With the worst of the coronavirus pandemic behind us, we can see more clearly the impact it had on us. Did you anticipate the massive impact of the corona virus on the world? It certainly caught me by surprise. When the WHO informed the world that we were experiencing a pandemic, I optimistically thought we’d get through this in 30 days or so. I made soups, spaghetti sauce, pound cake, brownies, and various other things to put in the freezer to tide me over until the pandemic passed. After a few months went by, I realized this was not going away anytime soon. I took more drastic action such as alphabetizing my spices and cleaning out the cabinet under the sink. As things dragged on, I organized all my important papers and put them in a clearly labeled notebook. The notebook contains things such as will, power of attorney, list of bank accounts, insurance policies, property deeds, and username/passwords. A pandemic was not on my bucket list. How about you?
People who planned their days on the commute to an office, took lunch breaks, relied on daycare for children, counted on school for children, and ran errands on the way home now have children at home and a spouse underfoot all day long. Plus, a pet who demands attention and chores needing to be done, pandemic or no pandemic.
When the paradigm shifts everyone goes back to zero. It is new territory for everyone. Some lives were minimally impacted by the pandemic, and others do not recognize their former life. This puts the cortisol hormone (stress) level at an all-time high. We are on guard for the next danger, no saber tooth tigers but equally threatening events.
The cost is enormous, not only to businesses but to individuals. Stress eating, binge drinking, no exercise, lack of contact with others, loss of income and the list goes on.
Be ”ZOOM ready” as my WPO colleague describes it. This is important because it’s an outward signal that you are ready for work. You are putting your best foot forward even if you are the only person you see all day.
This starts your day with success. You can see that you have accomplished something. It’s a small thing but it’s important.
The Pomodoro method is a great tool. Multitasking does not improve your performance. It hinders your performance. According to some studies, multitasking and burnout go hand in hand.
A 15-minute cleaning/organizing blitz every day or every other day can make an enormous difference. Be ruthless in what you discard. For example, if you find an article of interest in a magazine, tear it out and keep it. After two months, throw away magazines.
Taking care of yourself is the best investment you can make in your productivity. Give yourself permission to put work aside for twenty-four hours at a minimum each week. No work and no electronic devices Saturday - Sunday is a good practice.
The small stuff counts, too. For example, in the spring what a joy to see the plants emerge from their winter sleep.
This is not only good for them but good for you. A short text to say, “How are you doing today? I am thinking of you” could make all the difference to someone.
What did you discover about your strength and resilience that will serve you in the future? Even in the most challenging times, there is always a gift or opportunity. Consider the business owner who discovered her warehouse manager was stealing from the company. She used the experience to strengthen the purchasing procedures and implement safeguards in shipping. As a result, the company was stronger because they took these internal measures.
There is no going back to an in-person 9 to 5 desk job as the only viable way to work. By necessity, we had to learn the technology, the mindset, and the skills to work remotely. For sure, there is no substitute for the camaraderie of your colleagues chatting around the water cooler. However, there is quite a bit to recommend a zoom presentation when you don’t have to spend hours in an airport or on a crowded freeway.
The list of nine things is not in order of importance. While each one is simple it is also powerful. Practiced consistently over time, you will land in a different place and celebrate who you have become under the most trying circumstances. These nine productivity hacks have universal applications to take with you into the post-pandemic world. Resilience has no expiration date. Which one resonates with you?
© 2023 Ann Elliott