15 Ways We’re Redefining Productivity in Our Next Normal

“I’m redefining productivity in our next normal by setting better boundaries in all areas of my life. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that the only way to make the most of my time is to set boundaries and stick to them. I’m setting boundaries with my workday by logging off on time to prevent overworking. Additionally, I’ve learned that boundaries around our time have a place in our personal lives, too. If you only set boundaries at work, you might do yourself a disservice when it comes to feeling productive outside of work. Setting better boundaries in all areas of my life will help me achieve both my professional and personal goals.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Great Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

“We are living through a period plagued by fear from a variety of sources. In this book, Michelle Poler offers practical advice for turning our fears into opportunities and living better, braver lives. This inspiring book challenges readers to face their fears and live unapologetically, something we can all strive to work towards in our lives. I recommend everyone add it to their summer reading list.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

These Quotes from Ancient Wisdom Are Especially Resonant Right Now

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” —Sun Tzu “This quote has taken on a deeper meaning and allowed me to remain optimistic over the last few months. I remind myself that amidst these unexpected circumstances beyond our control, there are opportunities. For me, it’s been an opportunity to reset, to replace bad habits with good ones, and to reflect what changes I’d like to make in my daily life going forward.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

15 Things We Hope Won’t Go Back to “Normal” After COVID-19

“As we shift from ‘old normal’ into the next normal, I hope that the time management strategies I’ve developed remain so that excuses don’t make a comeback. So many times before, when I would get home from the office, I would feel too tired, too drained, or too lazy to work out. I am now so much better about working out every day after work. I’ve replaced excuses and laziness with the motivation and effective time management strategies to take care of myself. Let’s commit to saying goodbye to excuses that don’t benefit us!” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

How to Practice More Compassion at Work During COVID-19 and Beyond

“One way I plan to lead with compassion and empathy in our next normal is through being more considerate of others’ time. Previously, I operated with a sense of urgency most of the time. I understand now that what might be urgent to me may not be urgent for someone else for a variety of reasons. Being respectful and understanding of others’ time will be necessary as we continue to adapt to evolving circumstances.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

How to Stay Motivated to Reach Your Movement Goals at Home

“I’m using my Apple Watch to help me stay motivated to keep up with my movement and exercise at home. There is nothing I love more than closing my move and exercise rings before I go to bed. One way I do this is by turning reminders on to ensure I’m moving every hour. Additionally, I usually work out after my workday and won’t end my workout until I’ve hit my goal. Having measurable goals to work towards helps keep me accountable.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

How to Set Boundaries and Avoid Burnout While Working From Home

“Previously, when I left the office for the day, I would shut down my laptop and pack it away into my bag so that it was out of sight. Now that there are blurred lines in our environments, I’ve created a new way to signify the end of a workday and set boundaries for myself. Instead of packing my laptop into my bag when I’ve finished working, I turn my laptop off and put it in my closet. This prevents me from logging on throughout the evening so that I can enjoy my non-working hours.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

How to Minimize Meetings to Increase Productivity at Home

“I’ve minimized meetings that are detracting from my productivity by opting for emails when applicable. I noticed that I had multiple recurring check-ins on my calendar that usually occur in person, but have since changed them to email check-ins to free up my calendar for the time-being. Adapting meetings is crucial to maintaining high levels of productivity. Sometimes a short email is more than enough to get a message across!” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Creative Ways to Find Community and Connection While Social Distancing

“I’m leaning on snail mail and handwritten cards to help me keep my sense of community. I have always been a big fan of handwritten cards and notes, and I’m using them to surprise my friends and family members. What I love most about sending mail is that it not only comes as a surprise to the recipient, it sparks a conversation upon being received. I always receive a text or a phone call after the fact, which offers more opportunity to connect.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Try These Creative Tips for Getting Quality Sleep During Challenging Times

“When the coronavirus crisis first began, I noticed I wasn’t feeling tired enough to fall asleep at night, and lying in bed wide awake caused my anxiety to spiral. I realized that I wasn’t moving my body enough during the day, and the lack of movement was contributing to how restless I felt at night. Over the last few weeks, I’ve prioritized taking a walk or a jog when I’m feeling up for it. Ensuring I get some movement throughout the day allows my body and mind to relax so that I can get a good night’s rest.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

These Conversation Starters Will Help You Stay Connected With Loved Ones — Without Talking About the Coronavirus

“I’m taking the lead on creating a virtual book club with my coworkers so we can stay connected and engage in conversation that isn’t related to work. We thought it would be fun to vote on books to read together, and then video call once a week to discuss what we’ve read. I’ve found that having a specific item or topic to bond over, such as reading the same book at the same time, enhances virtual conversations and connections in a meaningful way.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Small Yet Meaningful Ways to Give Back to Your Community Right Now

“A local coffee shop nearby started a ‘Pay It Forward’ board. I purchased a couple of large coffees that any essential employees can redeem at a later time. With the ‘Pay It Forward’ board, contributors can gift a coffee to anyone they choose, while simultaneously supporting a small business. This particular coffee shop also donates a portion of every purchase to non-profit organizations, so the giving extends beyond our local community.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

How to Find Purpose and Meaning in Challenging Times

“At the end of each week, I review my week as a whole and use my responses to determine how to spend my weekend. If I feel exhausted, I prioritize napping and extra rest. If I feel productive, I prioritize trying a new hobby or taking an online class. With this new practice, I am learning how to respond directly to how I’m feeling, which is something I haven’t put into practice before.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Read These Books to Help You Stay Resilient and Optimistic

“I just finished reaching Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. It was irresistibly honest, transformative, and heartwarming. Gottlieb takes readers on a deep and personal journey as a therapist and a patient of a therapist. I chose this book right now because it allowed me to escape back to our less-than-perfect reality. This book reminded me that none of us are immune from hard times, and that tough times pass, and help us grow as individuals.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Try These Creative Ideas to Help You Bond as a Family Right Now

“My fiancé and I work in separate rooms during the day, and once the workday ends, we bond by getting outside and clearing our heads. We put our phones away and go on a walk to either pick up food from a local restaurant, or just to get some fresh air. Spending some time outside of our apartment is a non-negotiable for us and allows us to de-stress and reconnect after work.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

Try These Unexpected Tips to Help Boost Your Focus at Home

“I’m leaning into calendar blocking now more than ever. Calendar blocking is simple and consists of blocking time for all of your tasks, events, and routines. I used to rely on the exercise primarily for work-related tasks, but now I’m utilizing this scheduling hack to ensure I’m also making time for the activities that boost my productivity and alleviate stress, like taking a walk. Planning how I’m going to spend my time is helping me manage my time while allowing me to stay focused.” —Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO

How to Stay Focused and Productive When Working From Home

“When working from home, I always try to leave my apartment for a short break just as I do at the office for a quick reset. Most often, I’ll run out and grab a coffee before my day starts, or pick up some lunch. Leaving my apartment and workspace for a brief period of time allows me to move my body, get some fresh air, and provides me with a mental reset so that I can ensure I am productive upon returning to my work.” — Alyssa Swantkoski, executive assistant, Denver, CO
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