Viewpoint: Dan Atkinson
18 February 2021
Dan Atkinson, head of Technical at Paradigm Norton, considers four interconnected elements of a daily renewal process that can help us destress, stay safe and thrive in 2021.
I remember my head teacher at secondary school sharing this quote from St Jerome (patron saint of librarians). “Good, better, best; never let it rest till your good is better and your better is best”.
Recently at Paradigm Norton we’ve been thinking about the need to have regular times of renewal and investing in ourselves. In our book club we’ve just finished off 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and he advocates taking an hour a day to invest in ourselves.
There are four interconnected dimensions to this daily renewal which Stephen Covey picks out. With lockdown upon us again I thought it might be helpful to highlight them and how I’m intending on incorporating them in my daily practices. Hopefully this will give you a few ideas for yourself.
It’s important to eat properly despite the temptation to munch away at the chocolate/biscuits you got for Christmas (who am I kidding – you’ve eaten them all by now!). Without the walk around/to the office it’s quite easy to roll out of bed and straight to your desk. Make sure you are getting some exercise – your mind will be sharper. It’s harder in the cold and dark but be disciplined. Don’t forget to switch off and rest properly.
It’s easy to find your mind dulling. Keep yourself sharp by finding engaging ways to learn new things. This might be attending a CPD workshop, studying for an exam, listening to a podcast or reading a book. HINT: It doesn’t have to just be work related.
As paraplanners we regularly need to explain things to clients. In order to explain something you have to understand it well and if you have to teach it to someone you will also become more confident in your knowledge. How about writing up a short note on a relevant subject to share with a colleague?
We work in a very rewarding profession, but it’s unlikely that our core values/purpose is fully expressed here. We need to take time to ensure that we are clear on what is important to us (our core values) and realign ourselves. This is where we draw our direction and strength from. You might do this through meditation, prayer, music, art, serving others. Many people find that spending time in nature helps as we switch off from the hustle and bustle of digital life.
Whilst the previous three dimensions are ones you can work on yourself, this one needs other people. It’s also one of the biggest challenges in Lockdown. We have been instructed to stay at home so the only people we are likely to see in person outside of our household are people delivering post/parcels/shopping and people at the supermarket.
So, we need to make an effort to connect in other ways. That might be a regular call with your team or just a quick chat with someone you haven’t spoken to recently. It’s not just about work, but maintaining relationships, sharing burdens, and developing trust. We might normally do this when making the tea round, across desks, or over lunch. Doing this remotely requires some perseverance and a bit more effort. We need to be intentional and follow through.
Commit to daily renewal
My challenge to myself and to you for 2021 is to commit to having a daily time slot for renewing these dimensions. I often think of the quote from Wayne’s World 2 “If you book them they will come” – put it in your diary and you will make it happen!
The more stressed or pressured you feel – the more you need this daily renewal. I hope this helps you not just ‘survive’ lockdown, but ‘thrive’.
This article was first published in the February 2021 issue of Professional Paraplanner.
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