There is no doubt that we are in a historically unprecedented time, a time filled with new challenges and scenarios. Like many of you at home, I’m trying to walk the different lines of partner, parent, and employer. Whether it’s the balance of trying to keep my kids sane while they’re cooped up away from their friends, or figuring out how my wife and I can both efficiently work from home, these are novel situations that have required a lot of adapting and adjusting. As we all move forward under these new norms, I just wanted to share a few things in regards to self-awareness and communication to think about in the coming days:
- How are my personality and my family’s personality cooperating/conflicting with each other?
With personality and behavioral assessments being the tools I’ve built so much around, of course it’s one of the first things I’m going to be thinking about when trying to navigate this space. For those unfamiliar with “personality profiling,” we have our natural way of behaving, who we are at our core, and our adaptive behavior, the way our behavior operates under stress or new environments. For our families at home, we’re prone to showing our natural styles and by this time, we probably have a pretty good understanding of the behavioral patterns of our loved ones. But if we’re properly following stay at home guidelines, we’re now cooped up together 24/7, which also means the stressors from schooling and work are also in this space. What this can lead to is a whole new dynamic of behavior in the house because now we’re balancing natural and adaptive styles, and there might be new behaviors showing up that we’re not all used to dealing with in regards to each other. This doesn’t mean that we don’t know each other or don’t actually like each other if tensions arise; all this means is that we have some more room to grow in understanding one another.
2. How do I create structure in my house for my family when the world outside is unstructured right now?
This might seem like a chaotic answer when I say this, and stick with me until the end, but perhaps it’s okay to be a little loose right now. My advice is not to throw structure completely out the window: try to find structure in your work schedules and keep your kids regularly attending their online school (if school is in session). But when these set and structured hours are done with, let’s flex our abilities in understanding and communication. Let me tell you a story my friend told me about her kid. She couldn’t get him to do his homework and he’s sitting there fidgeting. She keeps pushing him and asking “why won’t you do your work?” and his response was “Mom, I just need to go dig a hole.” So you know what she did? She let him dig a hole. He spent hours outside at it, but when he was done, he did his homework. Maybe your kids don’t need to dig a hole, but think about this: they’re young and very likely confused — possibly scared — about everything that’s going on. Their schedules are interrupted and they’re physically cut off from many of their social channels. That’s tough for a developing human! By understanding this, applying some leniency in the rigid time structures we think we need to have in place might actually create a better home environment.
3. There’s so much out there on personality and self-awareness, where do I start?
The good news, if you’re reading this, you’re already one step closer in the process. There are plenty of great resources to get you started on the right foot in the ongoing journey of self-improvement. Assessments24x7 has a load of great, free resources that can give you a basic direction of which way you should go in terms of assessments that can help you understand yourself more intimately. In addition to that, here at Profile we’ve been steadily putting out articles that take a closer look into different topics and scenarios in regards to personality, behavior, leadership, communication, self-awareness, and so much more. It’s all conveniently located on Medium, and if you click here, you’ll find yourself in the right place.
4. With so many public spaces being shut down, how do I fill my free time productively?
If you’re someone who has taken the time to read this, you’re most likely someone like me who hates wasting even a single minute that could be productive. It’s easy to think this is the time to get things done because people are stuck at home twiddling their thumbs, but because so many of us are now working from home, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of making every waking minute of ours revolve around work and productivity. It bears repeating that we are in an unprecedented time in history; so many of our norms are no longer there and some may never return. Maybe you need to hear it bluntly: it’s okay not to be 100% productive during this time. I understand we are prone to defining our value by our work and our productivity, but it’s also important to remember that we are still humans outside of those spheres. If you find comfort in busting your tail even after work hours, then that’s good on you. But if you find yourself feeling guilty for binging a Netflix series or for spending time learning a new hobby just for yourself, know that there’s nothing wrong with that either.
5. I find it hard to focus on my work given our new parameters of working, how do I fix that?
One of the best ways to not fall out of rhythm with a new system of working is attempting to keep your normal routines up. Working from home instead of going to the office? Wake up at your regular time and run through the routine of getting dressed and ready for the day even if you’re just walking downstairs to work instead of driving to the office. Our brains are freakishly effective at running on auto-pilot, and by holding onto our regular routines instead of changing up the system and working from bed in our pajamas, we are more easily able to keep in touch with our old rhythms. And if you’ve tried avenues in this vein to keep things running smoothly and still find yourself struggling, maybe it’s time to think about if you have any personal days you can take to recharge and recalibrate. I say this because as good as our brains are at auto-pilot, they’re also equally efficient at subconsciously processing and holding onto stress — and we are, no doubt, living in stressful times. At the end of the day, one of the most powerful skills one achieves in the journey of self-awareness is knowing when to pause and apply some self-care — this could surely be one of those moments.
Whether you’re nervous, confident, or somewhere in between about the days to come, know, first and foremost, there is a large community and an even larger pool of resources out there (including us here at Profile) to provide comfort, guidance, and direction in these uncertain times. We hope some of the tips we have here can add some ease in these tenuous situations and, of course, we hope you’re staying home and staying safe.