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Updated: Jun 5, 2020

I used to babysit four-year-old Jude. I remember when we played in the yard, he could abruptly switch from running around, bursting with boundless enthusiasm to sit on the ground, all of a sudden! He would then look at me pointedly in the eye and ask, “Now, What?!”

Inasmuch as I’d rather not mention the words “COVID-19”, “coronavirus”, “pandemic” in this piece, they have changed our world and our lifestyle as we know it, willy-nilly. Together with Jude, I ask, “Now, What?!”

Whether you’re working from home or not, everything is not all right with the world and we must admit that we all have been affected, even if it’s imperceptible. I'd like to suggest ways that we can be a help to ourselves and to one another in our daily lives, and especially in the workplace.

Try And Exercise Empathy As A Colleague

In this area where “self-love and authenticity” are the buzzwords, being your true self is encouraged and embraced. Bringing “the real you” to work can help you perform better and amp your job satisfaction. Remember though that not everyone is naturally bubbly and even the usual happy-go-lucky dude or dame may be down in unusual times like these. If you meet a moody colleague, don’t immediately take it personal. He or she may be battling with anxiety or some personal crisis and might not be comfortable opening up.

You can start with “How’re you?” More often than not, the reply is “I’m fine”. You can then follow up with “I know you said you were fine when I asked earlier, but really, how ARE you? I can sense that something is bothering you, and I just wanted to check in again.” Follow their lead on how much – or how little – they want to share. Don’t forcefully probe. Some people like to take time to analyze things internally before they share (or don’t), and that’s okay. You can end with “I value your privacy. Whenever you want to talk, I'm here. I won’t pry if you don’t. This could help enable a healthy and trusting environment.

Say “No” To Your Perfectionist Tendencies

Perfection is the camouflaged enemy of productivity. Do you rigidly cling to habits that no longer benefit you? Do you drag yourself throughout the week because you’re exhausted from the feeling to over-deliver all the time? Do you fail at making decisions promptly because you’re obsessed with not making the wrong one? Remember that your greatest asset is not time, but rather ENERGY. If you pile up too much on your plate, you wouldn’t be able to bring your A-game to every task. You might go through and finish the week, but produce half-baked results.

Be self-aware and hold yourself accountable. For instance, you can set a rule such as “I’m giving myself fifteen minutes to think about this, and at the end I will make a decision and get it done and over with”.

Go through your daily commitments and do the cost-benefit analysis. Prioritize the most valuable ones and give the first bolt of your energy to them. You may find that some daily rituals – such as your meal schedules, or your morning routine – surprisingly drain more of your energy than they restore.

View Your Virtual Meetings As An Experience You Can Glean From.

What's your mind-set as you get ready for that video meeting? If you keep telling yourself that it’s a drudgery, it definitely will be. Tell yourself “I am going to give my best possible. I'm going to make an impact and I’m going to benefit from this.” Dress up. Show up. Focus on the camera, not at your colleagues' faces and their backgrounds. In fact, don’t care about how you might be appearing on their screens. Speak up and own that meeting!

If you’re leading especially, begin by acknowledging everyone present and the effort they put in to show up, with all that is going on. In smaller meetings you can check in with each person, before hitting the agenda for the day. Starting with an icebreaker can be very helpful. Be sure to record and share the link to key meetings so that those who were not able to participate can retroactively access the materials. This would help your meetings be more inclusive for everyone in your team.

Hope you found these reminders helpful! We're in trying circumstances but we will tackle each day as it comes and emerge stronger at the end of all this. Heck, we might even have some fun!

If you have any questions or you want to talk some more, hit me up via email: or on Instagram: @pa.bby .

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