Weird things I learned about myself from covid-19
This “life on pause” during corona-time has certainly been a time of disruption. Living in New York, I’ve been essentially in lock-down at home for almost 7 weeks now.
Since I’d been running my business online from home for the last 20 years, I’d assumed that covid-19 isolation would have minimal effect on how I get work done each day.
Instead, I found myself regressing into ADHD dysfunction that was similar to the very first months after I’d left my corporate job in 1999.
A couple of changes I noticed about myself
“Should” meant nothing to my brain
Here was a golden opportunity to get more work done, with few interruptions. I should have been able to relax and totally focus on working on my business.
But my ADHD brain refused to knuckle down and do it. Why?
Being unable to take my work to my favorite Starbucks was affecting my ability to switch my mind into challenging work mode. Unfortunately, simply moving to a different location in my house didn’t really help
Sudden craving for work boundaries
Before corona-time, I’d looked forward to weekends when I could get lots of work done without having to check my calendar or email.
But now I felt like I “deserved” to have my evenings and weekends free to indulge myself with YouTube art videos, even though I hadn’t been very productive during my workdays.
By Sunday night, I’d feel disgusted that the week seemed to fly by without me accomplishing anything… including doing any art!
Here are a couple of strategies that pulled me out of my slump.
WHAT WORKED: Bursts and Body Doubles
Specific assignments in small bursts
Confession: I’ve had lots of unpacked boxes sitting around for weeks after I moved.
Giving myself an intention of “unpacking boxes” didn’t get me to deal with them, even when I saw they were visible on Zoom calls.
But when I decided 15 minutes before a Zoom session to remove the few large boxes in sight of the camera and haul them up the stairs, I suddenly had no problem doing it.
I give myself 15-minute bursts to get something small done, and I set a timer to make sure I start on time. I’m very specific about what I’ll work on during that burst of time.
Working with a body double
I tried using an accountability buddy to get things done, where we’d check in with each other once a week. That worked somewhat, but it didn’t help my productivity as well as working with a body double.
(A body double is someone who works along with you in real time, each of you doing your own work. A body double session can be just as effective on Zoom as in person, with an individual or a small group.)
I arrange with a friend or colleague to do a 45-minute scheduled body double work session. Each of us defines what we’ll be working on. At the end of 45 minutes, we share the results with each other and get feedback.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to get anything done these days, think about what’s throwing you off.
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