I got to do something month weekend that I haven’t gotten to do in a VERY long time – board a plan and go see my family. My kids are going back to school. We’re starting to have in-person meetings again at work. All these signal that the pandemic is winding down made me realize that I need to prepare for another transition — the transition back to the new normal. Just like with anything in life, if I walk into this transition without intentionality and a plan, I’m missing an opportunity to maximize it for good and risking some trip-ups.
While the pandemic has been challenging, there are some things that have been glorious about it – most notably additional sleep, quality time at home with my daughters and fiancé, regular Peloton workouts, and overall better work/life balance.
How can I maintain some of these positives while getting back to some of the other normalcies of the pre-pandemic life? Well, as with anything in life, I planned for it. Here’s how you can plan for it too:
- Identify what you want to keep doing. For me, that was getting enough sleeping, playing games with my girls, and making sure I had down time (including limiting weekend work, and taking 10 minute walk breaks once or twice a day).
- Identify what you didn’t miss—and don’t want to invite it back into your life. Over-scheduling and over-committing fall into this category for me. So does frequent grocery shopping (thank you grocery delivery services!!). I also had a chance to reflect on people in my life – there are a ton of people I miss and deserve more energy than I was able to give them, and to find that energy, there may be other people I spend less time with.
- Identify what you put on the “need to figure it out” list. How many days a week in the office is the right balance? What is the right balance of video calls? These are things I’m still working through. I’ve found that days where I have more than 6 hours of video calls I’m more exhausted. I also miss going to in-person meetings, and yet love the time saved from not commuting. I need to tackle what the right balance is for me.
- Identify what you missed and want to get back right away. For me, it is traveling, especially to see my family, having mom’s night with my friends, going out to dinner, and in-person team meetings. I’m prioritizing all those things in a certain order when I think about how to plan my calendar. This blog post is another one of those things for me. I loved writing these posts, and hope some find them useful. I paused them when I went to work for the government, and when I returned back to the private sector, the pandemic hit and my job required more of me as a leader. In this new normal, I want to make sure I find time to blog.
- Communicate your plan to key people in your life. Coming up with a plan only gets you so far. It means nothing if you don’t communicate it. Start first with your family- including what boundaries you’re setting with them. Make sure you also share your plan with key work stakeholders where the boundaries impact them.
Don’t forget to revisit your plan. It’s easy to move forward on a plan and settle back in, but you should think about when to revisit it. I plan to check in with myself in 3 months and 6 months to see if my new normal needs to be adjusted.
I don’t think our old version of normal will return, but heck, maybe the new normal can be even better!