The Opportunity of the Moment: What You Can Do Now for the Future

These are not typical times. Many of us are weeks into being separated from our offices, schools and lives as we know it. Under normal circumstances, we’d encourage people to not re-create the wheel, but this feels different.

We haven’t exactly experienced a worldwide pandemic in recent history. But rest assured, there are things we can do now in our businesses that will set us up for success when things are back to normal.

Be Realistic About Today

To be the most successful version of yourself during atypical times, it’s important to get real about what life looks like right now, professionally and personally. Recognize that what we are experiencing isn’t the aftereffects of a winter storm and subsequent snow days. Just because we’re home, that doesn’t mean we get a break. This is different.

A variety of similar social media posts sum it up best:

“You’re not “working from home” — you’re at home, during a crisis, trying to work. There’s a big difference. So be kind to yourself, and others, and remember that everyone is coping with this situation differently and deserves empathy.”

Right now, our lives at work and home are seriously intertwined. We try our hardest to get our jobs done at home while simultaneously taking care of our families, acting as teachers, and generally, trying to keep everything else from falling apart.

The rules of the game are different. So rather than pretend that everything is normal and we’re as productive as ever, we must be realistic about what’s possible. We can be productive, but in ways that make sense given the current environment.

Things That Can Get Done

It’s a great time to focus on things that generally fall by the wayside during normal times of business. Think of this as the time to get “other” things done. Ask yourself, what can I do now that can prepare me in better days ahead, when our businesses ramp back up again?

Your Systems

Are you getting things done as efficiently as they could be? If you’re like us, then the answer is no. In tough times our mistakes are magnified. Small leaks in our processes and systems reveal themselves. That makes this is a great time to focus on improving those areas of our businesses.

As we say in Shift, “We want to do more with less and that means we have to simplify our approach. To do this you must think efficient-effective and make maximum use of everything and everybody.”

Use this time to purposefully approach your job and streamline your work. If there is a way to use fewer steps to get your work done, figure out what can be cut from your processes. Start by reviewing the basics of what your work entails so that you can determine what does and doesn’t need to be done in order to complete the job effectively.

Your Business Relationships

Our professional and personal lives revolve around personal connections. So much of our day-to-day comes down to the relationships we share with others. But when things are busy, we sometimes let these connections fall off more than they should.

The current environment has put most of our interactions with others on pause, but it’s brought the importance of our relationships with others to the forefront of our minds. As Anne Marie Chaker describes in The Wall Street Journal, “The outbreak has prompted people to grow closer in some ways, as old friends reconnect and neighbors become like family. People have fewer casual interactions, but the relationships that remain have deepened.”

In other words, now is the perfect time to breathe life into the relationships you share with family, friends, and acquaintances.

You can do this by simply checking in with people. See how they are doing. Ask if they need anything. Offer help when possible. You can reach out via phone, text, email, and a variety of other methods. What’s important here is that you take the time out of your day to show that you care how the other person is doing.

Along with re-establishing connections that may have faded with the busy-ness of everyday life, what connections would you like to create? This is the perfect time to get your database in better working order. Spend some time updating your contacts by filling in the birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates that you can use later as reasons to reach back out and take the connection deeper.

Your Education

We always talk about things we can do better on our own. This sounds good in theory, but when push comes to shove, we often don’t have the time. However, when business slows, we can take advantage of shifting priorities to finally take a class, a virtual tour or listen to a lecture.

There are a multitude of educational options available that can be found with a simple search. We personally love the idea of using this time to get an Ivy League education through access to free courses at Harvard and Yale, among many other universities.

There are online platforms that also have a bevy of courses on a variety of topics, such as  personal finance, personal development and even learning new languages.

And when it comes to talks to check out to broaden your horizon, hear a new perspective, or just learn something new, TED has a variety of talks worth checking out.

Times are certainly strange. Things are different than they’ve ever been. Business and life are not proceeding as usual. However, this is a great time to excel in your career and personal life, just perhaps not in a way you may consider typical. To achieve at your highest level during this time, re-evaluate what you consider success. Pay attention to what you can do, not what you can’t do. And then go out and focus on doing those things well.

If you have other suggestions on ways to keep moving forward now so that you’re ready for better days ahead – we want to hear them! Join us on our Facebook page and share!

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