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Getting Ready

May 19, 2020

Week 8 of quarantine. Our daily lives have changed drastically.

At home, we suddenly find ourselves in the company of our family 24/7. Which may be a good thing, especially compared to the olden days of 2019 when we spent more hours in the office and in traffic. There are more chores now. Grocery shopping has to be carefully planned. Each purchased item has to be disinfected. We cook more. And judging from the frequently sold out store shelves for baking supplies, people are baking more. 

We’re spending even more time online now. On top of emails, social media, and Netflix, we have migrated the rest of our lives online: teleconferencing, banking, shopping. We even attend yoga classes and play dates on Zoom now. Suddenly, we get to know our neighbors in the community Viber chat group. We exchange details on open pastry shops and vet clinics. 

At work, a quick survey among friends reveals a common observation: work hours are longer and days are filled with even more meetings. Our work lives spill over into our personal lives, and vice versa.

No worries — things will get better when things go back to normal. Right?

When the ECQ is finally lifted, it won’t mean that everyone can just go back to work, to the malls, to parks, or wherever they used to spend their time before this pandemic happened. We’re not going back to the way we were. 

How do we embrace the new normal? Whether it’s about our lives at home, work, or online, here are some tips.

Home

  • There is no more solid black line that separates work from life. If we’re one of the lucky ones, we get to work and live at home. With family, extended family, or independently. Colleagues will intrude on lunch. You will have to run errands during work hours if you are to make it back home before the curfew. Stop resisting alternating between work and life in a day. Live both lives.

  • Don’t stop creating routines and putting them in your calendar accordingly. If you feel like you are overworked and stressed, include power naps, quiet time, creativity time, and bedtime in your routine.

  • Set protocols for everything. What happens if a household member exhibits symptoms or tests positive. If the hospital tells you to quarantine at home, how will the family manage it. Figure out health cards, IDs, and finances ahead of time. We all hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, you won’t have to think on your feet. You just need to activate protocols.

Work

  • Flat organizations will benefit from its members’ abilities to act independently and with accountability. 

  • Roles may change. It is important that you take on initiatives that will contribute to increasing revenues or reducing costs. Bring value to the organization.

  • Your ability to be productive in spite of all the distractions will be an asset to you and your team. There are a lot of resources online specifically tackling this skill.

Online

  • Move your stuff to online platforms. The traditional way — lining up at the bank, using cash to pay bills, going to a physical store for supplies — is just not sustainable. You have to be able to know how to do transactions online. If you already are online savvy, educate your parents, grandparents, and non-digital native Titas, so they too can refrain from outside trips.

  • Learn new tools for productivity and communication: Slack, Trello, Google Suite, Zoom, among others. They’re useful for both personal and work activities. Meeting on Zoom should now be as natural as meeting in a cafe with friends.

  • Be a responsible citizen of the internet. Check news sources before sharing. Set limits on how much time you will spend consuming content online.

  • Secure your online accounts. Stop it with “password123”.

Welcome to 2020. Four months in, and we’re already talking about new lives and new normals. Different folks, different strokes, different ways of coping. I say we stop coping and start thriving.