We’re navigating through very uncertain times amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s difficult to ignore what’s happening around us: a rising death toll, reports of overpacked hospitals that are short on supplies, mass layoffs, social distancing from friends and family, a dramatically different work environment…and the list just goes on.
Psychology and neuroscience tell us this kind of situation causes undue stress and anxiety. Because (as if we needed the reminder), we can’t predict how this will impact us or control what is happening to us.
We intuitively respond by fight or flight. One minute we’re running through the checklist in our head about everything we should be doing, and the next minute we’re paralyzed by anxiety or avoid processing what’s going on entirely.
It’s a lot for anyone to deal with.
And unfortunately, none of these options will get us through this challenging time. So, rather than leaning into the things that are causing us negative feelings, the best thing to do is to adapt.
At Drift, we’re empowering our team how to adapt to our current reality with these six steps (inspired by this post about Nemonic CIRCA, highly recommend checking it out) ?
1. Name it
You might be feeling generally anxious, but figure out what is specifically driving your anxiety. Take the time to ask yourself, what are my two greatest fears right now? This will help you narrow the focus of your mental energy and make everything else feel less stressful.
2. Let go of what you can’t control
Your brain only has so much capacity, so when you let all of our anxieties carry equal weight, you don’t leave room for productivity. After you name your anxieties, you get a better sense of what you can and what you can’t control. Then, embrace it by making the decision to take on the things you can control (and giving yourself permission to let go of what you can’t).
3. Chunk it
Since it’s hard to know what to expect just a few months from now, focus on goal-setting and planning week-to-week or even day-to-day, whichever way is the most manageable. The most important thing is to remind yourself of your purpose.
4. Get present
Your mind might be in overdrive trying to make sense of everything you’re experiencing right now. Use mindfulness to bring yourself back to what’s happening in the moment
5. Test your worries
Worrying protects you from impending threats, but it’s not always worth the energy. Much like taking what you can control, prove some of your worries wrong. If you’re wondering if you’re being productive enough, actually list out what you’ve done today, or if it’s work-related, ask for feedback on how you’re doing. If you’re worried about losing your job, look into the resources that would be available to you if it happened hypothetically to prove that you will be OK if it did happen.
6. Think of possibilities instead of problems
Your normal set of resources has changed, but now that you’ve freed up some brain space for innovation, ask yourself what possibilities now exist in the current environment that the resources that you DO have can help make a reality.
But we know there’s not one tried and true method that will work for everyone. And it might even be a few different things that work best for each person. So we reached out to the Drift team to share additional ways to adapt in uncertain times. Here are a few favorites ?
Frank Schepps – Senior Sales Ops Analyst, on resetting your mind:
You can set your mind into working mode by going for a walk in the morning and getting back to your house like you are “arriving” at the office. You can do the same at the end of the day. When you feel you’ve done enough for the day, go on another walk to have the sensation that you are “arriving” home back from work. Walking for 30 minutes can be a powerful tool to reset your mind from “chill” mode to “work” mode and vice versa.
Amanda Canarios – Customer Success Manager, on managing your mood:
Workout routines, taking walks, and stretching are extremely important to keep your mood elevated and stay healthy. You can also try writing down your thoughts in a journal in the morning before shifting your focus to work. Another tip is to transform the space you work in back into a living space at the end of the workday. For example, pack up all of your electronics and storing them in a desk drawer or a backpack. Lastly, if you can, treat yourself! Rewarding yourself for achieving a goal (or just because) goes a long way.
Dena Upton – Chief People Officer, on showing your work:
Default to transparency by showing your progress on a weekly basis. Get into the habit of starting out the week by sharing your high level goals and what actions you will take that week in service of those goals. To avoid adding more meetings, you can do this through email, video or an audio message to your manager. This shows command of your work and a bias for action on what you specifically are doing to move the needle and progress your goals.
Matt Guemple – Creative Director, on taking breaks:
If you’re a parent, your work may be interrupted more than you’re used to. Embrace it. I find that making time to eat lunch with my kids (both teenagers) forces me to take a mental break and helps me refocus for the rest of the afternoon.
Kari Howe – Director, Organizational Development, on communicating:
Now is a great time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your 1-on-1s. The first question to ask is, how are your 1-on-1s going? Are you just giving status updates or are you bringing things you need help with to those conversations? Prepare in advance, make an agenda, or use a tool like 15Five
to highlight things you want to talk about in your 1-on-1. Align with your manager on how you’d each prefer to communicate – whether it’s over email, Zoom, Slack, or the phone.
Nick Rachielles – Engineering Tech Lead, on removing friction:
A major theme for Drift this year has been removing friction and pain for our customers. Working from home comes with its own kind of friction, but a good strategy I’ve found is leaving a Google Hangout open all day so my teammates can see me and communicate with me – not just when we’re in meetings or via Slack. This way if anyone needs to ask a question, or just wants to talk, they’re free to at any time. It can also be doubled as a quick stand up in the mornings to keep the face-to-face interactions up.
Cris Mendes – Inside Sales Manager, on avoiding distractions:
Getting distracted during the day? If your life/schedule permits, pretend you’re not at home, or at least try not answering your home phone or the door during business hours. At the same time, it’s important to stay connected even if it’s just to check in with a coworker over Slack, Zoom, or a quick phone call.
Kelvin Sims – Account Manager, on using video:
On a (socially-distanced) walk and an idea pops into your head? Film it on the go with Drift Video
to let your customer know you were thinking of them. Video is also a great way to follow up after a call or show a new idea to your customers. It’s even a great tool for internal communication and allows team members to comment or start conversations from right within the video. When things start feeling stuck, video helps me move right along.
Zareena Javed – Senior Legal Counsel, on staying positive:
Create and maximize opportunities for laughter and joy…for yourself and others. Lean into your creative side as much as possible. Be kind to yourself on bad days and remember that any time of adversity is an opportunity to become a better, stronger person (even though doing the work to get there can be tough sometimes). I promise, the work you’re doing on yourself is worth it.
Want more pro tips and best practices? We’re having lots of conversations just like this in the Drift Community. Join us here.