It’s strange how we went from having all the structure in the world to now having to set our own timelines. This takes focus, motivation and effort and is important, because productivity is a key driver to our everyday. Productivity is so helpful because it gives us direction, purpose, and cause to get to our goals. It’s our tangible solution to hopefulness and finding innate satisfaction. I know I for one, have to really pay attention to this for myself. And as I am trying to raise my children in these unusual times, it is equally important to set an example in this for myself – how I engage in my days both mentally and physically.
As an interior designer who has built a business creating highly personalized spaces that help people truly find themselves, this theme could not be more applicable. Each space I design is meant to set forth the right conditions to inspire, and therefore enable a productive feel. Anyone should walk into any of my completed spaces and feel like they are ready to execute on the best (i.e. most productive) part of themselves; in other words – feel good.
As I approach each day during our shelter-in-place, here are 3 things I have found to be helpful in keeping me motivated, well, confident, and self-assured. Just generally feeling good:
1. Invite your kids to find productivity through their imaginations
Yesterday my husband and I challenged our kids to a 30 min “Dessert-Off”. At their suggestion, they added we judge them on creativity, taste, and resourcefulness. Aside from the fun for all involved, it was a great way to see them playfully competitive, interactive and connected as siblings, all the while stretching their creative thinking.
Spontaneous recipes resulted in something called a “Cookie Disaster”, made up of two chocolate chip cookies sandwiching ice cream, with Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups smashed in, topped with Nutella and marshmallows. This was versus the “marshmallow Michelin man”, made with toothpicks and marshmallows, carefully sculpted into shall we say, a very thoughtful dessert! While it was fun for us as parents to taste the resulting end, we took more enthusiasm and motivation from the gregarious interaction our two kiddos had, and their natural tendency to push the challenge further as they went along. Result: Gain laughter from a playful kitchen activity on the regular.
2. Virtual Happy Hour: Bring Your Creativity
Connection at any time is paramount – especially these days. With this in mind, one of my team members had the lovely idea to hold a virtual cocktail hour via video call, in order to have the opportunity to connect on a more personal level. Happy hour is something we do regularly throughout the year when we are all in the office, but for this one, we broke the predictability of work-related video calls, by each adding our own creative twist.
Since we are all creatives, it was suggested we come to the meeting with an artistic or creative element. For example, wearing your makeup in a new and interesting way or wearing something that is visually stunning. In the same vein, while I know people are doing beautifully with virtual cocktail hours and over-the-phone catch-ups, I have enjoyed the productive part of person to person contact. If we are able to engage as a team and be light and creative in the process, we reach a readiness for the next task ahead. This gets our creative juices flowing, allows for the opportunity to build new schedule types or activities in a day, and because of direct interaction, whether by distance or by phone, it makes it more joyful.
So, catch up with your favorite people and help each other to find the highlights and exchange suggestions on how to fill your day with productive activities. Add a creative challenge twist and you will not easily forget the moment!
3. See what you do and reward yourself with it
In addition to my online calendar, I have always had a large desk calendar. As of this week, I’ve added a moment of personal recognition to each entry. In light of shelter-in-place, I have begun writing in what I have done for myself health-wise. It doesn’t have to be big, or complicated or crazy in terms of effort – nope, just a little moment to mark down what you have set aside and treated your well-being too.
Each day, I write down once completed, my small accomplishment on a Post-It note and stick it to my calendar. As the days turn into weeks, each time I review my calendar, I can see through the visual cues of the brightly colored notes, how well I have taken a minute to myself, for myself. Overarchingly, this helps me be a better person to others, not to mention be a whole lot less grumpy in these stay at home indefinitely times. It also helps me recommit to my workouts, if I’ve fallen off the wagon (which is ok and normal, people – I swear you just need to be OK with that and keep getting back on without the guilt!), and it is there more as a way to keep me motivated to not just “let go” in this unusually crazy time. I mentally make a choice to stick to a routine, which is highly productive in its result. Leaves me with: Just a little personal affirmation to keep me feeling good and effective.
So all in all, each of these is there to help give you purpose. In today’s trying times, it’s so important we rely on playfulness and creativity to keep ourselves on the right side of feeling good. Have a go and let us know what comes of it – we’d love to hear what worked and how creative you got!
Be well, xLS