For those of you in the UK, or even in other parts of the world, it appears that lockdown is not going away anytime soon (I know – when will it ever end…). A new normal has emerged and therefore you may have noticed your lifestyle and behaviour changing (remember, it only takes 90 days to form a new habit). If you’ve developed productive and healthy habits during lockdown, you may not be prepared to go back to exactly how things were before. When planning your post-lockdown life, here are six habits that I found instrumental for my personal well-being and productivity:
1. Saying no
Fear of missing out (FOMO) used to be a genuine phenomenon. Then lockdown started and everyone was missing out on something they used to do, someone they used to see or places they used to go. People panicked…and then acclimatisation happened and we started to make the best of a bad situation. Now, fear of going out (FOGO) has emerged to take it’s place. Pre-lockdown, the opportunity cost of going out was whatever you were doing at home, which let’s face it, might not have been much. Now, you’ve probably (hopefully!) learned to live a fulfilling existence within the four walls of your home. Home is now where you make things happen. Post-lockdown, keep guarding your time. Don’t automatically say yes to people, places or plans you don’t genuinely want to make. During lockdown it’s easy, everything is “no”. But don’t forget you still hold the cards and you still control your time.
2. Personal development
Lockdown has brought about personal development opportunities in all aspects of life, possibly as a result of the extra time we’ve had or time that has been meaningfully repurposed. Notice the ways in which you’re now a better version of yourself. Document how much you’ve grown and what’s been responsible for it. Celebrate those little wins whatever they are. We rarely get a chance to pause and take stock so use this time to find out what makes you feel inspired and joyful. One of the best things you can do for your happiness is to learn more about yourself, get clear on your values, deep dive into your passions. Ask yourself questions like you would someone else. Whatever you started, don’t stop now. Keep going. Don’t let the lure of normality send you backwards. Make personal development your priority even your regular options are back and travel plans and special occasions are reinstated. There is always something that can be done right now that your future self will thank you for. Remember, at some point the world will re-start so working on up-skilling yourself will help you have the extra edge.
3. Developing friendships
We’ve all noticed the dramatic rise in using Zoom / Skype for personal use – connecting with friends online is undoubtedly an all-time high. This sets new groundwork for what constitutes a friendship. You might live around the corner but you can’t meet up in person, so if the internet is your main form of communicating with a friend, location is largely irrelevant. Being able to cultivate friendships all over the world ties you less to a specific location and opens up new possibilities. Post-lockdown, keep thinking further afield with your friendships.
4. Being kind
You never really know how your small act of kindness may have turned someones life around. Appreciation for key workers has never been higher, and brands have shown compassion in unprecedented ways. Even those hit hard realised someone else had it harder and empathy ensued. Thinking of ways to help those worse off than you has been paramount to fundraising drives and health service volunteering. Habits to keep include supporting small businesses, giving the benefit of the doubt and caring deeply about how others are getting on. You never know how much that call you made meant to someone. Lockdown has created natural conversation starters so let’s keep them going. Don’t wait for circumstances to change, don’t wait for it to be too late. Assume someone is having a rough time and act accordingly. Keep asking the questions, keep trying to understand, keep operating human-to-human and putting kindness first and foremost.
5. Adapting and being innovative
Change is inevitable, lockdown or no lockdown. Economic turbulence, advancing technology and working patterns will keep evolving over the course of our lifetimes. Business owners have been forced to adapt in impressive ways or face getting left behind. Be this by incorporating remote working, a new product range or takeout options. Being agile in the face of adversity mean they can survive crisis periods and many more. Perhaps they’re in a stronger position than ever before. You’ve heard of IQ and EQ but what about AQ? AQ stands for adaptability quotient and is a measure of how easily someone can pivot or even pick up their entire life and live it in a different way. Lockdown will have tested your AQ, but keep testing it. Operate from a growth mindset, where you work on the assumption that anything can change at any given moment. Work on the areas that will withstand any pandemic: your brand & reputation and how you treat others.
6. Having tech free zones
Most of us may not realise the extent to which we are addicted to our technology, ranging from our phones, TVs, laptops – you name it, we can’t get away from it no matter where we turn. Implementing restrictions on using my phone first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to sleep has worked well over the last year. So instead of scrolling through the news (which, let’s be honest, is the same as ever) or social media; I read a book, do some meditation or journalling. This boundary I’ve created has allowed me to have some time to myself to get clarity on my intentions without all the noise. As a result, I have felt a lot calmer and more present in my day-to-day tasks. Try to dedicate at least one hour per day to going ‘tech free’ and see the difference in makes in your own life. And on that note…keep electronic devices out of the bedroom!
Make lockdown the best thing that ever happened to you by keeping the greatest things about it; those awakenings, habits and practices that served you well throughout and will keep serving you during your future.