Grace periods

When we experience a significant change in our lives (new place, new job, new people), the existing systems in our life often break. A learning that has been immensely valuable in such periods is to use grace periods.

Instead of attempting to get all our systems in order as soon as possible, setting a simple grace period – e.g., 6 weeks – while we settle and figure things out tends to be more effective. The grace period does 3 things –

(1) It sets a clear boundary for us to take stock. For example, in some cases, we’ll realize that we’re settled by the time our grace period ends and ready to resume normal service. In other cases, we may have to extend it again by a few weeks. Regardless, setting a clear grace period ensures we’re paying careful attention to our systems as we navigate the change. They help us ensure we don’t run with broken systems for any longer than we have to.

(2) The presence of a clear boundary removes any mental pressure we’d normally put on ourselves.

(3) That absence of pressure frees up space for us to pay attention and observe. Sometimes, these kinds of changes give us the opportunity change things for the better by helping us find that our existing systems are inadequate.

What got us here won’t get us there.