Dear fellow procrastinators of this world, this article is for you.
Being on lockdown can be challenging but, at the same time, it offers a great opportunity for you to work on some of those boring time-consuming tasks you have been avoiding.
No more endless commuting journeys on packed trains, no more sandwiches at the desk, no more away-days and training sessions in different locations for the time being.
Your headset is now your best friend, you have learned the name of the pets of all your colleagues, and nowadays your commute is from the fridge to the couch. What a time to be alive and experience so much change in just a couple of weeks!
Imagine being in lockdown just twenty years ago, with an awful Internet connection and just Snake to play on your Nokia 3310! It could have been worse, admit it, so let us focus on the benefits of this coronavirus-forced digital transformation of our lives and find ways of using the lockdown time is a productive way instead.
I bring you five suggestions to get you started:
1. Develop your skills
Whether it’s about learning a new language, reading about Disciplined Agile, or enrolling in a Power BI course, this is a fantastic time for you to reflect on your career path and address areas for improvement or specialise. We work in project management, so my recommendation is…have a plan.
Be selective and career focused. What could be of benefit to you now or in the future?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sudden supply of online and on-demand content but there are some nice short courses out there worth checking.
2. Work on your applications
Working on your APM Chartered application, preparing the evidence for your PMP submission, applying for a best-PMO-ever award, reporting PDUs, it takes time.
Trust me, a lot of time. You’ll need to present scenarios, describe competences, present evidence, write motivation letters, find recommendations, etc.
If your workload has slowed down, why not use the unexpected free time for your so-long-awaited application? Go on, you can do it!
3. Organise your files
There are people who have immaculate desktops and others who have files all over the place: desktop, folders, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, usb pens, you name it. Have you noticed the number of duplicated files?
Files in the wrong locations? Odd names? Exactly.This is a boring task but a necessary one that will save you time in the future. Don’t waste this chance.
4. Update your CV
You might be part of the lucky ones whose job is secure but, even if that’s the case, it’s always useful to have your curriculum vitae up to date, including your digital and permanent CV (yes, I’m talking about LinkedIn!).
Consider trying different layouts, creative approaches that stand out from the crowd, and invest the time in building a clear mission statement about you. Also remember to list your recent achievements and latest acquired competences and qualifications.
What makes you special? Why should someone hire you? Start practicing your elevator pitch based on a winner updated CV.
5. Build your network
Your network is your net worth, they say. In a world of digital age and where lockdowns can isolate people, building real connections is a powerful enabler. Networks can bring you solidarity and re-assurance that we are all in this together, they can bring you the strength of a shared purpose and also inspiration, assistance, new learnings and perspectives.
Social distancing does not necessarily mean distance from your (social) networks. More than ever, relationships matter.
However, don’t get me wrong: I have great faith in you, but I couldn’t tell if that you are wearing is your superman/woman cape or just a robe.
I’m certain you are reading content all the time on what to do during your lockdown and might feel that the bar is too high.
You might have children to look after, relatives to help, or prefer to just go for binge watching. That’s OK. No one other than you will have the answer on what is right for you.
I don’t expect you to end your self-isolation period being proficient in Mandarin, having written a book, learned how to cook cod in 100 different ways (unless you are Portuguese, of course), and have found the cure for cancer on top of it. It’s normal to feel fear and anxiety.
It’s normal to be tired and to have lazy, relaxing, me-time. Regardless of your productivity levels, this is the time to breathe (with your masks on, obviously).
PS: Marisa Silva, I hope you are reading this: it’s valid for you too!