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Prepare versus Wait

We can all agree that 2020 has not gone to plan. The entire globe has been put on hold until we are told to go back to normal. Going out to dinner, traveling to another country or even shaking hands / hugging are out of bounds for now and into the foreseeable future. Let me not forget the families and businesses (big and small) struggling to stay in the black. The big question is what the new normal will look like when this is over?

Personally, the last few weeks have been a fascinating (and challenging) experience. My motivation for various things has changed. I was listening to a podcast today that changed my perspective allowing me to look at the current situation differently. Three simple words that sum this up: prepare versus wait. Said differently, instead of waiting for this pandemic to be over, are there things you can do to get ahead of this. That way when we’re back to normal you can capitalise on them.

My personal life

Dealing with my routine and making major adjustments has been my biggest challenge. First, I’m working from home every day when I typically do it once or twice a week. Second, the gym in which I would attend at least 5+ days a week has been closed now for nearly three weeks. Third, my traveling schedule (e.g. commute and air travel) has been eliminated. This means the time where I read books and blogs as well as catch up on the news has disappeared.

Now the time I have every day hasn’t changed. One would argue I have more time to read and blog at home. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. I’m not one for gaming or binging on Netflix. Instead my time has been going to walking outside early in the morning, cooking healthy meals and to be honest my day job. This forms part of my new daily routine where I’m trying to establish structure and boundaries between my working time, relationship time and personal time. It hasn’t been easy but I’m getting there.

My working life

What’s surprising is how incredibly busy I’ve been at work. I’m constantly saying yes to everything being asked. I want to help my organisation continue to move forward with helping our customers. Every day our small team is planning and producing on how we can overdeliver to both our internal and external customers. We have developed and released virtual design thinking workshop platforms, digital survey capability, videos, blog posts and the normal customer deliverables. In my opinion this rate of workload and focus will not diminish in the short to medium term.

Perspective

What’s the point with this post? Fundamentally it is looking at this pandemic with a stoic lens. You cannot control what’s going on around you, yet you can control how you react to it. The title hits on this point in a better way. Your choice of control is to either wait for this to be over or to prepare for the future (i.e. new normal). How can you get ahead of it? Clean up the house, go through your clothes, clear out the in-tray are some simple things. How about learning? What’s that course you’ve always wanted to do? Don’t waste this chance to do something that’s been on your to-do list for such a long time.

Going back to this podcast I was listening to. Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years! When asked how he dealt with being incarcerated for more than a quarter of a decade, people thought he would argue about the waiting, the treatment and of wasting so much time. Instead he responded on how he had spent the time preparing. His approach was to spend the time he controlled in order to make a bigger difference in the world. So he did and so shall I.

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