The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 25th

Editorial: Remembering to put your pants on — one leg at a time

DTH Photo Illustration. Students & professionals use Clockwise as a way to look at their daily calendar and free up time for themselves for a better work life balance.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. Students & professionals use Clockwise as a way to look at their daily calendar and free up time for themselves for a better work life balance.

In the world of Zoom University, we've all become accustomed to the lack of getting ready in the morning. When class starts at 9 a.m., it’s easy to roll out of bed at 8:55 and click the Zoom link right when class starts. 

But with UNC’s intention to fully reopen in fall 2021 with in-person instruction, that approach to time management will no longer be allowed. Sadly, we will have to wear pants to class again.

That readjustment of commuting to class and getting ready in the mornings is going to be a challenge. To help, we talked to Matt Martin, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Clockwise (and a bit of an expert in time management), about what this new beginning could look like — and tips for how to get out of your pajamas and back into the real world. 

Readjustment is personal. 

The key to readjusting is doing what is best for you as an individual. The constant changing of expectations is creating an environment that demands flexibility, Martin said. By and large, people are excited to get back to in-person environments, but that transition back has to be tailored to the individual. 

There will be flexibility and choice. 

As we come back, we are going to have more choices in how we work and learn, Martin said. Whether it is choosing to keep learning remotely or using a hybrid approach, that choice cannot lead to stratification. 

We need to ensure that remote and in-person learners are on the same playing field, but there are unforeseen consequences to both options. The organizational clock and personal clock may be operating at different speeds now that some people are in person and others are remote, he said. The organizational clock is no longer able to provide the boundaries it once did. 

Be intentional in your boundary setting. 

During the pandemic, we have seen the lines between work and life become blurred in a remote setting. Reestablishing those boundaries is going to be really hard to do, Martin said, so we have to be more intentional about it. 

It is going to be hard to put the genie back in the bottle and have a clear distinction between school and home life. Setting that distinction will hopefully be easier as we go back to in-person learning, but unfortunately, the onus for drawing that line is going to fall more on the individual than ever before.

Stop and smell the roses. 

As we go back to commuting to class every day, there can be a benefit to that, because it sets a clear line between work and home. Learning to appreciate that commute can be really beneficial. Research even suggests the best way to benefit from this commute is by constructively thinking about daily tasks, which can lead to higher daily satisfaction. 

Don’t be afraid to take breaks.

Everyone is exhausted from living and learning in this remote setting because it means there is no clear off switch, Martin said. We can’t let that continue as we transition back. 

Perhaps your productivity has been increased during quarantine because there have been limited ways to unwind at the end of the day, but that is not sustainable. We deserve a break — to go to bars, travel or try new restaurants. So, when things open up, we absolutely should take advantage of the things we have been missing out on over the past year.

Care less about being in person. 

There will be a period of adjustment for everyone, in which some of our peers will overcorrect and go to every event they can, while others will stay stuck in the pandemic mindset. While that flux may be a bit chaotic, overall, Martin said human beings always adapt and a new norm will be established. 

One way that will play out is in the cultural expectation of being in person. It used to mean that if you didn’t show up in person, it meant you didn't really care, Martin said. But now that we have collectively experienced the Zoom world, that expectation should go by the wayside. We can still derive meaningful dialogue and space for learning from a remote setting — that lesson is something we need to remember post-pandemic. 


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