Now this article may surprise many of you, particularly those who have worked with me to increase their productivity outputs, but there is simply a time and a place for everything.
During these unprecedented times of quarantine and social distancing (due to the Coronavirus outbreak), this is our chance to break with the so called rat race. One of my favourite authors, Brené Brown, recently said it best: "We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal, other than we normalised greed, inequality, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature", and I couldn't agree more
If we choose to frame our current furlough situation as positively as possible, we would see how we don't have to use this time to try and achieve everything we think we want: e.g.: repainting the bathroom, cross training into a six-pack or finally learning Esperanto. Instead, we could deliberately and mindfully not optimise every living second of this lockdown, and give ourselves space to breathe, recharge, reconfigure, reconnect, realign and, most importantly of all, just be. This is our chance to redefine what 'normal' is, once this is all over. At the end of the day, this is an awful, terrible pandemic we're working hard to live through, so it isn't the time for a productivity contest. Just take a beat and be.
AND ANOTHER THING
Also, look at our environment as another priority. The pollution has reduced noticeably due to decreased air and road travel. Focus is beginning to restore on what's actually important, and it ain't corporate greed, working all hours and driving ourselves into the ground - it's the existential threats to our health and families. One way or another, the Pause button has been pressed on the treadmill of our lives. We have been given this opportunity to get off, look around and take stock of what's worthy of our future best selves and what's not. To hit the Resume button and return to our old definitions of 'normal' would be madness. In fact, wasn't it Einstein who said: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result"? So why go back to what once was, when we could create better? Is my idealism showing?
In the past few months it has been proven, amongst other things, that this great country only survives on the immense skill and dedication of our key workers; our paramedics, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, delivery drivers, refuse collectors, teachers, retail workers and the like. This country has not remained operational because of overpaid TV and sports personalities, so let's re-calibrate and redefine what's considered important going forwards. Now is the time to drive towards more equitable pay for our essential workers - because they're pretty !%&*@?! essential! Our priorities have been skewed for too long and now is the time to course correct. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: never has so much been owed to so few, earning so comparatively little.
We have also shown how viable working from home can be when push comes to shove. Of course, not every job is suitable for home working, but where viable why not? Let's move this out of the 20th century people, but let's start by redefining who we are, what we want and what we need. Then, when we know which direction we're headed, all subsequent decisions become easy to make, simply by asking ourselves: Does this move me closer to X, or further away? We definitely need more mindfulness in every direction, there is literally no two ways about it.
For now however, let's not squander this pause, rest and reconfiguration opportunity many of us have been given, and enjoy the down time; free from deadlines, quarter reports and sales targets etc. There is is going to be more than enough time for those things when the lockdown is lifted, so let's spend the time on our Mindset Resets now!
Stay home, save lives.
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