Updated: Oct 7
I’ve been in a productivity tailspin for about 2 weeks. It’s been hard to concentrate with all that is going on in the news, my stomach virus, and a new puppy at home. I needed to find courage to carry on.
What does courage look like for you?
Helping your remote learner
Being an essential worker
Doing online business
Caring for friends and family
Cooking and cleaning
Holding down the fort as women do (no offense guys)
Remind yourself how you have been courageous and write it on a post-it.
I’ve been courageous daily as I …………………
Let’s all take a breath and acknowledge ourselves for all we do. Being doers takes a toll emotionally and physically on us women as we strive to be super producers.
5 steps to claim your courage and stay productive
1) Witness and Accept Low feelings
Judging yourself for feeling low or not getting work done is a downward spiral. Instead of pushing through and denying your feelings, PAUSE and access the feelings without spinning out of commission. Try to witness feelings- “ Hum, I am noticing I’m down today”. Then follow it with “ Ok, yup, I might need a walk, or something before I can settle in. So, at 10:30 I’ll do my best to do..” Allow the thoughts and feeling, but don’t be determined by them. Be a witness.
Commit to think high thoughts. A cup half full of gratitude is not a Pollyanna. Hold onto an image that makes you smile. “My garden is so beautiful” or “My son’s or daughter’s smile brightens the day.”
Witness thoughts. Write your statement. Place it where you can see it. Let it uplift you. Look at it when you are feeling de-railed, PAUSE and re focus. Schedule in physical activity.
Schedule some comedy movies and get in a good laugh.
Schedule a walk each day, weights or a work out.
Talk to friends.
2) Remember a courageous action you took.
Courage is a daily choice to persevere and meet the moment. In my 50’s, I was in a horrific car accident and my car turned upside down. Unable to work as an Occupational therapist, I sat for the real estate exam and got my license. When we find our courage in daily life we return to healthy productivity.
Remember a courageous action you took. You stepped out of your comfort zone at a team meeting, had a conversation about a hard topic or cared for a sick child. Recall the images and memories. Call upon this when you are out of focus.
Being courageous is showing up each day to what is in front of you, with kindness.
Make a List, help a co-worker or call a friend.
3) Trust yourself to work intuitively
It is normal to feel overwhelmed at this time and it’s fine to create a schedule that works for you. I often go for a walk and re do my to do list outdoors in the middle of the day. Allow your intuition to guide you in planning your day and week. Set flexible priorities and allow for change rather than plowing through. Allow yourself to feel your authentic rhythm and respond to others.
Take a few minutes each morning to center with deep breaths. Listen for intuitive cues such as; contact someone, or prioritize a task.
Using audio on messenger or text can streamline communication.
4) Divide large work or school tasks into manageable smaller steps.
Give your self a flexible time line to get work done. Break down an overwhelming week or day into 2-3 smaller chunks. This can be applied to remote school, cleaning or leadership. Be simpler and reduce demands on yourself and others. I set small goals such as one wheel barrel of mulch for garden work. Set goals you can meet.
Look over your priorities for the day. Break large projects into 2-3 steps. Make a plan to do one smaller step by noon and one by end of day. Keep your steps smaller and simpler but commit to accomplish them.
Use post-it or markers to highlight steps for work or school.
For meals, simplify by making a large dish and freezing parts for another day.
5) Reward your accomplishments and courage with self-care
We all require self–care in this stressful period. Leave 3-4 minutes to deep breathe before getting out of bed, revel with a cup of tea, or pick a favorite earring. Brief pauses to watch thoughts and feelings during the day and staying steady are courageous acts in this time. Put one foot in front of the other and remain calm.
Take physical brain breaks for yourself and children, jumping jacks, or cross crawls. After school/work do outside active play. Take a walk, roll your shoulders, or garden.
Tip for Remote learners
Use pool noodles for a fencing match, blow through a straw to move cotton balls across the table. For children and teens, a few minutes to hop, do yoga, stretch bands or play dough in between classes can reorganize the brain to re focus.
Put on music and dance.
Barbara Neiman is a National Presenter on Mindfulness and the author of 3 books for families. She is an Occupational Therapist, an adoptive parent, Mindful Productivity Coach and Trainer.