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March 24, 2020

Getting Into a New Routine (During Quarantine)

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During the COVID-19 era quarantine, many of us throughout the country and world were instructed to shelter in place, limit interpersonal contact, and avoid public spaces. While this was totally necessary to protect ourselves and the health care system, it came at the expense of our own productivity.

What was interesting is how we were home more often, had more free time, and came up with all of these ideas of things we wanted to do. Yet we didn’t find ourselves doing those things. Why is that?

It’s because we were thrown out of our normal routine. What we didn't realize was that our routine had been optimized for our previous setting, relying on the triggers and timing that existed in our normal environment. Well all of that was different, and then we were wondering what we could do about it.

We basically needed to establish new habits, and there’s one thing that always helps me: Make the decision in advance!

Be clear about how you want to spend your time and affirm it. I think writing something down is really powerful because you can see the activity in front of you, making it a more tangible idea than an abstract concept. 

The next step after that, and knowing that your days are a little different, is to allocate time specifically to do that thing in your schedule. It sounds super simple, but most people don’t actually do it. It’s for those transition moments, when previously you had established context that would encourage you to take proper action, where a schedule will inform your decision-making and help you to stay on track until eventually this new routine becomes second nature.

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