A time to experiment and learn—or just to hang on

April 26, 2020

Here in The Netherlands, we are in what some have described as an “intelligent” lockdown. I don’t want to get into the debate of how strict lockdowns should be. I will say, though, that I feel grateful.

I can go to the park. I don’t have to write myself a note explaining why I’m leaving the house. And I can, very carefully, have an in-person conversation-at-a-distance.

Still, I spend a lot of time at home. I am used to working from home, having my own business and everything, but of course this is not the normal working from home.

I find myself less motivated than usual. From what I hear, many people struggle with the same lack of motivation. That’s totally normal in these abnormal times. If you’re not getting as much done as usual, if you’re all over the place—give yourself a break.

That said, if you do have some time and energy, this could be a good time to experiment. You could try getting up earlier, or later. You could start blocking off hours of focused work time. You could commit to doing the hardest task of your day first thing in the morning. You could start meditating. (Hit me up if you need help with that.)

There are so many experiments you could run. Maybe you’ll hit on something that makes a huge difference to your productivity, even, or perhaps especially, in this different time.

Or perhaps this all sounds like wishful thinking to you. If you work in health care, or if you have two kids and your small apartment is now feeling very crowded, you might just be hanging on. If that’s your situation, that’s totally okay.

I’m saying: learn what you can. If you have the space, right now, to experiment with different ways of working, then do so. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to learn, sign up for a course. If you’ve been wanting to start a side hustle, start now that your boss isn’t around all the time.

Or, if you don’t have the space, just keep hanging on. You know what your situation is. You know what you can handle, right now. And that’s enough.

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