On the afternoon of Thursday, March 12, 2020 a stream of news came out announcing the suspension and cancellation of most every major sporting league and the NCAA.
Over the past 25 days across the country and especially in the northeast, significant restrictions have been put in place to decrease the spread of the Corona virus or COVID-19.
As a result, businesses have closed, people have lost their jobs, food and supplies have been hoarded resulting in shortages for many others, those with jobs have been told to work from home unless their work is deemed essential and schools have closed with online learning being 'the new norm'.
There are many articles and posts about how people are coping, or not, with the current environment.
My experience is probably a little different from most. For the past 3.5 years I've worked from home. I understand the value of having a routine and a schedule outside the office environment most people have.
In mid-January, my position was eliminated due to company down-sizing (I've since learned that at least some people have been forced to take reduced salaries and full hours, meaning they can't apply for unemployment to cover the lost income).
From mid-January through late February, I worked on getting my next job. I established a new routine and schedule. While I became increasingly concerned about finding work as the COVID-19 impact became more significant, I stuck to my routine and it has benefited me tremendously.
What I did.
I recognized I couldn't apply for jobs eight hours a day every day, but I wanted to keep my daily routine as routine as possible.
I mostly kept to the same hours of waking up and going to bed and I got to 'work' at the same time.
Early on, I started by updating online profiles, resume, and cover-letters (I maintain one for marketing and one for project management and customize as needed) first thing in the morning.
Then I began to update profiles on job sites and setting up new job alerts for each. I also created this website, as I found many applications asked for a personal site in addition to LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle/profile.
Finally, related to the job search, I reached out to professional contacts and alerted them to my situation and let them know if they knew of any positions or contacts that could be of help to let me know.
I also wanted to keep up my exercise routine. In the fall, I had started playing racquetball once or twice a week and for the holiday's I got a membership at the racquet club that included unlimited free use of the gym, I started going three times a week. Typically, I tried to go around lunch time when it was a gym only day and after work when it was a racquetball day. So I kept to roughly the same times.
The other key points in my daily schedule and routine was waiting until after dinner for any TV and social with a few exceptions (ie messages on LinkedIn). After dinner, I'd watch the news for 30 minutes while going through Feedly and tagging articles to queue up in Buffer to be shared with Twitter. The article review is how I keep up with industry news, best practice, trends, and insights. I also have feeds of personal interest.
Once I reviewed articles and social, I'd dedicate some time each night to read. I mostly enjoy fiction at night and it helps relax and take a break from the screens before bed.
What I'm Doing Now.
I'm keeping pretty much to everything above with a few exceptions. The gym closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, so I took up either walking each day or if I won't get my step count in, I'll ride the exercise bike at the house. I also dug up a set of dumb bells and an old bench to do a basic workout each day.
I'm writing a blog post a week (or trying to). And I've taken up online courses. I've been starting my day with a lesson or two. I'm taking classes from Code Academy, Khan Academy, and Google Analytics Academy. The courses I'm taking are a mix of areas I have some familiarity with, but limited (such as SQL and R) and ones I'm taking as a refresher (Analytics).
With the weather getting nicer, I'm mixing in yard work with walks. The yard work is both necessary and satisfying in that you get exercise and you get something tangible done. Some of the things I'm doing are annual and some are very much overdue. I've also been cleaning out things and throwing away 'stuff' that has built up through the years, which is also personally satisfying.
To keep with my project management background, I added the ProjectPlus for Agile Chrome plug-in and started managing my day using a professional and personal kanban board. In this way, I open the app and my day is laid out for me.
Why it Works for Me.
I've always believed an individual has to be well rounded.
Baltasar Gracian was a Jesuit priest who lived from 1601 to 1658 and wrote The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle. The book is a collection of 300 aphorisms that provide, "strategies for knowing, judging, and acting: for making one's way in the world and achieving distinction and perfection." (Introduction p. v)
My favorite is number 6 Reach Perfection. "No one is born that way. Perfect yourself daily, both personally and professionally, until you become a consummate being, rounding off your gifts and reaching eminence."
While my primary focus is securing my next position, I am also learning, reinforcing what I know, and keeping current professionally. I am reading, writing, and exercising. And I'm spending time with my family.
I always implored to my children, and I've emphasized this for my self at this trying time, focus on what is within your control, influence what you can influence, and don't waste time worrying about things beyond your control or influence.
Putting these things together work for me. Despite everything happening, I feel good and am at peace with myself.
What works for you?