As of today, more than 30 US states have lifted or relaxed the stay-at-home orders that have kept us cooped up for at least six weeks. The country is anxious to return to normalcy -or at least to the kind that will come after COVID-19. But before we step back into our semi-normal routines, let's take a minute to consider what we have learned from this confinement.
COVID-19 has bluntly shut down all our distractions outside the home, introducing us to a simpler way of living. Physical distancing has kept us away from our favorite places, sports teams, and cultural life. Then, out of all that, what do we truly miss? What is that one place we’re excited to visit again as soon as it’s safe to do so? Who are those friends we’ll invite over first? It’s time for some introspection.
I’ve been wondering, how will our world change in the post-pandemic era? I’m not talking about wearing face masks or keeping social distancing for months to come. Those are givens. I’m talking about many of us being given an incredible opportunity to simplify our lives and our schedules. We're at the doorstep of an unknown experience, a unique opportunity to reexamine the things we have been doing by default for years. What are they? Do we want to keep doing them? Are they worthy of our limited time and energy? The post-pandemic is an excellent time to reset our priorities, to reassess everything we were doing just because it happened to be in our calendars, and to decide what projects deserve our full attention. What is it that matters to us now? I say it’s time to shed the unnecessary burdens and get rid of those low-value activities that waste our time and drag us down.
This is a golden opportunity for a fresh start. When I walk around my neighborhood, I see that people have dedicated themselves to decluttering their houses. Piles of old office chairs, broken toys, tarnished mattresses, and moldy pool gadgets line the sidewalks on a heavy trash day. Isn’t it also time to declutter our schedules? I vote yes! Let's take a good look at our planners and our routines. What can we purge? What can we redesign and do more efficiently? What can we delegate to others who can do it better, faster, or more cost-effectively?
This uninvited quarantine made us rethink traditional ways of doing things allowing us to discover more efficient systems to produce better results. Who knew we could work from home for weeks with the kiddos in tow, without cleaning help, or virtually any outside help whatsoever? And here we are. Survivors of a situation we couldn’t have conceived just a couple of months ago, not even in a bad dream. Here we are, about to cross to the other side, victorious. So, I ask again, what are our post-quarantine takeaways? What have we noticed has been sapping our energy for years, and now we feel better not doing it, ready to let go forever?
We must check our schedules from time to time and declutter them just as we declutter our garages. Get rid of those pesky tasks that sneak in them without our voluntary consent. Are all those weekly team meetings necessary? Are all those networking get-togethers worth our time?
Is it inevitable to drag our kids to four different extracurricular activities every week? What if we focus on the two they love and enjoy? Would that leave us more time to enjoy together as a family? Will that lighten hectic dinners and bedtimes? And what if we stop visiting all the other office branches in person since we have proven that video calls work just as effectively? -Add to that that we’ll be saving time, and the planet, by driving less.
The stay-at-home order has made us realize that we can devise a more streamlined way of doing things, a life with less unnecessary hurdles and commitments that, up until now, we thought we couldn't avoid. Maybe we even didn’t recognize them as hurdles until now. This is the time to do it! Let's take advantage of this fresh start and say NO to everything we haven’t missed in 45 days. Say NO to unreasonably demanding schedules. And say YES to more things we want to do. As a result, we'll feel happier and more relaxed; we'll have time to live the life we want.
I would love to hear from you! What traditional way of doing things are you letting go in your post-pandemic life to enjoy a more streamlined life? Your feedback is always welcome! Like, share, and leave a comment below.