What Will YOUR New Normal Be?

We talk about the “old normal” and the “new normal,” but what will YOUR normal be once the pandemic is over? The pandemic has an end, and our lives continue moving forward. And we have choices to make. One of them is how your new life looks like afterwards.

The COVID-19 Pandemic forced Americans to pause. Or as some say, we experienced “the Great American Reset.” American culture rewards working hard and being busy. However, this culture caused our daily lives to become so busy that we lost sight of what’s most important—people. Now that we had the opportunity to slow down to zero in some areas of our lives, I ask you this question: Do you want to go back to your “old normal”? I say it’s time for a change.

Zero-Based Budgeting at Work

There is a way of budgeting called “zero-based budgeting.” This practice asks the questions:

  1. If your company didn’t have this particular product, project, initiative, division, department, etc. would you start it now?
  2. Is this initiative crucial to the rest of organization? Or is it a CEO’s “shiny object” (meaning it’s a distraction to the organization’s resources but the top leader wants it)?

Answering these questions takes courage from the leaders of an organization as the result represents lost jobs and lower employee morale. On the other hand, it could mean the company’s only chance for survival if certain areas don’t restart after the pandemic.

Zero-Based Budgeting at Home

Now let’s apply this concept to your personal life. Examine your life in the “old normal.” Make a list of all your old activities. If you have children (especially if they don’t drive) include all of their activities too. Then ask yourself the questions:

  1. Do the kids need all of these activities?
  2. Do these activities enrich their lives or make them more stressful?

Sometimes parents enroll their kids in certain sports they dreamed of playing or lessons for instruments they wanted to play. I’ve heard many stories where people are asked, “Would you have chosen that sport, that degree, that instrument, the choir, etc.? and they say, “absolutely not, I did it only because it was my dad’s dream or my mother’s wishes…” Now is the time to avoid these situations in your children’s lives.

When our kids were in high school (before they drove) we asked them to choose the one sport they loved. We could no longer sustain the level of commitments they had which involved the entire family. I challenge you to do the same with your school-age children.

Your New Normal

I asked myself the same questions and have decided to avoid travel on Sundays if I can help it. I found myself last year doing that often and I was missing my time at home. Below are ideas to help you decide on YOUR new normal:

  1. If working from home is working well for you, then ask for that flexibility going forward. Many organizations will look for volunteers to avoid having too many people in the office at the same time so this may be a great opportunity to ask.
  2. Have your kids choose one sport to focus on, one instrument to play, or choose other activities they’re passionate about. The point is, they can’t be involved in everything at the same time.
  3. Align your volunteer activities with your core values and focus on those nonprofit causes.
  4. Reduce your involvement in other activities that do not fulfill you.
  5. Eat at least one dinner per week with the family. A simple picnic in the summer can be a very fun activity that refreshes the entire family.

So, what will YOUR new normal be? You do have choices. I hope this message encouraged you to reflect on your “old normal” and helps you choose your “new normal.”