Over the last six weeks, we have learned that the world is smaller than ever. I have read a lot of posts about how things are normal, people are thriving and the WFH revolution is great.
What you are about to read is my honest post about how, as an extrovert, working from home during a pandemic isn't revolutionary or even productive.
It is really b***dy hard.
When I moved to New York City this year, I had dreams of a fast-paced, high energy, bustling city. Somewhere between a Jay-Z film clip and an episode of Suits. ‘Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of’.
What I got was a baptism of fire and "Harry Potter" sized bedroom to live, work, socialize, sleep, AND workout in for the next three months (or longer… eeeek).
Having lived internationally for the best part of my 20's, thanks to the continued support and opportunity from Ultimate Asset, it has been interesting to understand where my colleagues, friends, and family sit in the world and how the different markets have been and continue to be affected by this personally & professionally.
I think the hardest part for all of us is our mental well-being. So, rather than brag about how things are ‘business as usual’, share my insightful top tips for being productive during isolation, beg for the WFH revolution now and forever, or even tell you about how successful I am, EVEN in a pandemic….
I am here to tell you the obvious, but potentially unpopular opinion...
I have really struggled to adapt through Covid19.**
There, I’ve said it. Heed the asterisk, because it’s not all doom and gloom. However far from ideal, we are.
Here are my 6 weeks, Covid19 induced, isolation roller-coaster of emotions. For those who do not know me; most people would give me credit for optimism and resilience, an important footnote before we go through this.
Week 1: Fear & Uncertainty
Bad: Being an ex-pat with no government support schemes, family, or larger network of friends, frankly, I was scared. This fear led to unhealthy consumption of media, death counters, and constant checking of the stock market (I don't even invest in the US stock exchange!).
Positive: Had a lot of fun this week, cooking new meals thanks to Instagram and YouTube. I also started a few learning courses and created a fitness routine.
Week 2: Metamorphosis Plans
This week, for me, was like making NYE resolutions but on steroids. I was making plans as if I were to become the proverbial butterfly, entering isolation as a caterpillar. Most of those are dead in the water now and that is because they are not specific or important to me, in fact, it was probably someone's "20 Tips to Corona Glow Up" article that made my mind race. Just to have something to hold on too or focus on. A tad ironic for a guy that is using an ironing board for a stand-up desk.
Positive: I set up a mindfulness routine to be able to Journal, meditate, and keep my network closer to me. I also dramatically reduced my alcohol consumption because let us face it, pandemic or not – Drinking alone in your bedroom is never acceptable (doesn’t matter who is on zoom) 😊
Week 3: April Fools
This week ironically started on April 1st and it was all about me believing that everything was fine and business as usual. Well, it was not. Feelings of despair, boredom, and the world coming to a stop. This is real, this is happening, this is how it works now.
Positive: This was a tough week for me. Having looked at my Journal, I had to constantly remind myself how far id come and grateful to live out my NYC dream.
Week 4: This is life now, how do I readjust?
Walking up and down Wall Street looking for inspiration, waiting for a Forbes.com article to publish something positive about flattening the curve? I'm still consuming an unhealthy amount of media, engaging in doomsday conversations and negativity is a real problem at this point. Not feeling much like myself!
Positive: Ran my first Mile, achieved 10 days in a row of Mediation, and had a great time doing the pub quiz with Ultimate Asset crew.
Week 5: According to the Clash "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"
This was the nagging feeling in my head this week. As mentioned in Week 1, living away from home can be very complicated in times like these. Is it best to pack it in and go home? I spent a lot of time weighing up the pros and cons and decided to stay.
Positive: The Pro’s won for the day, although things were fairly grim on the horizon I was having a lot of fun finding new ways to reinvent fun, socializing and was appreciative for the extra time at home to be able to Facetime with friends and family back home!
Week 6: Hindsight is a beautiful thing
Having reflected on the last 6 weeks, it is important to share its not all doom and gloom. I got hyped by the fear and despair of the media and have not focused on what I can control. I'm now more at peace with hunkering down, I’ve found new ways to be engaged and although WFH is not my favorite, I have made adjustments to ensure that I'm better for my physical and mental well-being.
Positive: Upon reflection, without even realizing, I was able to run 4 miles, Lose 15 Lbs. Complete a marketing course, walk 58 miles in a week and give away smoking completely. I believe this was down to taking it a day at a time. By accident or design, I accidentally became a process-driven person because I took it one day, at a time!
We might be doing this for a while, be prepared that if you love instant gratification, results, and success, it is still there but the definitions have changed. This is a time to reach out to your colleagues, clients, family, and friends to offer support. Reciprocity is a real thing and it can bring us together both personally and professionally.
Ask yourself: What can I do today to support someone that supported me yesterday? In the process, this will help you today, continue tomorrow.
If like me you have struggled to adjust to the new world order, do not stray away from your values, friends, and emotions. Find what works for you, everyone is different.
Stay connected, hang tough, be brave. I hope you have found something to connect within this piece and if you need anything, shoot me a DM, I can talk all right!
Ultimate Asset are a leading global digital recruitment agency servicing sectors that include Digital Media, AdTech, Media Planning, Media Buying, Digital Marketing, Creative, Digital Sales and Tech/Data & Analytics.