Since the beginning of global COVID-19 pandemic, life has not been the same. We had to adapt quickly to so many things. Some go well, others do not. But we still have to move on with our lives and our work. In this article I will share some of my experiences and advices on handling a remote project in these though times.
The new reality
Since I work at the Foundation alone, some aspects of this new reality are harder for me to handle. Probably like many of you, I once used to go to the office, meet my colleagues, eat lunch with them and then go back home to my lovely dog. When I look at those times, I miss them. All I want is to get back to the office and university. But everything has changed and now life looks different than it did almost one year ago.
So, what is the hardest thing to handle for me during these COVID times? I think that pursuing successful projects is the biggest challenge. National lockdown in Poland has started around March. It was the time when everybody moved to their homes and sat there, waiting for the end of this pandemic. We knew that the virus won’t magically go out. but we believe in our hearts that in a few months everything will be back to normal. But that didn’t happen. So I had to manage how I can prepare myself and my temporary team to work remotely and how to bring the project to success.
Good old routine
I’ve read many articles, watched dozens of videos and got great tips. The truth is nothing helps more than a good old routine.
I like to be in constant move, I enjoy changes and new challenges. My natural working habits reflect these characteristics. It might look messy from the outside, but I find my rythm in this mess. However, now, that everything works completely differently, my old methods are no longer effective. In order to stay in shape, both professionally and personally, I had to come up with a plan.
The reorganization of my life was very much needed. I started slowly, from dealing with daily duties, like doing stuff for university, going for a walk with my dog, and making small, but steady progress in my Foundation’s work. The rest of my day I would be resting.
This small plan was a starting point for me. It gave me space to gradually plan other things during a day and a week. And it worked.
I started from small things, slowly moving on to bigger and more ambitious activities, to eventually almost come back to my routine from before the pandemic. When I was feeling safe and stable, I was able to add one more thing to my routine, like exercises. Of course, there also happened moments when I had too much negative thoughts about what was going on around me. But that’s natural. The most important thing is to not let yourself get stuck in these thoughts. Movement is your friend in such situations.
The things I would advise you
- Organize your whole day. Even if you’re staying at home, make a plan for yourself. We all need some kind of a structure in our lives. Without it we get lost quite easily and have difficulties with managing our time. Since the structure of going to work, to the university, getting back home, etc. is no longer in our reach, we need to come up with our own structure to be able to spend our time productively. Try to organize duties, such as cleaning and cooking, or find a new hobby. I’ve started making bracelets for my friends! It really calms me down and takes a lot of time and attention.
- Start planning from a few things per day. With time, you can add more or change it for something more interesting.
- Sleep well. If you can’t sleep at night, try meditation, drink tea for good sleep or even some natural medications (herbs) like lemon balm.
- At the end of the day do something for yourself. Take a long, hot bath, put on a mask on your body, read a book or watch favourite movies.
- Carpe diem. Remember that everything has to end someday and after bad things there always come the good ones. So live in the moment! And never lose hope 🙂
What about managing a project?
Pandemic has reached Poland in March. From that moment, until the summer holiday, everything was closed, and people were terrified. Our project – #OMRS2020 Internships was starting at the 1st of July. I had a few months to get back to work and be mentally prepared for a lot of stress. How things went in the first days of the project I described in another post. Now I’ll focus on months and days before.
After I have organized my life and took care of the basic things, I could move to the project. It was even more difficult, because it was my first project ever!
I like to write things down on paper, so my first step was to create a plan by listing all of the big questions, such as “what is the aim of the internship?”, and then I moved on to smaller things, like “what do we need to start the project?” and “what are the things neccessary for the publish information about the internship?” Based on the answers to these questions, I could build more specific tasks. Going from bigger to the smaller ones allows me not to miss anything important.
Such framed plan shows me I have control over those things, so if I do everything I can I will be able to succeed. That was also important to gather some confidence and trust in yourself. I had a team that supported me all the time and gave me advice but all the responsibility was on me. Feeling good in that job was one of the most important things.
So, what is the recipe to handle a remote project? Start from good organization of your personal life and then clone it into your professional life. By doing small steps, you will make a big improvement and achieve your goal.