Three Routines for Right Now

I’ve spent more time than usual watching the news and scanning social media over the past week. I don’t think I’m alone. “Normal” today looks much different than it did even a week ago.

COVID-19 has taken over the world stage and will likely continue to do so for quite some time. Like everyone else, I’m adapting to new routines and finding “rocks” in my day to build in some consistency. As author James Clear notes, “In times of uncertainty, your habits can ground you.”

Here are three rocks I’m focusing on currently:

  1. Move. Gyms (including CrossFit Undeniable) are closed in Colorado at the moment, but we’re still making it a point to workout every day with what we have available.
  2. Meditate. After many years off, I began using the Headspace app again. They’re offering free meditations during COVID-19. I’ve found that just 15 minutes helps me to say much more focused and present throughout the day.
  3. Prioritize. With a kid at home and schedules in flux, I’ve found it helpful to make a list of the top three things I need to focus my energy on during the following day. When stress levels are high, this kind of laser focus helps to ground my efforts.

I find that if I get those pieces in place, I feel much more confident and in control of my day regardless of the chaos going on in the world.

The Care and Feeding of Monkeys

A fellow Automattician passed along this older HBR article that originally appeared in 1974. In the piece, the author describes how managers and leaders often take on unnecessary responsibility from teammates inadvertently. These responsibilities are referred to as “monkeys.”

An example from the article:

A fourth subordinate, Reed, has just been transferred from another part of the company so that he can launch and eventually manage a newly created business venture. The manager has said they should get together soon to hammer out a set of objectives for the new job, adding, “I will draw up an initial draft for discussion with you.”

Let us analyze this one, too. The subordinate has the new job (by formal assignment) and the full responsibility (by formal delegation), but the manager has the next move. Until he makes it, he will have the monkey, and the subordinate will be immobilized.

The language in the piece is a bit outdated (“subordinates” is an unfortunate term), but the piece is worth a read and reflection.