Coronavirus - 5 tips on how to make the most out of these challenging times
The world is going through a lot in 2020, and the times are uncertain and difficult for many.
As pandemic spreads throughout the globe, emergency quarantine is issued in almost every country and panic sets in around every home.
Even people who didn't think that COVID-19 was a big deal and no worse than a regular flu, are now worried as hospitals are overflowing, the death tolls are rising and healthcare systems are not prepared for this amount of pressure.
Many of us have never been through something that's this drastic and devastating, and therefore, are simply not emotionally and mentally prepared. Hence why grocery store shelves are empty and people are fighting for the last rolls of toilet paper.
Why? No one can really answer. People are acting irrationally out of fear, out of the uncertainty, danger and a real possibility of the world as we know it, ceasing to exist. At this point, even if we handle Coronavirus well and get out of this in the next few months, many economists predict a global recession.
As governments, banks, public and private sectors are trying to understand the short and long term impacts of the Coronavirus and create a plan to manage the unknown outcomes, we are presented with an opportunity to prepare ourselves. It is smart to expect the best, but prepare for the worst, and as we are still a few months away from "the worst", now is a great time to audit your life and make yourself recession-proof.
Here are 5 tips on what to focus on and what to do during social and physical distancing.
1. RE-EVALUATE YOUR GOALS
Like many of us, you probably set a few ambitious goals for 2020 and, maybe, you have been on track so far to achieve your dreams over the past few months. As the world is changing daily and drastically, it is time to reconsider your priorities and pivot, if necessary. Preparation is key and if you can give yourself a head start by preparing a plan early, you can start working towards the new goals sooner and be in a better position than most.
It's time to re-think your priorities, maybe delay a few major purchases and jig a few timelines. It's not ideal, we get it. But it is necessary during the uncertain times like these. Staying focused and reminding yourself that you will still achieve your goals can help make the process lighter and more bearable.
2. FOCUS ON THE SILVER LINING
Staying optimistic during these times when everyone else is panicking is key. Your mindset should be laser focused on finding opportunities.
Now is the time to set up your Reticular Activating System (RAS) for success. In a nutshell, it is the attention center in the brain and it allows you to focus on the things that you deem important. It operates almost on autopilot, and that's why sometimes, you don't recognize when it is actively showing you exactly what your subconscious is programmed to look for. Here is the link to learn to set up your RAS for success.
Mandatory self-isolation clears up your schedule and gives you some of your valuable time back to do something you've always wanted to. Physical distancing removes unnecessary meetings, outings, and any distractions that don't add value, and allows you to focus on the things and people that truly matter.
Now is the perfect time to strengthen your relationships, and reconnect with your network and people that are important and valuable. Hard times create an opportunity to unite people and allow to build stronger ties that will be beneficial later on.
3. LIMIT YOUR EXPENSES, DEAL WITH DEBT AND INVEST
It's a good time to educate yourself on investment strategies and maybe get into the stock market if you have some cash that you don't need immediately.
During the challenging times we should follow Warren Buffett's advice to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.
Now is also probably a good time to embrace minimalism and give it a try la Marie Kondo style.
Get rid of a few possessions via Amazon, Kijiji, eBay or apps like Poshmark or Threadup, and make some side cash for that emergency fund that you might need later. This way you get to clean up your home and make some money at the same time - the definition of killing two birds with one stone.
Debt is a scary concept, especially, when many people around the world are over-leveraged and most millennials don't have sufficient savings. Spending before saving, student loans, avocado toasts and low paying entry jobs didn’t leave many millennials well prepared to cope with the consequences of Coronavirus pandemic like layoffs and unemployment. The stock market in free fall, and portfolios crashing during this pandemic are not leaving any generation in a good place, especially the ones that planned to retire soon.
Considering all of the above, now is a good time to consolidate your debt from different sources and find a cheaper alternative.
Many banks are offering reduced rates or postponements on payments, and if you have debt, now is the time to take advantage of those offers. It might also be a good idea to apply for a line of credit or draw on it if the rates are reasonable, as none of us can really predict how bad it is going to get and what the future holds.
Self isolation presents a great opportunity to learn a few recipes, cook at home, meal prep, do home workouts and pick up a hobby that doesn't create a lot of expenses. If this social and physical distancing lasts longer than 21 days, it's enough time to establish new habits and a routine. Use this time wisely.
Curbing your expenses and focusing on a budget is something that all of us should do. Go through your bank statements, audit your monthly purchases and remove the ones that can be avoided.
4. ORGANIZE AND GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
Use the quiet time to complete everything you have been putting off or delaying, because you never seemed to have time for it. Now you have no excuses to organize the cabinets, closets, shelves and pantries, do the spring cleaning and get rid of some things that you don't use anymore.
Donate the items you don't need, declutter your home and free up some space. Now is also a good time to renovate, remodel and fix a few things around the house. Organize your digital archives and back up your hard drives. Do it now so you won't have to scarifies your social time later.
If you have kids, and they are going to be out of school for a few months, it's probably a good idea to limit their screen time and get them involved in the activities above. Creating a plan for them and a routine that they can follow for the next few months will also help manage the consequences of the Coronavirus and help you get your life on track faster after the isolation is over.
5. INVEST IN YOURSELF, LEARN, CREATE AND RECHARGE
Now you are presented with an amazing opportunity to improve your skills, look for a new career or get better at something you are already good at. Once we flatten the curve and the Coronavirus doesn't present the same amount of danger, there will be a lot of opportunities emerging for the ones who used the time to get better instead of binge watching TV series.
There are quite a few online resources available that help you learn - Skillshare, MasterClass, Mindvalley, Udemy and more. Now is also the perfect time to read or listen to those books you always wanted or find something new on Audible, Scribd or Blinkist.
These challenging times are showing us the importance of being able to work online and remotely. Which means that, maybe, finding a job, side hustle or a hobby that involves a digital aspect or streaming is a good idea.
The streaming market is projected to reach USD 70.05 Billion by 2021.
So now, as you socially and physically distance yourself, is the time to practice your presence in front of the camera. Your phone and your computer are good enough to create some content, develop your skills and start building your brand.
There are plenty of opportunities for people who are good in front of the camera and many of them take advantage of IG stories, FB Live, and TikTok by making north of six figure incomes from those platforms. As a “IRL streamer” (real life streamers) you can find a niche you are good at or knowledgeable about whether it's cooking, singing, make-up tutorials, workout classes, entertainment, reviewing products online, you name it. The possibilities are endless and if you create valuable and authentic content, you will find a group of dedicated fans and followers.
Use this time to transform yourself from a consumer of content into a creator, and start a podcast, vlog, blog or, maybe, an online store or a brand on Shopify or Etsy. Some of the most successful startups that were founded during the last recession in '08-'10 are Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Venmo. Maybe, you will be the founder of the next global success.
Last but not least, as you are using the time in isolation for personal development and growth, don't forget to focus on resting and recharging. Spending time with your loved ones, connecting with your friends and helping out charitable causes during these trying times is also important. Check in with your extroverted friends, they might be having a rough time.
Most importantly, appreciate the stillness and calm you are getting, because, let's be real, the world rarely ever shuts down like this.