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How to Make the Most of Your Time and Energy When You are in Lockdown

How to Make the Most of Your Time and Energy When You are in Lockdown

This is a guest post from one of our current members Val Wright.

Consultant / Speaker / Author 

Val is a recognized global leadership and innovation expert who is known as a growth accelerator by top executives at Fortune 1000 companies including Microsoft, Amazon, LinkedIn, The Financial Times and PopCap Games.

Visit her website to learn more!

Skip down below to hear my 20 tips to dramatically improve your time and energy right now.

I am a terrible substitute teacher. With three girls aged 10,10, and 12 on three different school schedules they have had the joy of experiencing my not so great teaching skills.

Of course, there are upsides, the family lunches, the extra time at home together, the endless baking, jigsaws, and building our island on Animal Crossing, but that doesn’t stop it taking a toll on your time and energy.

Everyone is experiencing this global pandemic differently, whether it is your pets, elderly relatives, kids, work, school, or unexpected demands from surprising places. Here in Los Angeles, we are on Day 59 in the Wright house and I have noticed a trend where those who are living in a COVID-19 hotspot need to find different ways of managing their time and energy. Follow these 20 tips to give yourself the gift of time and an energy boost:

  1. Get clear on what you need to achieve in the next three months, keep asking “so what?” until you get clear business-impacting goals that your customers or CFO will notice.
  2. Next, let your team know your expectations of them what they are jointly responsible for and what you need from them individually. Make sure you are helping them take things off their list and deprioritize what is not essential.
  3. Now, delete all of your meetings for the next 90 days. Literally or figuratively. The Head of Instagram Product did it when he took a new job so why can’t you do it right now?
  4. Knowing what you need to achieve, now decide who needs to work together and how. Use that to create your new Perfect Meeting cadence.
  5. Yes, that meets deleting those reoccurring 1-1s, team meetings, All hands that you had in place before lockdown, you need a new meeting plan now.
  6. Get clear with your team how you will communicate with them, email / slack / text / phone calls / video chats.
  7. If you have to have a meeting, make sure to invest in preparing before / leading it during, and following up afterward, otherwise, you will be wasting everyone’s time.
  8. Evaluate all of your additional social commitments and say no to those that don’t make you incredibly happy. Not good at saying no? Here is the 30 Ways to Say No Guide.
  9. Stop rambling emails and messages. Start every email with “My question is…” or “Here is what I need…” or “This is for information only”
  10. Reset email expectations with your team, use an email like this one to set out the rules for communicating with focus and purpose.
  11. Play tag team with your partner. I am currently writing this with a giant yellow sign on my office door that says “Go and ask Daddy unless it is an emergency” Be clear when you need help and ask for it.
  12. Get the sleep, nutrition, and exercise you need for your sanity and health. I love my Fitbit for reinforcing for me the importance of sleep, it gives me a sleep score which is ridiculously impacted by what I eat or drink! So that keeps me accountable.
  13. Know it is ok to not be ok. Not everyone is learning a new language, creating ninja obstacle courses in their back garden, and cooking from scratch every meal. Lockdown life is HARD. We are spending more time in a confined space with those we love than ever in our lives before. To say we won’t annoy each other is delusional…
  14. …but you can practice talking about your emotions, reactions, failures, and successes in a new way with your family, your team, and your friends. I have been part of some of the most real, direct, and honest conversations with my friends, family, and clients in the last few weeks, all via a screen or phone.
  15. Our emotions are just as contagious as this virus. Realistic Optimism will help everyone around you…
  16. This means pay attention to those you (virtually) surround yourself with. Are you listening to those pointing out the worst in every situation, who are complaining vs. showing empathy, who are point out faults of others vs. offering support, who are talking about everything we are missing out on vs. what we will look forward to again soon, who are endlessly grieving the past vs. acknowledging the reality of right now…
  17. But know that grieving helps. Whether you have lost a loved one, a precious moment in your life, or an opportunity that won’t happen again in the same way. Allow yourself to acknowledge what you have lost, talk about how you feel, and find ways to honor your mourning of what was and get support if you need it.
  18. Perspective helps. When Carolyn Van Zalingen, a teacher at my daughter’s school died from COVID-19 my perspective changed because it felt real, my daughters felt it, and thanks to the incredible team at Westridge School that day we had grief counseling (via Zoom of course) for parents, kids, classes, and that immediate support helped process the heartbreaking news. I hope you haven’t lost anyone, and if you haven’t someone on your team or a colleague could have. Which is why…
  19. Leading with empathy will help everyone’s energy levels. It is HARD to do business via a screen or phone call, so pay extra attention to your intentions behind everything you say and write. It will be amplified.
  20. Which brings me to… check in with your team individually. Ask them about their home life, their work-life, and how you can best help them right now. “how are you today?” is a perfect question to ask anyone right now.

All the tools from my first book Thoughtfully Ruthless are available for free along with a sample chapter and a free Executive Assessment here.

I hope that these tips give you back some time and help boost your energy.

Dedicated to growing your business,


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