I'm thinking about...
In a complex system environment - such as our current times - there are very few areas we can control (and often folk try to control stuff they can't). One area we can manage is our rituals, so being intentional about them becomes important for our wellbeing.
Space and how we use space; dress; exercise; food - are a big part of our usual rituals.
For many the rituals around work place and home space have been blurred. Clearing your desk and going home; changing out of your business suit into jeans; hitting the gym at the end of a long day or similar are not happening.
Most of us are "travelling" to the fridge and kitchen more frequently than usual. We are moving in and out of our business conversations and private conversations constantly through the day. All of this can be exhausting and is taking its toll - so creating new rituals and rhythms becomes important. Even as we go down in Levels - restrictions may continue for some time yet.
Here's some stuff that's helping us in our bubble...
We've created individual work spaces - do whatever works for you and your whānau with the space that you have...even if it's only the end of the dining room table or somewhere really small in the corner of a room. I understand, that's easier for some of us than others. My daughter and her partner are busy professionals working out of a small one bedroom apartment - I've worked from home for a number of years and that means I have the privilege of a home office. It'll be different for each of us. When I'm not working I walk out of that space - I can close the door, but not everyone can do that ...so it may just be something as simple as a quick tidy up or closing your laptop and re-purposing the dinning room table for eating again, when your work day is over. Keep it simple. Do something physical that will help your brain to shift gear.
We're trying to keep being kind to ourselves and to be okay with things not being as they were. If you have little ones at home and they walk into a meeting - be okay about that. My children are older now - but when they were little there was always a space near my desk where they could "work" too. We have many fond memories of those times together and only the other day my daughter shared one of those memories - referring to her "hang out with Mum office chair". Some of my best Zoom experiences during lockdown have been when little ones unexpectedly entered the room and Mums comfortably nursed their babes during the meeting. Everyone present was comfortable and unexpectedly we built deeper connections.
In our bubble - we are all trying to include some form of exercise into our daily rhythm. Some days, like today, when it's wet and cold and dark and a bit miserable, I just didn't feel like doing anything - but I did. I lit a candle, rolled out my yoga mat and had an hour of practice. It was good. Our minds and bodies and spirits are connected - we need to continue to be intentional about nurturing and nourishing our whole selves.
We are also weekly menu planning - partly out of necessity and the desire to limit supermarket visits, but also to try and eat regularly and well. Of course, I've baked a bit more than usual (plus side - I've totally cracked baking sourdough!) and there have been treats too...like a good glass of wine at the end of the day :-)
Throughout lockdown I have also been intentional about "pausing" and "breathing". Sometimes we think being busy busy is the answer - but honestly just taking a bit of space (whatever you need: a moment, an hour, the day...) will help make the rest of the time more fruitful. You'll be a better version of you, I promise!
I'm being more leisurely with my schedule and approach to meetings. Which means booking all my usual 30min meetings for 40min - because everything takes just a little longer "virtually". No back-to-back meetings for me ...at least 15min break between conversations.
To manage how I show up at the meeting and after the meeting for my whānau - I have a small post-it personal prompt stuck to my screen that says,
"Check-in/ Moment of Silence --------------Check-out, Hum of stillness."
And, maybe this might be a good time to consider some new daily rituals. Many years ago, in "My Grandfather's Blessings" (one of my all time go-to books), Rachel Naomi Remen introduced me to a daily ritual for letting go, acceptance and gratitude.
Fill a bowl with water, place it somewhere safe, then at the end of the day, empty it. I believe it has its origins in Buddhist practice.
A symbol of accepting all that the day will offer - letting go of anything we need to - giving thanks for all that the day has brought.
ps If you want to learn more about "Pause" - I highly recommend Robert Poynton's book and work.
pps Yep, some have had the experience that virtual meetings are fast and in a recent webinar on collaboration, I heard others say decision–making has been much faster. So I've been thinking about this one a fair bit- here are some of my "musings" on that...
The questions I would ask ...How does this translate into engagement from everyone at the virtual table and leadership style? Are all the voices being heard? My thoughts are - where speed of decision-making is concerned -context matters and Cynefin is a key framework I use to help with this. Chris Corrigan's post "A tour around the latest Cynefin iteration" might help shed some light on this.
Notwithstanding some great leadership examples through the pandemic, I had a senior HR manager get in touch: she was concerned around the leadership styles she was observing on virtual calls and that got me thinking about our behaviours when we are under stress.
Then, last night I was interviewed by a UK researcher/journalist who indicated the leaders she was speaking with were saying they couldn't reach out to their people at this time, which surprised me.
It seems, here is an opportunity for many leaders (not all, some are really busy!) to pause - slow down – be generous – be kind – listen, to the said and unsaid stuff. That takes time.
The Growth Faculty's recent interview with Leadership guru and best–selling author Patrick Lencioni, where he outlines "9 top tips for leadership in lockdown" - is one of the best I've heard. My top two of his tips:
Nazanin Jenkin is a Persian Kiwi - a Persian by descent and a diaspora by circumstance. She lives in New Zealand; along with her husband of thirty years and two surviving, adult children.