If you create structure throughout lockdown, then you will set yourself up for long term success! The last 18 months have been defined by lockdowns in various forms.
There are a number of work from home and movement restrictions in place at the moment. The best way to ensure that lockdown is a success is to ensure you have great structure throughout the day.
It is very easy at the moment to lose life-balance and that is perfectly understandable. It is however, the creation of balance and structure that will see us through these challenging times in good health.
A common obstacle that we all face in one way or another is our time management. Great time management allows us to get the most out of our day and feel like we have balance with work, family, social and hobbies.
How do we create structure at home in lockdown and avoid the feeling of our days “blending into one”?
- Have no time in your busy schedule.
- You happen to have a little too much time at the moment
- You are bored and run out of things to do
Creating structure will go a long way to ensuring you are your healthy best self. This is true for mental and physical health, and they are equally as important as each other.
Structure can be defined as “the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.”
Or another way you can consider it is as fitting things together to work towards a common goal.
With that in mind, let’s have a look a little deeper about structuring our day or week.
Why Should We Structure Our Day?
When we allow ourselves to simply float around with no sense of purpose or no drive to get up in the morning, it is not long before motivation drops.
When this happens, the will/ability to achieve tasks is at an all-time low and procrastination is at an all time high.
With a lack of accountability or sense of achieving, a day without purpose can be a day lost. However, when you have daily structure, you are giving yourself a great chance to improve work ethic, drive, motivation and productivity.
Following on from that is what it will do for our mental and emotional health (dopamine, is released when you have a sense of satisfaction and achievement which in turn makes you feel good).
When you then allow yourself to have down time, you feel a sense of freedom as it would have been earned. This is instead of feeling guilty because you have not done anything.
Daily structure will allow you to gain a sense of control over your schedule. It will provide you with a sense of calm, stability and sense of pride.
Knowing you have your day set out, planned and ready to be completed is a great thing!
If you are overly busy, daily structure can help you prioritise and manage your workload. If you have a little too much time on your hands, this will encourage positive habits around time management and use of your time, effort and energy.
How do we create daily structure in lockdown?
It can differ from person to person, task to task. It needs to be based around your current work situation and things that need to be completed or that make up your day.
Here is an example:
|Wake up, make bed, shower, drink first glass of water.||
6:30am – 7:00am
7:00am – 7:30am
|Work prep for first meeting or first set of work.||
7:30am – 8:15am
|Exercise, get home/ change for first meeting||
8:15am – 9:00am
9:00am – 10:00am
10:00am – 10:30am
|2nd set of work block||
10:30am – 12:30pm
|Down time and lunch||
12:30pm – 1:30pm
Depending on your day and what needs to be completed will depend on how you structure it. This will go on until you have completed your day.
This is primarily an example of course. Using the above you can clearly see how to create structure in lockdown and how it will give you a better daily balance.
Hint: Take 10-20 minutes today to structure your tomorrow. This will help you wake up, ready to go and focused, giving your day a sense of purpose from the beginning.
Structuring Your Week
This will be the exact same process but on a larger scale. How you would like to structure it or the tasks or reminders you put down is up to you.
Here is a further example:
|Wake up, make bed, shower, drink first glass of water.||Wake up, make bed, shower, drink first glass of water.||Wake up, make bed, shower, drink first glass of water.|
|Work prep for first meeting or first set of work.||Breakfast||Breakfast|
|Exercise, get home/ change for first meeting||Work Meeting||Coffee catch up|
|Work Meeting||Morning tea||Zoom Meeting|
|Morning tea||Do the washing||Take the dog out|
|2nd set of work block||Take the dog out||Shopping|
|Down time and lunch||Prep for next meeting.||Downtime and structure tomorrow|
So, on and so forth, until you have structured your entire week.
Tools and Colour Coding
Use colours to associate your plan with a certain task. This helps differ and easily recognise priorities throughout the day and makes it much more visual. When something is more visual it is more likely to be remembered.
I personally use 2 things to help structure my days or week. I use Google calendar and a white board. These give me the best chance of ensuring I am completing what I should be and that I am not forgetting anything. Others use handwritten diaries or post it notes. Whatever works for you.
Hint: Only use 1 colour for work and lots of other colours for the rest of your daily/weekly tasks. This will make it visually look like there is a lot more going on in the day than just work.
Creating Structure In Lockdown – Final Tips
When structing a day or week, remember that it doesn’t have to always be work based. It can range from anything minor like making your bed, going to the shops, taking the dog for a walk, calling a family member or friend or remembering to drink water.
Remember that the structure is there to help guide you through your day. It can change, bend, convert to what ever you need it to be. In other words, don’t lose sleep over it.
Implement structure now and thank yourself later, we promise it will help.
Want To Learn More?
Since COVID-19 entered our lives, we have aimed to deliver some great weekly information as to how you can remain healthy, productive and in good spirits. This blog post is the latest addition to a growing library of information. Click to read more on our dedicated COVID support blogs.
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