If you have the same experience as I am reading social media every day, it seems that everyone has either learned a new language, lost a million pounds, or has become a super parent. The quarantine, aside from testing our mental fortitude, has most of the population in a new routine. Everything revolves around the family unit or home (use whatever definition that fits your situation for “family’ and “home”). Parents have an increased responsibility as a teacher’s aide, home cooking is every day and meal, and yet all I hear what else we can do with our new found “free” time. I have been able to accomplish a lot, but it has been more about cleaning and clearing the deck. How can I apply my leadership practices to keep myself and my family mentally safe through these long days of quarantine closeness?
I do not know your experience, but mine is this: I have now been able to take care of the items I have neglected for so long. I have been able to reclaim commuting time to do all of the things I was too rushed to do. I have had the time to cook my kids’ breakfast each morning. I taught my son how to spackle, my daughter to film a short movie, and my wife and I have sat in front of our house, enjoying the world walk past us.
I wondered if I was doing the right things as a parent and husband? I reflected on my current situation and realized I had subconsciously applied some of my leadership practices. In doing so, I have relieved the mental stress this quarantine has applied to my family. I have succeeded in strengthening my family even more. We have all had the ability to have our “own time” and have never been closer at the same time.
What I Practiced:
I went back and examined what has taken place over the last six to eight weeks. I have come up with a shortlist of my personal leadership practices I have always applied and want to share them with you:
- A consistent effort will yield big wins. Every day I decided on one small project and started and finished it. A project which would take an hour or so. Starting it and not stopping until I completed it. After a week of doing this, I reclaimed two previously unorganized closets, my home office, and the basement.
- Break down big projects into smaller ones. This is a no-brainer. However, in my experience, many get paralyzed by the size of a project. I would always break down larger projects into smaller ones and hand those out. I did the same with my task list. If the task seemed paralyzing, I made three smaller ones out of it. Then I applied #1 to those tasks.
- Any progress is progress. When I walked into my home office and realized the shoe rack had expanded, I knew I had to deal with it first. So, that day’s task was the shoe rack. I did not touch one other thing in the office that day. After the two-hour shoe rack project, my daily tasks took over. However, progress happened. Do not dwell on what did not happen. Reflect on what forward movement you accomplished. Always forward. Take pride in it, no matter how small.
- Do something for someone else. Even though my children have chores and there are shared tasks my wife typically takes care of, I try to do something for each one of them each day. I make sure I make our bed every day. Just a small thing, but it is one less thing my wife needs to worry about. My son has to take out the trash twice a week. If the bag is full, I take it out. My daughter should empty the dishwasher each time it is filled and clean. Again, if it is done and I am in front of it, I do it. These little things can make a huge difference in the mental state of your quarantine group.
- Do not gauge your success by comparing yourself to others. If I were to believe everyone’s accomplishments on social media, I would have to re-evaluate my life’s choices. However, if I compared myself today to myself yesterday, I would find I am one facet better for myself and my family. And those small changes lead to big positives.
Leadership practices in business can be applied in the home. Especially now during the late days of the quarantine. If we all use these practices, we will realize a few things. Whoever is in the house with you will have less stress. They will be less likely to snap or be at the end of their rope. By doing for others, you are leading by example and will influence others to do the same. In the end, you will experience what I have experienced. More gratitude, less stress-laden outbursts, and a closer family unit.
I do not know if there will be one or several more weeks of this quarantine. However, I know I can handle any scenario because my family’s endurance is based on my ability to be a servant leader. I get an abundance of satisfaction from when I serve in that capacity, be it for my business or my family.