Tips on how not to feel overwhelmed in this unusual time


Lisa finds herself more and more overwhelmed with this “work from home” thing. She has a lot of meetings, then she has actual work to do, and the home stuff is also piling up. She constantly worries about missing things that she’s supposed to do. 

Do you feel the same way? If so, let me help you. 

  1. Remember, you are not “working from home”. You are at home during a crisis trying to work. Stop trying to be as productive in your work as before this unusual time. Take care of you and your family first.
  2. I would suggest you set up a personal or family Kanban board and tape it to a wall in your home. If you have kids at home, you may want to set up a family Kanban board with a daily schedule. If you don’t know what a Kanban board is, don’t worry too much about it. It is a physical board with 3 columns on it: “To do”, “Doing”, “Done”. The goal is to minimize the “Doing” part, and concentrate on getting things to “Done”. There are quite a few suggestions out there on how to set it up. You’ll need to choose one that works for you. Here’s an example:

Let me share with you what works for me:

  1. I set up a personal online Kanban board instead of a physical board. I list the major things I need to do (each thing with its own color) and each major thing has a few key tasks with its corresponding colors. 
  2. Every day, I’ll figure out what tasks are my priority for that day. Sometimes, I don’t finish a task in a day, and it’s ok. The next day, I’ll revisit my Kanban board and make sure I continue. I normally can finish the remaining work in the task rather quickly. 
  3. Sometimes, I have two tasks which I’m “simultaneously” doing. That’s because those either take time to do or I’m waiting on answers. I’ll then write in the comments what I accomplished and what I’m waiting on. 
  4. I don’t put rest on my Kanban board (we discussed the need for breaks in the previous post). I also don’t put non-work items, i.e. life stuff, e.g. eat, grocery shopping, exercise, pay bills, video conference with family and friends, etc. Instead, I put those on my calendar, so I have calendar reminders popping up to remind me of those “life” activities. Yes, I block time on my calendar to eat, otherwise meetings may take over that time.

That works for me and you will need to find what works for you. You need to take all your to-do’s out of your head in a form that you can revisit daily and make sure you have time to take breaks and take care of your family needs.

How do you manage your work and family needs? Share with me below, I’d love to hear it.

The entire series:
Part 1: What if your meeting attendees refuse to turn on video cameras?
Part 2: Meeting as usual? Think again
Part 3: Wonder why you are more exhausted after a day of online meetings?
Part 4: Tips on how not to feel overwhelmed in this unusual time


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