desire.
  9. Embrace human connections that matter and do so in fun and efficient ways. Do you need individual Whatsapps with each of your old school friends or could you do a Saturday night House Party app gathering en masse? Do you need 30 mins with your team every other day or could you do quick daily 10 min morning video hellos as my team are doing? Respect friends or family who are actually enjoying solitary time. My mother excused herself from our endlessly streaming family group chat explaining she wanted to switch off from us for a few days, all power to her. Similarly, I’m gently telling my friends I’m still healing from my virus so spacing social video calls to just a handful a week. I’d rather go to bed early than feel obliged to squeeze in another Zoom with a dear pal. Of course, they all understand. There is only compassion and support flowing from all quarters right now.

Writer | Entrepreneur | Optimist | Founder of Energy-Scape™️ | Global MD | Proud Mother of 4 | Author of Flourish | I love bringing my blogs to life on BB TV!

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