Nobody wants to be under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). But it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it. As we are about to enter Week 2, here are three tips to keep making the most out of it.
First, write down your goals.
While I am one of the blessed who work from home and still draw a paycheck (my heart goes out to the no-work, no-pay people), I expect to have more free time. Consider that I don’t have to drive to work and back home, a daily task that usually lops off three to four hours of my waking time.
As I write this, I am looking at a mini-white board where I wrote down what I want to accomplish. They include book writing, training projects and personal development. This does not mean that I don’t have recreation during ECQ. After spending a day well, I reward myself by reading a comic book.
Remember, if a goal is not written down, it does not exist. Goals that remain floating between your two ears are notorious for being forgotten. I prop up my white board on my home desk so I can decide what to tackle for a particular day and alert myself where I am slacking off.
Second, develop value-adding habits.
A wise business owner knows that when he goes through a low season, he invests in training rather than skimp on it. This is to take advantage of the downtime by instilling his people with sharper skills and attitude. Then, when business picks up again, his team is stronger than ever.
You are always in business. It so happens that the product is YOU. Therefore, like that owner, invest time, effort and perhaps money to acquire habits that you know will vastly improve your work performance. When you improve yourself, you increase your value.
It is said that it takes 14 or 21 days to build a habit. Coincidentally, that is about how long this ECQ will last. So why not leverage this period when we are less frenzied or distracted to acquire those habits? Do them daily until they become automatic when things go back to normal. You know you have successfully established a habit when you feel queasy if you had spent a day skipping that routine.
Value-adding habits would include:
- Have a consistent sleeping and wake-up time
- Start the day with prayer or reflection
- Do squats or go brisk walking
- Get out of the house to sunbathe
- Shift your diet to more fish and veggies
- Practice intermittent fasting
- Read more, use social media less
- Bond with spouse and kids
Third, tackle one-time, big-time projects.
I certainly don’t want a sickening feeling that once the ECQ is over, I have little to show for it. I am sure that you don’t like that, either. So bring out your bucket list. If you don’t have a bucket list, now is also a good time to write one. Of course, there are obvious constraints. For example, now is hardly the time to go backpacking across Europe.
So prioritize the items you can do at home. Then take out your calendar and block off chunks of time to do what you’ve always been dreaming of doing.
Do you want to:
- Write a book?
- Forge your personal branding?
- Spruce up your personal website?
- Learn a new language?
- Upgrade your skill?
- Create new training decks?
- Do a Marie Kondo spring cleaning?
Quarantine gives us the gift of downtime. Use this gift wisely. Write down, review and implement your goals. Do incremental steps geared towards improving your value. Indulge in special projects that will give you a sense of fulfillment.
Once this is over, we will emerge stronger, happier and more productive than before.
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