Overcoming Obstacles in Quarantine


Wow, who knew that staying home could be so hard?

We at CEEK have been posting daily tips on how to manage your time, maintain your mental health and survive quarantine. While we believe in these tips, practicing them has been hard for a lot of us. We wanted to take some time to show that we are also feeling the weight of quarantine. So, this week we will explore an obstacle that each CEEKer has faced and how they are overcoming it.

We hope this offers some solace in this hard time in knowing that you are not alone and, most importantly, that’s okay to not be okay. But if you’re not feeling okay, it is important to explore tools to help you.

Kristen’s Obstacle: There is one of me

I want to do all the things. Homeschool my five year old, play with the baby, map ALL the processes, while walking the dog, writing a blog, grocery shopping without touching anything, and finding the perfect craft project to make quarantine feel a little less confining.

Accept help and stop playing on hard mode

That’s just not happening. Not all at once, anyway, and certainly not by myself.

Instead, we’re waiting out the pandemic with my parents. It’s three working adults against the two kiddos now. I’ve also accepted the help of my gracious teammates. They have been beyond patient with me as I’ve navigated personal challenges over the last four months and slowly ramped back up during quarantine.

In addition to accepting help, I’m accepting good enough. School is sending worksheets, and Dora the Explorer is totally fine background noise for a quick video chat. Making fudge counts as craft time and a counting lesson. Dinner is grilled cheese, again? Fine. We’re watching the World Series on repeat because that makes kid and grands happy? Also fine.

I’m always up for CEEKing a better way, but a good enough way is good enough for now.

Stay safe and be well!

Steve’s Obstacle:  Embrace Distractions

As someone with the flexibility to work from home, I’m very familiar with the many distractions working from home can introduce. At the beginning of the new year, I made a conscious effort to schedule time working from various remote offices and locations. The diversity of environments enabled me to maximize productivity and minimize distractions.

Then, COVID-19 rocked our world. I now work from home seven days a week. The distractions that I previously experienced from home have only magnified. It’s no longer me and the dog. Now, my wife and kids are home. Phones ring. The dog barks. Kids argue. Space shrinks. And, the news and its impact on family and friends only seems to worsen.

Embrace That Which You Cannot Control

Since the outbreak, I have had some productive days and some not-so-productive days. Rather than succumbing to impatience or frustration, I am reminded to simply embrace that which I cannot control. If you hear my dog on the conference call, so be it. If you see my kids hitting each other in the background of our Zoom call, such is life. If an old friend shares unfortunate news, it’s a reminder of what matters most. And if I don’t complete my daily action list…

well that’s okay too.

Instead I embrace such distractions. Maybe it’s time to take the dog for a walk? Perhaps, it’s time to work out with the kids. And, maybe it’s time for a virtual happy hour with old friends. For me, the work will always be there. Perhaps I simply need to be grateful for that.

Maggie’s Obstacle: Confronting Self-Criticism

Within the CEEK team, I am the only one without kids. I live with a roommate in a quiet neighborhood, and I have little responsibility outside of work. I am grateful to not have to be juggling, work, home and family but hearing the struggles my team members are encountering, I feel an even more pressing need to take advantage of this precious time I have to myself.

The Perfect Time to Develop Myself

At first, the idea of quarantine sounded like the perfect time to finally develop all those hobbies I dreamed about, like learning to code or studying Hebrew.

Then I read the New York Times article Stop Trying To Be Productive. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I have been so critical of my laziness, my lack of motivation, my inability to sit down and focus that seeing those words reminded me that these are unusual times. We are all feeling stress about the virus, we are concerned for our loved ones, and we aren’t used to being home all the time.

Stop Trying to Be Productive

After reading the article, I decided to ditch my efforts at becoming the Top Chef of Virginia or the greatest female coder the world has ever seen and allow myself to be bored. I allow myself to guiltlessly binge watch TV, or play hours of Animal Crossing because COVID-19 is already adding extra stress that I am not even aware of. It’s okay for me to need time to adjust.

This weekend, I guiltlessly watched three movies, an entire season of a show, and I played video games into the night. I was surprised when Sunday evening arrived and I was struck with the sudden urge to study. I spent 2 hours labeling my bedroom with Hebrew flash cards.

Moral of the story: Don’t force yourself to be productive 100% of the day. Motivation needs time.