Many of us have experienced nothing like this before.
Isolated in our homes.
Forcibly (and understandably) separated from people we care about.
Worrying about the vulnerable people we know.
Or worse still…
Learning about people who are sick or gone forever.
Set against all of that…
It’s hard to focus on business.
Our heads are spinning with…
- Worry and anger.
- Unexpected responsibilities and challenges.
- Challenging working hours (esp. if you have the above)
- Feelings of guilt or self-loathing — because you’re thinking about your business).
Now, I can’t take all of that away from you.
But, I’ll try my best.
Let’s start by dealing with the worry and anger
(Aside: I’m not a trained therapist. If you need serious help — try https://www.bacp.co.uk/ or another professional counselling organisation)
Right, first things first.
You need to get your head right.
For your sake, and the sake of others around you.
Here’s three simple things you can do…
1. Limit yourself to two news updates a day
I know it’s hard.
But constant news updates will impact your mental wellbeing.
And probably negatively impact those around you…
It’s all too easy to release a stress-bomb on poor bystanders ( family members, colleagues, or suppliers) when you’ve been stressed out by constant and horrific news updates.
2. Use timer Apps on your phone to support this news diet
You can easily set timers on your phone and your desktop computer that restrict your access to news websites, Social Media, and Apps. Using these will help you restrict your news intake.
3. Accept that you can’t change it all… change what you can.
It’s hard looking on from afar and seeing things going badly.
Especially when you can’t do anything about it.
I’ve certainly felt like blaming a lot of people…
“Why the **** didn’t X do X”.
And I felt sorry for myself…
“****ing typical, just as I was about to do X”.
But these thoughts don’t change anything for the better.
After all, if you keep saying to yourself…“Life Sucks”.
What are you going to get?
A Sucky Life.
So what can we do?
Think and act positively.
Focus on our own paths. Focus on our next step forward.
If we act positively and take responsibility for our decisions and futures (whilst not forsaking social responsibility) we can, and we will turn this tide.
Of course, there are many ways that people can and should contribute in this war against a global virus.
However, the impact of a positive mindset shouldn’t be underestimated.
7.8 billion people all thinking positively and trying to take positive steps forward.
7.8 billion people preoccupied with negative thoughts of “that bad person” and “poor me”.
Our collective positive mental attitude can and will help up endure and overcome.
Unexpected responsibilities and challenges
Allen Saunders: “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.“
Let me ask you a simple question…
Has your life and work routine changed considerably over the last few weeks?
And do find yourself with extra responsibilities?
- Looking after your kids on a full-time basis
- Helping your family get through this
- Volunteering and helping out the community (thank you)
And it doesn’t end there…
You’ve probably got new business challenges:
- Staying in business (even if you’re not directly affected, you know customers will be)
- Keeping your team healthy
- Communicating effectively (with team, customers, leads, partners)
- Keeping everyone productive
- Getting deep impactful work done (without constant interruptions)
- IT disruptions ( e.g., slow internet, small laptop screen, working on the kitchen table)
Given all the above…
I wouldn’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed.
What can you do about it?
Be positive and turn challenges into opportunities.
Having to do remote work becomes creating a better work/life balance for now and the future.
Looking after your kids on a full-time basis becomes planting vegetables together and finding the biggest worm you can.
Communicating effectively becomes finding new and improved ways of communicating.
Keeping everyone productive becomes getting more done with a modern project management tool.
Getting deep impactful work done becomes writing your first book.
Now, given that your day has changed so dramatically…
It’s no surprise that your daily schedule has changed too.
Challenging working hours (esp. if you have KIDS)
Do you feel like this?
“I never had enough time. Now I have less time and even more to do.”
I get it. I really do.
I’m going through these same challenges.
What can you do about it?
Here’s eight battle tested ideas…
- Do have a dedicated work space — it’s important for both personal and business reasons — so you’re switched on during the day and switched off after it. Set boundaries and get your family on board with this idea (my 4yr old boy just about gets it)
- Do a split shift with your partner. (My working day now starts at 5 am)
- Do give yourself a break — nobody expects you to work at 100% of your potential right now
- Do eliminate all non-essential work. I add projects/tasks to three lists: Now, Future, On Hold — a similar system might work for you.
- Do block out a minimum viable day in your calendar — e.g. 10-11 am customer email inquiries, 3pm-4pm process orders.
- Do embrace imperfection — install a “that’s good enough” attitude
- Do turn precious working time into deeply productive time — Ensure you eliminate distractions and noise. Phone on silent. FB off. No news updates.
- Do go for a walk or exercise if you can — it will help you recharge your mental batteries
Right, let’s move on to the last item on our list…
Feelings of guilt or self-loathing — because you’re thinking about your business)
Is now the right time to be thinking about your business?
Businesses play a fundamental role in our society.
They support jobs and families.
They create purpose.
They create new technology…
Without business innovation, our isolated families and communities wouldn’t be able to communicate via…
So it’s not immoral to think about your business right now.
In fact, it’s a moral duty and necessity….
As a business owner, you can keep the wheels of commerce and society turning…
By providing calm leadership, creating jobs, and paying taxes.
That’s not something you should feel guilty or bad about.
That’s something you should feel proud about.
- Try to be positive — focus on what you can improve.
- Turn extra responsibilities into opportunities for improving work and life.
- Accept that your day isn’t the same — find a new groove.
- It’s okay to think about your business. It’s okay to grow and sustain your business. It’s okay to contribute to society.
Thanks for reading,