Like you, I keep reading lists from academics and work consultants suggesting foolish, technical or bureaucratic actions to help me work from home. They did not work during normal times, let alone now.
Following are some simple things I am doing:
Rise early, complete your daily routine as if you are traveling to the office
Two differences in my daily routine: Make cappuccino at home, not picking up at Starbucks. I know it is less expensive, probably tastes better, and I certainly have the time. At least that’s what I am telling myself.
Even though I did not have to, the other day I dressed in a business suit and tie—just to encourage my mind and body to be more attentive. I had several video calls and received smiles and laughs. Seemed to make everyone happy… and me too.
Take short breaks. REALLY!
Really do that.
I walk outside my country house for 15 minutes twice a day. And take 30 minutes for lunch. My union requires I do that... not! But, my mind does.
Monday, I watched a family of deer for 20 minutes by the bay, with cappuccino in hand, and just down the road there are cows and goats. They do the same thing each day. Boring, but it puts things in perspective for a short period of time.
You can do the same in the city or suburbs. Watch what is passing you by. Most of us do not notice things in normal times.
Exercise also keeps both our bodies and minds healthy. I’m making use of the home gym, every morning at 6 a.m. Perhaps you have forgotten exercise equipment stored in the back of a closet. For those that don’t have a home gym, go for a run or bike ride or take one of the many online classes gyms and other fitness companies are offering for free through their app or YouTube.
I have always made lists. But now, I schedule everything into Outlook including breaks. I mean everything, religiously. List of things to do today. Lists of things to do tomorrow. Calls today. Calls for tomorrow. All scheduled in Outlook. Probably still miss things, but very little.
Turn off television and radio
Speaking to many people on phone or conference calls all day—you can hear TV news in the background. That’s distracting on a call... and does not permit focus.
Upsetting news pounding all day will just depress us. I’ve always received news alerts by email from reliable news organizations. For business: the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. For NYC info, the New York Post. Also, listen to POTUS, NY governor and NYC mayor news conferences each day. If I need more information about something, then I dive in online.
DO NOT download anything
One of our overseas team did this the other day. Don't—unless it’s something you know and really trust. Even then, you might check with the source BEFORE you download. There are far too many phishing scams online, especially today.
Info on virus
Unsubscribe to all sales and nonsense emails we receive. Frees up space to focus on what is important right now.
Calls to family and friends
Every morning, I make my calls to Europe. Every evening, I call Asia. Also, in the early evening, I call family and friends, particularly those who I have not seen or talked with in some time. All welcome those calls, especially through this isolation period.
Give even a small donation to your favorite charity.
As we all face a cash crunch, many are in need. And, charities helping the needy are facing pressure as corporate and other donors evaporate.
Since the early days of building neighbors’ log cabins, Americans have always been charitable. Now is the time to demonstrate those American qualities of kindness and charitable giving. In current times, the need is greatest.
Give something, even very small if possible. It will be very much appreciated. And you will feel like you accomplished something good that day.
These are things I am doing to cope with our situation. Hope they are helpful to you.
Wash hands and stay safe.
Richard Torrenzano, chief executive, The Torrenzano Group, reputation and high-stakes issues management firm and sought-after commentator on financial markets, crisis, brands, reputation and social media. He co-authored DigitalAssassination:Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks, St. Martin’s Press.