It has been more than three weeks since the Presidential announcement of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). At the onset of the announcement the restriction of movement hasn’t really dawned upon most people until the few days after. It was then that people started scrambling for adaptive measures forced upon by the quarantine. It almost seemed like implementing rules were being created as days went by. Work from home took on a new meaning. Zoom meetings were intense and drawn out during the first few days, as this was when managers have started strategizing based on the situation, but after the 2nd week we have found ourselves somewhat “Time-Rich”. The usual two to four hours a day spent in Metro Manila commute has suddenly been left to be allocated for some things that most people wouldn’t know where to apply. Add on top of that at least 6 hours spent outside on leisure and sports which versus the clear message imposed upon is to “#StayHome!” The question is, what can I do now? We’ve unlocked at least 18 hours a week of our time and productivity. Here are 10 things that have helped me in the past three weeks.
- PRAY! This might sound insensitive to other people’s beliefs but this is mine and it works for me with very practical benefits. Praying feeds my mind and my spirit. It encourages me and fuels my Will to slay the challenges of the day. It provides hope in a desperate situation. Much of The Bible was written under extreme circumstances and tribulation. It is a written history of mankind’s experience with God, in many times similar situations to what we have. We are in a plague but praying with the following verses has helped me through tough situations.
- Psalms 91:7 “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
- Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I believe in a Force and Being that is greater than my fears. I believe that someone hears my prayers. Praying and meditating allows me to be honest and truthful to myself; my fears, insecurities, my concerns and my hopes. It allows me to be authentic and in touch with my value and purpose despite this crisis. Praying allows me to be vulnerable in communicating with my God and aligns my personal will with something greater than myself. Prayer readies me to fight and serve. Start with a pure heart.
- Always have a goal of coming out of this crisis stronger spiritually, mentally and physically. Use this time to train all three things. I planned for times similar to these and have a stationary bike, a kettlebell, a bench-press, a few dumbbells, resistance bands and a yoga mat. Not having these things is not an excuse. Use bodyweight exercises! My wife joins a Zumba and Yoga session with her friends via video conference! No excuses! Train! If you’re in between jobs this is the perfect time to get yourself “Fit-to-Work”!
- During the same period last year, I’ve read “Pivot”, “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “Animal Farm”. Thanks to the gift of technology I’ve finished four books via Audible. These were: “Unfuck Yourself”, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”(Yes, I was grabbed by the F word), “Atomic Habits” and “Outliers”. I hyperlinked Atomic Habits by James Clear as I found it exceptionally helpful and implementable. Same with “Pivot”. I am currently reading “Cant Hurt Me” by David Goggins. Feeding your mind allows you to share what you learned and build more meaningful conversations, positive connections and prepares you for what is beyond this crisis.
- Connect and Serve. Put down the phone and stop entertaining the trolls! You’re making them rich! Have a conversation with your loved ones. Give the best of yourself by serving them. Cook! Do their laundry! Bathe the dog! Learn a new recipe. Use that excuse to go on YouTube. Give to a cause.
- Take Inventory. This goes with both physical inventory, skill inventory and network inventory. Balance your accounts by doing personal accounting and financial planning, take an inventory of your assets (including supplies you have in the house). There might be unused things you might need to dispose or give to charity. You might need to realign your budget. Being in quarantine opens our eyes to people and things that matter most. Reflect upon your knowledge, experience and skills. Assess the value of your connections. Are these positive connections? When you scroll through your Facebook feeds, do a clean-up or hit the snooze button! If they’re just fueling your ire or jealousy, unfollow them or take a break. Know what you have! Evaluate. Leverage your value later on with people who matter.
- Plan your Next Move. (Post Crisis, and In-Crisis). Build a Task or Goal statements for outcomes you’d like to achieve Post Crisis. It could sound something like this: “At the End of This Quarantine, I will be ready to embark on a New Career in a Publicly Listed Company”. This may be wordy, but specific and descriptive. It has to be “outcome or output based”. Many of the moves that you make should support that statement even while preparing during the crisis.
- Keep a calendar and log your activities. Note your challenges, achievements and learning.
- Polish your resume. Align the contents with your goals. You might have a few target industries so you might need a few versions. If you’re an entrepreneur, focus on your achievements. Make yourself bankable and investment worthy.
- Suit Up! It’s important to dress the part. If you see yourself going for another round of interviews after the quarantine, get your closet ready. Shine your shoes (this is somewhat overlooked) make sure your clothes are neat and ready for the role you want to fill. I often get asked how to dress for an interview, and while each industry could be different, the easy answer is to dress for your best day at work! Look the part that you want to fill!
- Connect! By radiating from within connect with those who matter. Family, friends and contacts. Be authentic. Add and create value in other people’s lives. Solve problems and be a solution. Give.
There’s a cliché that goes: “You can’t give what you don’t have” and it is true. By employing an Inside-Out approach as described above, you can ensure the value that you deliver into the world around you. You can live a life of purpose when you’ve invested in your personal R&D. Use this quarantine to invest in your wellbeing.
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.”