A letter to my Work-Friends

Dear Work-Friends

As we head into Week 1 of Lockdown in South Africa, I’m into Week 3 (THREE!) of self-quarantine here in Los Angeles with my family (where I currently live).

My daughters are also into Week 3 of remote learning (otherwise referred to as Homeschooling), and my husband and I take turns with foraging (heading to the grocery store). We’re finding a new rhythm with WFH with ALL of us in the same space, and we’re definitely getting more innovative with finding fun stuff to do together. Last night we did comedy improv, tonight I’m going to teach a dance class and, earlier today, I cut my daughters’ hair. Frankly, I have no idea what the fuss is about – I did each one in about ten minutes flat, and they now both have mostly straight-ish hair…At least I could potentially go into hair-cutting if all else fails, right?

Jokes aside, none of us has a clue about what to expect into the future. The only thing I know for sure, is that the right mindset is the key.

And with mindset, we all need to attend to the following:

1. Re-think the structure of your day.
Include some kind of exercise session (a friend of mine intends to run a marathon over 21 days, by running 2km a day, over her 10m path on the side of her house!!), and a breathing or meditation break (even if it’s three minutes). Figure out when the best times are to do the work that you need to do, particularly with little people around.

2. PLAN.
Or at least start out with one. Have plan A and plan B (you might also need plan C). All of them may have collapsed by 10am, but at least you’ll have had some kind of starting point. Do not put too many things on your list, though. It will be more challenging to complete the amount of work that you are usually able to do in the office. Nevertheless, start each day with a (small) list of things that you must accomplish. Plan the night before. Decide when you’ll be doing these tasks. Tick off your list so that you can see what you’ve accomplished. If the days are a bust because of all the people in the house, try a very early morning session. I’ve learned to love my 4.30am wake-ups because the house is totally quiet and I get a shit-load of stuff done!

3. Decide on your new success metrics.
Over the next while (and we don’t know how long), your key performance metrics and indicators may have no relevance at all. So what are your NEW metrics? Chunk down and focus on some key activities that focus on adding value to your key stakeholders. Connect with people, listen to their needs, offer help when you can, even if you might not earn money from this in the short term. Accomplishing a few of these each day should feel like success.

And then above all, spend a little time focusing on the opportunities that this ‘time out’ might provide. Imagine yourself a little while into the future, looking back on this time and saying…wow, wasn’t it amazing, look at what I/we accomplished……

Not to take away from the tragedy, havoc and destruction that is also upon us. This is very much part of the sobering reality of this time. And, there are some unexpected treasures yet to be discovered. Keep your eyes, minds and hearts open to see and receive them.

With love

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