In search of productivity and self-care: insights from Sonder’s in-house leadership coach

Alita Watson, Director of Leadership and Development at Sonder, has helped empower hundreds of Sonder employees to speak up, challenge ideas, and collaborate more effectively since she joined the company more than two years ago. 

Now, with the team working from home, Alita has been providing even more guidance – specifically around how to be most productive, while also prioritizing self-care. This includes launching a new remote manager support training program, hosting team building workshops, and creating a self-care survey to help employees identify areas and tactics to improve mental health and everyday well-being.

Below are some of her top tips for how to stay productive and prioritize self-care while working from home.

Write a to-do list – While this sounds simple and in some ways cliche, writing to-do lists can truly relieve the feeling of being untethered or aimless in your new day-to-day. Putting your tasks down on paper can help you self-coach yourself in the absence of the structure, people, and  environments that would otherwise keep you in-check. To-do lists can also help others help you to stay on-track or practice moderation; for example, ‘I’ll treat myself to a glass of wine if I get my 20 min workout in.’ 

Create a daily ritual – Rituals have the power to ground and stabilize us, they can provide us with a sense of security and connection to ourselves and the world around us. Rituals can include everything from gardening, meditation, daily journaling or any of the examples above if done with deep intention.

Daily cheer up – Look around the room and ask yourself, what are you grateful for in this moment? (Fact: gratitude is the kryptonite of anxiety). Take note of the things that remind you that life/people are good right now—even if it’s just being healthy. If you have a desire to tap into social media, go to the places/profiles that are going to make you laugh or inspire you. 

Block time for basics – Start by scheduling time on your calendar to eat, exercise, and recharge. Recharging can include watching your favorite show, reading that book that you bought months ago, being present with your family, or doing absolutely nothing. 

Play some tunes – Pause to blast your new favorite song and dance uncontrollably. Do some ‘Lions Breathing’ (let your grunts and growls be heard!). Wim Hof breathing is also a great practice to get out of your head and into your body, so you can calibrate and calm your nervous system. 

Reach out to others – Who can you send a funny meme to, or a simple note to say ‘hey, how are you really doing today?’ Even something small can have a big impact. 

Get outside – Take a work call while taking a walk, force yourself to get up, get out and feel the calming elements of nature. If you don’t have this option, go to your rooftop, walk around the block, or just put your head outside the window and breathe deep. 

Get a hobby – You will never have more time than the present to learn, create, or practice something that’s been on the back burner since, forever. Start simple, put consistent energy towards your passion project and watch it grow. But, also know that it’s totally fine to opt out of a new passion project. No need to take this on just because you feel like you “should”…only do it if you truly feel inspired!

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