Pandemic Post #5: Together. . . Turnkey? Switching Systems to New Mode

Mar 27, 2020

Most of us are working. . . shall we say, differently, right now? And what may have worked pre-pandemic likely isn’t holding up anymore. And what worked – or let’s say at least duct-taped us Together – during panic mode may not hold up anymore either. Now that many of us are beginning to settle in and re-adjust to a new normal of Zoom calls and chats, overscheduled virtual happy hours (#guilty), and having our own children at home for WHAT FEELS LIKE A VERY LONG TIME (which, to be clear, is the right thing), it may call for Together Turnkey.

I recently spoke to Stacie K, longtime Together Leader and currently Deputy Chief Academic Officer for Early Childhood KIPP Schools in Washington, DC. Prior to the pandemic, Stacie was at 2 – 4 schools per week for classroom observations and support. And like many of us, as of last week, she found herself working from home to help launch and support remote learning. Her days are now full of Zooms and phone calls. And this required a different set of tools. Let’s learn from Stacie’s Together Transition and see what we can apply to our own Together Tools.

1. Review Reality

Pre-pandemic, Stacie was a dedicated digital Together Lady using a combination of Outlook + OneNote + Google Keep. After about 1.5 weeks of the crisis unfolding, Stacie, like many of us, worked with and on teams to safely close schools and launch remote learning. Most days were full of immediate and urgent To-Dos. As Stacie “settled” into working from home, she realized her digital systems were no longer holding up as well as they did previously.

Stacie says,

Each day I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious because I didn’t feel I had a handle on what needed to be accomplished the next day.

Stacie, I feel you. But Stacie mustered her Together Tools and last Friday she finally had a few hours to Meet with Myself.  Her realization was that since all of her work was now on the computer, she was consistently grasping for a paper and pencil to jot quick notes to herself.

2. Re-envision Your Ideal Week

Because she had previously been so digital, the Post-its and random receipts she had on hand just weren’t cutting it. So she returned to paper, and she redid her Ideal Week with the new reality. Priorities and To-Dos and daily rhythms have changed – and so should how we spend our time.

3. Create a Weekly Worksheet

Stacie then created a Weekly Worksheet for next week. She tried to be more timebound with her To-Dos – we call this being a “when-er.” In her old normal, she had a daily train commute where she used to accomplish a lot of tasks and email. Instead Stacie now writes the To-Dos in the spots where she has time in her week. This allows Stacie to not have to click on multiple screens during her Zoom calls, and taking notes by hand allows her to be more fully present with her team.

Stacie reflects,

While there are still many daily anxieties, I now feel much more calm and confident that each morning I know what I need to accomplish that day. This peace of mind has been invaluable.

Together Reflection: How have you had to revise your systems to settle into the new normal? What can we learn from your shifts?  Tell me more in the comments below.