I wanted to take a break from my regular blog posts, to address the most pressing issue we are all facing – the coronavirus. I am not an infectious disease expert and I cannot provide general public health guidance to businesses or employers. However, I can offer suggestions to help individuals and organizations make the most of time spent teleworking or not working.
Simply put, I encourage you to consider activities to Sharpen the Saw – the 7th of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The following list represents my Top 10 suggestions for ways you can “Sharpen the Saw” during a period where your ability to “do your job” may be disrupted:
1. Strategize: When we are in the throes of our work, we commonly sacrifice the important for the perpetual urgent. Revisit the goals and objectives of your organization. Create or update your personal strategic plan. Define your priorities and action plans for the next one, three, and five years.
2. Learn: Reassess the skills you need to be the best version of yourself at work and home. Identify and participate in webinars or online training to support such needs. Refresh the list of books you want and need to read. Read or listen to them.
3. Write: Keep a journal. Dedicate time on a daily basis. Capture thoughts and ideas from the books you read and training you take. Record your observations regarding your own habits and opportunities to improve. Or simply write messages of appreciation to colleagues and friends.
4. Teach: Make a list of those things you do or know, professionally or personally, that would benefit others. Pick one area and develop your own training program. Prepare and offer a one-hour webinar or future lunch-and-learn.
5. Connect: Schedule individual calls with your employees or colleagues. Take advantage of available time to get to know each other on a deeper level. Understanding each other’s values, motivations, and stories will profoundly impact how you work together in the future.
6. Exercise: Take advantage of the time available to build healthy habits. Schedule a time daily for exercise. Get outside. Breathe fresh air. Build a ritual for exercise that you can sustain when life returns to normal operations.
7. Play: Remind yourself what it was like to be a child. Value and make the most of time available with your own children or other family members. Break out a favorite board game. Play cards. Toss a ball. Turn off the TV and laugh a little.
8. Pursue: What hobby have you neglected? What interest have you never pursued? Now is the opportunity to embrace neglected hobbies. Include time in your daily or weekly routine to pursue the hobby.
9. Balance: Define what healthy balance looks like in your life. Consider taking our Life Balance Assessment – which we are offering for free during this timeframe. Assess how healthy balance can enhance productivity at work and personal fulfillment in life.
10. Create Routines: With the disruption to your work and life schedule, it is easy to get sidetracked. Don’t fall prey to idle time. Don’t dwell all day on news reports and social media. Establish a schedule for work (as applicable) and these proposed activities. Stick to it. Reward yourself for productive days.
I committed to doing all ten of these activities as the coronavirus placed a temporary hold on life as we know it. Some are one-time activities (e.g. refreshing my strategic plan) and others I do daily or weekly (e.g. exercise and connect). In my efforts to pursue a new hobby (item 8 above), I committed to learn three new songs on the piano – a skill I’ve neglected for nearly two decades. I just perfected the first of the three – Let It Be! In the words of Paul McCartney.