Now before we get into this week’s post, you may be wondering to yourself, where is “How Are You Handling This?” Episode 3?! Well, it’s on hold for just a couple of weeks to make time for some very special ladies. Yep, that’s right I said plural, ladies! I just couldn’t help myself and had to ask them both if they’d like to be featured. And lucky us, they both said yes!
Both of these women are phenomenal designers, an inspiration to the design community, and eager to share their thoughts, recommendations, and expertise. So, although we will have to wait just a short time to hear from them. They’re totally worth the wait!
Your Emotions Decided to Take Another Ride
Now onto this week’s post! Small wins. As the days drag on, the weeks go by, and the quarantine end dates get pushed back, your emotions may start waxing and waning again. You think, “Ok, I was settling into this. I had a routine down. I kind of figured out how to make this work for now. But, for some reason my emotions are strapping themselves back into the roller coaster and taking me on yet another ride… yay…” And off you go on the highs and lows, sharp turns, and big drops.
What set your emotions off? For me, it was missing out on going to church for Easter. Not online, not through Facebook, but actual church. Actually sitting in a pew, next to someone. Did that set you off too? Or was it missing seeing family outside of just the ones you live with? You can’t visit your sister, or your nieces or nephews, or your mom or dad. And they can’t visit you, and it’s getting old and tough.
Or maybe it was as simple as going to the grocery store, which is now the complete opposite of simple. It’s masks. It’s 6 ft decals. It’s employees behind Plexiglass boxes. And we’re not even getting to the big stuff like the health of family, friends, and loved ones, concern over your business, and the overall design industry.
Should I Be Doing More With This Time?
It’s just really hard right now. And to make matters more challenging, you might also be thinking, “Should I be doing more with this time? Should I be completely revamping every single thing that I do? Should I be moving myself from $100k firm to $1M firm? ” I mean, we’re all seeing other people and what they’re doing with their time. Some of them seem to be doing pretty great stuff. Heck, we’re even covering it here.
Then on social media, there’s new ukulele skills, painting kitchen cabinets, creating elaborate meals, and buckling down on getting stuff done in our businesses that we’ve long put off. Yet you may feel like you’re just not getting much done. Why can’t you manage the same thing?
Well, because although everyone’s going through this together, we’re all experiencing it a little differently. Some people have more time. Some people have less time. Some people are fine with isolation. Some people are not. Some people have family who are at risk or are already sick. Some people don’t. Some people work a lot when in crisis. Some people work little as they just can’t focus. We’re all in this together. But we’re all experiencing it differently.
Focus on Small, but Impactful Wins
So, what do you do if you’re having a hard time keeping up with everything? Whether its because you now have a massive influx of responsibilities as the kids are home and you’re trying to work, or you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders as you’re trying to figure out how to keep your firm alive and your staff employed, focus on small wins for now.
Try to accomplish just one small but impactful task a day. If you can’t handle that, move to one a week. Whether that’s writing a blog post to connect with your readers, or posting on social media, or buying your design assistant a subscription to Hulu as a thoughtful gift for Administrative Professional’s Day (it’s next Wednesday, April 22nd), just focus on completing one. Consider anything after that a huge bonus.
Don’t worry about the “to do” list as long as your arm that you want to tackle during this time. Unless you’re really, really ready to go for it. Unless you’re the type who will genuinely feel better about pushing themselves to the max during this time, rather than feeling worse about why you aren’t motivated to do more.
Give Your Clients a Chance to Have Small Wins
Then, encourage your clients to do the same thing. Inspire them to take action, but in small ways. Teach them how to shop their house. Teach them how to create a beautiful, simple bouquet using clippings from trees they have in their yard. Show them how to hang children’s art (which is no doubt being created in abundance right now) with twine or clipboards so it still looks “designed” but is easy to swap out. Show them how to create a fun little window display with their children for passersby using items they’re likely to have in their home.
Motivate them. Inspire them. Lead them and relate to them. Give them quick ways (no more than 30 minutes) to feel energized and content with something “normal” they can do. Don’t go for big and aspirational as that can become stressful and even cause resentment. Go for small, quick, and easy, but impactful.
Go Easy On Yourself During This Time
So go easy on yourself. Just focus on one small win a day. If that goes well, and if you’re ready for it, make the wins a little bit bigger. And if that’s feeling fine and comfortable for awhile, you can then go bigger again.
If you can’t, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel bad for being human, for feeling stressed, for feeling overwhelmed, or feeling unmotivated right now. Give yourself the space to be worried, anxious, and even a little bit scared. Then focus on one small win that can move you forward.
Action does help fear and overwhelm. However, if it’s not as much action as you wanted, or dreamed of, or see other people taking, don’t overload yourself with guilt. This time is extremely hard for so many reasons. Adjust your expectations for the time being. Realize that this too shall pass. Things will go back to normal. Grocery stores will become a simple experience again. Visiting family will be an everyday occurrence. Church pews will be filled again.
And your wins? Well, they’ll go back to normal too. Your wins will be bigger. Your aspirations will be bigger. Your motivation will be bigger. It all will be bigger when you’re not being asked to take the heaviness of our reality onto your shoulders, with only a few weeks worth of preparation.
Today, my win is writing this blog post! Let me know in the comments below what your impactful win is for the day!
And if you’d like help focusing on the client experience at this difficult time, check out the listing of guides and resources available to you here!