We’ve all collectively hit the pause button and are now hitting reset. With months of decreased activity, for many staying and working at home, it’s been an opportunity for deeper rest and reflection. Time became more diffuse, as days blended into weeks and months. Many reported more vivid, intense dreams during the pandemic, an indicator of more profound relaxation. We’re now waking up and seeing more clearly. Suddenly long standing societal inequities have been brought into a sharper light and change is being demanded. Society’s the same; we’ve changed. Like the movie “Groundhog Day”, we have the opportunity for a do-over, and based on our increased awareness, the chance to get it better, to get it right.
Get inspired! It’s the perfect time to reevaluate our priorities, both individually and as a society. What do we really want from life, and what’s the best way to achieve it? What kind of society do we want to live in? We have the disruption many clamored for. (Be careful what you wish for!) But the upside of this is freedom and new possibilities. We can take advantage of this to create ourselves anew. Some tips:
- Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a classic, selling over 25 million copies. Some nuggets: Be proactive. Take control of your fate. “People make their own weather.” It’s a great place to begin, realizing that destiny is in our own hands. The ancient Greek philosopher claimed “Man’s character is his fate.” Transform yourself, transform your destiny. Think outside the box, realize the unlimited possibilities, and act. Fortune favors the bold.
- Time management. Time is precious. Use it wisely. “Time management” means efficiency in working and living. Successful people use time wisely. Reset your time management skills.
- Delegate. Multiply yourself. The more you can have others do, the more you can accomplish. Systematize procedures, train others and supervise.
- Prioritize. Start with the difficult tasks you are avoiding. Break them down into smaller tasks and reward yourself after accomplishing each one. Do the most difficult tasks when you are freshest and most mentally alert. For many people, this is the first thing in the day. Others may get a second wind later in the day or evening and be most productive then. Don’t procrastinate.
- Take regular breaks. Every hour, take break for a couple minutes. If you’re sitting, stand up and stretch, or take some deep breaths. You’ll go back to work more invigorated and more effective.
- Think and work deeply. Cal Newport in his book “Deep Work” claims that our absorption in technology – including spending hours a day in more superficial tasks like reading emails and surfing social media – has interfered with our ability for deep work, to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task (the opposite of multitasking). This valuable skill is becoming increasingly rare, almost a superpower, but necessary for extraordinary results. Einstein used “thought experiments” to stimulate the imagination, resulting in some of the most profound breakthroughs in human knowledge (such as his formula E=MC2). You may not need to revolutionize human knowledge, but by cultivating your ability to delve deeply in a non-distracted way into demanding areas such as your business goals and strategies, marketing, inventory and staffing, you can hit the reset button in a more profound and effective way.
- Help yourself and help others. The Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus in “Building Social Business” argues for a new model of capitalism, whose goal is to create self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth as they produce goods and services to fulfill human needs. During the time of the coronavirus we’ve seen an outpouring of humanitarian gestures by businesses, from charitable donations to providing food and supplies, creating and maintaining jobs for employees and developing new medicines and vaccines. Especially Millennials and Gen Z want to support businesses that support people. Redefine your mission to include humanitarian values such as donating to charities, valuing your employees and using socially responsible sourcing and you will profit in the new economy. It’s a win-win strategy.
We’re emerging into a post-coronavirus realm. By hitting the reset button, restructuring our lives, business, and society, we can take maximum advantage of the altered landscape and use it as a springboard to transform ourselves and this brave new world.