Finding Structure in Times of Chaos

I don’t know about you, but part of the reason I keep my day job outside of the steady source of income is that it provides me with structure and accountability for my work in a way that is a challenge when I’m working from home. Finding myself home every day and in the process of my school job restructuring itself to provide support at home, I am faced with the need to create my own systems of structure and accountability, which is not something that comes naturally for me.

For my own sake as well as yours, I decided to write out some things that help me with supporting myself and getting things done.

Finding Structure in Times of Chaos

Take care of your body. One of the things I’ve noticed as things have started to slow down is that I’m more aware of my own chronic pain and brain fog. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s been there for a while, but with my tendency to push through I shoved it aside and then crashed at the end of each day. That means that when I have extended days when I’m not pushing myself at work, I tend to crash for days. This is not new, but it does add a barrier to getting things done when I’m expected to work at home. It is also worth considering that when we don’t leave the house, we don’t even get the basic movement of walking to the car and back or down the hall etc. so we need to take extra care to get up and move.

Some things I’ve been working on to support this is more regular check ins with my body, more fresh air and movement and I’m thinking it would be a good thing for me to start a regular stretching routine to start my day and release pent up tension.

Identify your big rocks. At school, my priorities are determined by timelines and meeting schedules, which will still happen to a degree when things get rolling again after spring break, but a lot of the other things I do are less clear cut than that. When I look at my day, I first look at what needs to get done, and then what I’d like to focus my energy on. If you need help determining your priorities, I wrote this post a while back on Five Tools for Prioritization.

Outside of my regular public commitments of weekly Embracing Intensity Podcast episodes and monthly Ignite Your Power workbook release this year, I’d like to start focusing on reworking my work with me pages to reflect more of the adult learning profile assessment I’ve developed and flesh out my coaching page for twice exceptional adults.

Create accountability. This is probably the biggest factor for me. Without urgency I get almost nothing done. Even the things I know important don’t happen unless I find some way to hold myself accountable. Some things that have helped me with this include making public commitments, regular online appointments, and some sort of accountability partner, group or coach.

In order to support myself and others in this time for accountability, I created an Accountability Group in my Embracing Intensity Community, which has a pay what you can membership. In this group I’m planning 1-2 times a week virtual check ins through Zoom, goal setting and follow up and daily posts to check in on our intentions for the day and progress.  If you need any one on one support, feel free to contact me as I specialize in coaching with twice exceptional individuals and know a lot of other great coaches that might be a good fit as well.

Create spaces for both work and rest. I have this comfy chair I sit in a lot with most of the things I need on a regular basis within reach. This can be great at the end of a long work day, but when I’m home all day it can become a bit of a trap. Setting aside separate space for rest and work can be extremely helpful in setting the tone of getting things day. If your space is too small for actual separation, we can create a conducive work environment by limiting what is within our visual field. It is also helpful to reduce not only environmental distractions when possible, but also online distractions by closing social media tabs & notifications.

When things are chaotic and visually distracting, I try to clear one spot on my desk or dining table so my view around the computer at least is fairly clear and I’m trying not to do work while I’m sitting in my comfy chair as tempting as it can be at times.

Build in some new rituals and routines. Going to work or school on a regular basis creates its own set of rituals and routines. We don’t have to mimic those routines to benefit, but creating new rituals and routines can help us with consistency throughout our time in isolation. Be sure to include some things that you find energizing,  I wrote a blog post called What is Your Energy Balance? That might provide some ideas, and in April I’ll be launching my workbook and live group call on Balancing Stress and Energy, which you can find in the Embracing Intensity Community.

I started 1-2 time a week Zoom calls to check in with my community on Mondays and Fridays so we can explore our goals and follow up for the week. This gives me some social contact beyond text and helps me sort out my priorities with other people. I’ll be sharing them in the Embracing Intensity Community and Facebook Page Events.

Give yourself grace. Now that I’ve shared so many thoughts about better productivity, I want to remind you that productivity is not the ultimate goal in these difficult times. Give yourself the grace to rest and forgive yourself for not getting done what you think you should have. Ultimately what is most important is your health and well being. Take any of these recommendations only as far as they are helpful in doing what you want to do. Finding that balance between structure and grace can be a tricky thing indeed.

I’ve been slowly working on implementing some structure and accountability in my life, but at the same time remembering that I also need to rest and take care of myself first. I had things I wanted to get done that didn’t get done and that’s OK. Creating my own new normal for a while will take time.

With so many businesses offering online classes and meet ups recently, I thought I’d share below some links of activities that have come on my radar. Feel free to share your own in the comments or message me if you have something regular you’d like me to add.

If you join my Embracing Intensity Community, you can participate in our Accountabilty Group and access all lessons and workbooks in the Ignite Your Power series, or you can get the first workbook in the series on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity free here. Also feel free to contact me if you might be looking for more one on one support.

Links for Upcoming Online Events:

Gary Ware of Embracing Intensity ep. 141 is offering a series of online meet ups to help foster more play in your life!

Emily Kircher-Morris of ep. 139 is creating a series of online support groups for kids and parents of gifted and twice  exceptional students she will be sharing on her Mind Matters Podcast and newsletter soon. 

Christine Fonseca of ep. 135 works with Collaborative Learning Solutions who are putting out a regular series of online Social Emotional Learning lessons for kids.

Julie Skolnick of ep. 101 has created a free community called Let’s Talk Twice Exceptional with live Q&As, webinars and community.

Gwen Montoya of ep. 09 offers online classes on business and marketing, including her next Blog Adventure

Katherine North of ep. 06 has a Patreon community that is a refuge and bright spot right now. Membership gives you access to both her Steer Your Year and Secret Mystics courses

The MOB Nation is offering mini talks live every weekday at 11 on business related themes for Mom Owned Businesses

Lyn Delmastro-Thomson is offering two group circles including a regular free intention and meditation group and a pay what you can immune and nervous system series that just started

Vancouver Wellness is offering live-streamed Yoga, Meditation & Dance Classes

Ready Set GROW is a yoga and movement studio that specializes in neurodiverse kids and is offering all of their classes virtually at this time

Soul Spark Learning is offering an 8 week course for Highly and Profoundly Gifted and Twice Exceptional Learners

I also found this Bit List of Children’s Book Writers Doing Virtual Author Activities

For more tips on handling these times of Crisis, see the April blog hop for Hoagies Gifted


For more tips on handling these times of Crisis, see the April blog hop for Hoagies Gifted