In Start Finishing, I defined a project as anything that takes time, energy, and attention to complete. Too many of us are only counting our work or business activities as projects, but the reality is that they only make up a fraction of all of the projects we’re carrying. Weddings, backyard projects, transitioning kids from summer mode to back to school mode, specific projects from hobbies, recovering from an illness or managing a chronic illness, and moving into a new place all count as projects, too.
It turns out that dealing with COVID-19 is creating one, two, or three projects for a lot of people:
- Dealing with your own changed work and life realities is a project
- The additional parenting, homeschooling, and kid management because they’re not at school (or the analog for the caretaking of elders who are staying with you) is a project
- If you’ve gotten sick or are sick from COVID-19, that counts as a project
So, if you’re using the 5 Projects Rule as a guideline and you’re dealing with all three of thsoe, that means you have at most two projects left. Even if you haven’t thought of COVID-19 or the 5 Project Rule like this, you’re likely feeling the exasperation and overwhelm of the additional projects of COVID-19 sitting on top of everything else you were expecting to do and finish.
The upshot of just owning how many projects COVID-19 is creating for you is that you can approach your days with more grace, compassion, and focus. If you know you “only” have a project or three that you can push forward right now, it helps triage and figure out what matters now. Better to fully engage with one or two projects and find whatever flow, momentum, and joy you can there than to be overwhelmed by All.The.Things and feel defeated and demoralized at the end of the day.
The other upshot is that counting your COVID-19 projects as such can help reinforce that being alive, healthy, safe, and connected to the people you love are wins; if you have those, you’re “doin’ alright“. Starting from there helps bring some peace, perspective, and gratitude into whatever else you do that day.