STAY HOME. STAY CREATIVE.
Tips for staying innovative, productive, and on top of your game while working in quarantine.
There is no doubt that our lives have slowed down like we’re on an airplane sitting on the tarmac waiting for takeoff. We know we will eventually get to head towards our planned destination, but for now many of us are in an unusual holding pattern. Yet just because we are somewhat “off” our traditional structured meetings, calls, emails, and work functions does not mean the right side of our brain has to sit idle.
Here are a few ways to stay innovative and creative, and to do your best work while the heroes on the front line help us fight through this difficult time with COVID-19/coronavirus.
START WITH A PLAN
Changes in your job responsibilities provide an opportunity to paint a new picture. What do your next 60-90-120 days look like now? What do you want to accomplish? The shock should be over that many of the projects you were currently working on have either been adjusted, delayed, or cancelled — so what can you do to further the growth of your job mission, individually or as a member of your business team? One hundred and twenty days from now, what would make you feel as if you had been productive and had exceeded your own expectations? Perhaps set three business goals and three personal goals. And make them SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This will give you structure, help you set a path, and provide direction in an unpredictable time.
DRAW FROM INSPIRING PEOPLE
If you’ve been watching the news to stay apprised of what’s happening in the world, you’ll probably know what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed. He leads his teams with two things in mind: ‘Excelsior,’ the state motto, which is a Latin word meaning “ever upward” or “still higher,” and “E pluribus unum,” which means “out of many, one.” During this unprecedented pandemic the acts of kindness, heroism, and strength from the people on the front line have been truly admirable. What drives them? What inspires them? In the end, it is their desire to be their best; their understanding that their cause is greater than any fear they are facing; their knowledge that unity and teamwork are what is saving lives and helping people who are sick get better; and their awareness that it is their efforts that are allowing others to get the food, shelter, and clothing they need. We all miss our co-workers, we miss our daily lives — but let this be an inspiration to all of us to use this time to “rise up” — to understand and improve our own minds and be stronger when we come back together.
LEAN ON THE CREATIVE WORLD
If medical personnel, first responders, grocery clerks, delivery people, and sanitation workers are the physical front lines against COVID-19, the emotional front lines are the artists, musicians, actors, comedians and art institutions that are opening up their worlds to us. There is much emotional, spiritual, and intellectual enlightenment to be gained while you allow yourself the breathing time that looking at great works of art or listening to fun, passionate, or thought-provoking music offers. Did you watch the iHeart Living Room concert? https://news.iheart.com/featured/living-room-concert/. Here are four hours of music medicine from QuestLove for you hip hop heads – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_D_g92kYP8. Never visited the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Go to https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/met-360-project. There’s free theatre at https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre. Watch, listen, enjoy — and let the colors, shapes, and sounds refresh your mind, allowing your own creativity to come through.
Dr. Brene’ Brown, in her popular and insightful TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability,” presents research and analysis that supports the hypothesis that humans need connection. “Connection is why we are here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Neurobiologically, it’s how we are wired.” To watch, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o . While in quarantine, it is easy to fall into isolation — to not make calls and just text or email for most of your communications. This is a mistake. Schedule ‘live’ calls, including video calls via Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, or otherwise for at least some of your business and personal calls each day. To be your best, make sure you are encouraging friends, colleagues, and others to do the same. As always, surround yourself with good people with positive, inspiring attitudes. Use LinkedIn, FaceBook, and other tools to reach out to older or new connections. Be proactive and be inspired.
Dare to surprise yourself. What is something that you always wanted to try but you couldn’t because of time? Now, time is surely on your side. Write a paper, write a book, work out (many free home workout routines are available now), lose some weight…whatever your goal is, now you can put a plan around it and execute it.
Just because life has changed in the short term, don’t think you can’t accomplish things you have never accomplished before. Go get it!
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