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Forging Through The Lockdown - Part 9: Regaining a Sense of Control

Posted by Deb Muoio

Apr 29, 2020 9:35:03 AM


One of the things we crave more than anything else during a crisis is a sense of control. We want to be able to plan ahead. We want to feel prepared. We want to be as sure-footed as mountain goats, as we take steps forward. But how the heck do you deal with an invisible enemy? How do you protect yourself and your family from a virus that people may not even know they are carrying? Remember that game you played as a kid where the floor was lava? These days, everything is lava.

Control what you can. There are proven ways to protect yourself against the virus - the power is literally in your hands! I know that you've been hearing it over and over, but if you follow the guidelines proposed by the medical community, you can keep yourself safe. To reiterate:

  • Wash your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Don't touch your face, your hair, your family, your pet, (or random strangers for that matter), until you have thoroughly cleansed your hands.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you.
  • Wear disposable gloves when you go grocery shopping. Most stores provide wipes to clean grocery carts, but bring your own just in case.
  • Stay 2 meters away from other people. You won't need to wear a mask as long as you maintain a distance. If you're going somewhere where you can stay 2 meters away (i.e. the grocery store), bring a mask.
  • Elbows are amazing. Use your elbow to open doors. You can't touch your face with your elbow.
  • Don't go out unless you absolutely have to. Stocking up on groceries is a necessity. Getting your prescription medication is essential. Going to pick up a mochaccino with whipped cream, or hanging out at the beach is NOT vital to your survival.

Maintain your routine. Being in lockdown may limit your activities to some degree, but try as much as possible to keep up your regular, daily schedule. Having structure will offer you a greater sense of control. That being said, you may want to consider shaking things up a bit in order to reduce the potential for boredom. If you start your day at 7AM with a shower, coffee, and waffles, then return client calls, answer emails, and do paperwork, mix it up. Exercise in the middle of the day, for example.

Always ask yourself, "What are my options?" If you're feeling stuck, it's essential to take stock of where things stand, and to carefully outline all of the options available to you. You may have more choices than you think you do. The problem is, when we are stressed or panicked, we are often unable to see our situation clearly. This is the impetus behind many rash or fear-based decisions.

Sit down with a piece of paper, write out the problem, and write down your options. Before doing so, you may want to conduct some research on the issue you are dealing with in order to better understand it, to know what's at stake, and to come up with workable solutions.

Deal with one problem at a time, one step at a time. Neither stairs nor problems should be tackled in one giant leap. Pick the most urgent problem, and break it down:

  • What is the issue?
  • What does this issue impact?
  • Who does it impact?
  • What is the first thing that needs to be taken care of? What is the most pressing need?
  • Do you have all the information required to take action? If not, do some research and/or talk to someone who can help you (e.g., financial advisor, therapist, doctor, etc.).
  • Once you gain some knowledge and clarity, outline your options, along with the pros and cons for each one.
  • Choose the most viable option, taking all the potential consequences into consideration.
  • Move forward and implement your solution.
  • Make adjustments if necessary.
  • Move onto the next most pressing issue.

Think like Eisenhower. Even the best planners may not be able to plan for all eventualities. However, you can still be organized and in control in chaotic circumstances. The Eisenhower Box is a quick way to evaluate a situation and determine your priorities. Here's how it works:

Take a piece of paper and draw a square with four quadrants:

  • In the top left quadrant, list all the tasks that are Urgent and Important (e.g., creating contingency plans).
  • In the top right quadrant, list all the tasks that are Not Urgent but Important (e.g., restocking supplies).
  • In the bottom left quadrant, list all the tasks that are Urgent but Not Important (e.g., talking to your financial advisor about your investments).
  • In the bottom right quadrant, list all the tasks that are Not Urgent and Not Important (e.g. regular daily chores).

Don't forget to check out our free Pandemic Resilience Test.

Topics: prroblem solving, Personal Development, Motivation

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