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What People Worldwide are Doing to Be Productive and Content During the Coronavirus Outbreak

What People Worldwide are Doing to Be Productive and Content During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Good often comes from bad circumstances. It’s hard to see or feel it as we’re living through the coronavirus pandemic, but past situations prove that we get through tough times as employees, customers, and families having human experiences.

The key is reframing our thinking from “I have to” to “I get to” do something new. We need to be intentional about WHAT we focus on and HOW we use our time.

I’ve been practicing what I preach. Over the past week, I contacted dozens of friends from across the globe to hear about what they’re doing to be productive and content (despite feeling as if we’re going against gravity).

While listening to each story, I quickly realized that other people would benefit from ideas shared and that I have an opportunity to spread hope, inspiration, and happiness beyond my own home. If I could possibly make a difference in the world by connecting people through my writing, then I’ve achieved a higher purpose. And that keeps me smiling.

Let's talk about human experiences during the coronavirus. Please note:

  • All views expressed are personal perspectives and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations. Each person has approved my quoting them from our dialogue.
  • There are more fantastic stories people have shared since posting this article. I plan to continue collecting and adding to my website.

[Related: Open Letter On Feeling Disconnected In A Connected World]

What people are doing in the USA:

Bob Thompson in California:

I’m using downtime to reconnect with family and friends. Taking walks. Appreciating the good things in our lives.

Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D in Pennsylvania (Pioneer of Positive Psychology):

I’m helping people refocus their minds through simple exercises, i.e. “Put It in Perspective,” which starts by conjuring the worst-case scenario, as minds tend to do first, then moving to the best-case scenario and finishing with the most likely scenario. The idea is to redirect thoughts from irrational to rational. When not working, I’m playing bridge online. (Stacy's note: View all his famous books on Amazon.)

Andy Proctor in Utah:

My formula for staying content is going out into nature. The earth is doing just fine, even if people are panicking. Birds still sing. Plants grow. Sunsets are still stunningly beautiful and the mountains are still majestic. As I’m in nature, my worries seem to lessen and I feel optimism for the near and distant future. To start the workday, I’ve been doing exercise with employees called Loving-Kindness Meditation, which is known to boost relaxation and neurotransmitters like oxytocin to help the immune system. I’m also thinking about my late grandmother who lived to be 100. She went through countless “major world crises” like these where the world thought it was coming to an end. Just remembering that she lived through all those things helps me calm down. (Stacy's note: Listen to our podcast together about happiness in life and work.)

Shep Hyken in Missouri:

I’m an optimistic guy. Not diminishing the danger and impact of the coronavirus crisis, but I won’t let it get me down. With plenty of clients canceling and postponing events, I can complain, but I'd rather choose to see opportunities instead. I’m spending more time writing, researching, reflecting on what’s really important, spending time with my wife, playing guitar, and practicing card tricks. I’m a believer of the old saying, “This too shall pass!” (Stacy's note: Check out my CX episode on Shep’s radio show. And read Shep’s books. It will be time well spent.)

Joe Pine in Minnesota:

I’m spending much time with my wife. We’re reading a lot and walking on the beach at sunset while in Hawaii [at the time of communicating with Stacy]. It’s been a wonderful experience. Heading home and working on new ideas and writing. (Stacy’s note: Read Joe’s best selling books like The Experience Economy).

Nate Brown in Tennessee:

I’m developing new positive rhythms. Starting the day with exercise for my mind and body. Playing Uno with kids over breakfast and other small rituals. Creating space in my home where I enjoy working. I’m putting myself in a good mood by diffusing essential oil and using a salt lamp. Somewhat silly things, but they help put me on a mental path and ensure a productive and happy day. (Stacy’s note: I’m a big fan of Nate’s CX Accelerator.)

James Gilbert in Utah:

I’m incorporating humor any way I can, especially with family. Nothing is more stress-relieving than deep belly laughs. I remind myself of what’s important in life and the work we do in our own homes with loved ones. More than ever, we must contribute to people’s emotional state by being empathetic and allowing others to lift us up, too. When fear is a driver of worry, we must reiterate and ensure stability through care and love. We need to band together for a cause. (Stacy’s Note: Check out our podcast about customer and employee onboarding and best practices).

Dennis Wakabayashi in Texas:

I’m rethinking my 2020 strategy now that in-person meetings are nonexistent. It’s clear we all need to take a step back and rethink how media channels can be used for a richer conversation. On that note, I’m taking time to create better visuals to go along with communications to friends, family, and audiences. This opportunity for artistic expression is something I normally don’t have as much time for, so I’m embracing it fully while working from home to keep ourselves and our community safe. Listening to Podcasts, i.e. Worthix, is a welcome change of pace.

[Related: How to Be an Unstoppable Woman]

What people are doing in other countries:

Ben Motteram in Australia:

I’m staying active. Setting up a makeshift gym, walking in neighborhoods, starting a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Reading and writing.

Nima Bahadori in Singapore:

I’m enjoying playing chess with my son. Also, planning to start a YouTube channel. We’re learning about video editing, digital media, and digital marketing. I’m experimenting with how to conduct online brainstorming sessions. It’s amazing how resilient and innovative we are when faced with adversity.

Anna Choi in Hong Kong:

I’m spending time on MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and joining webinars, which I normally don’t have time for. Also talking to my friends by phone versus texting to have meaningful social interaction.

Jost Bendel in Germany + working in Switzerland:

My family has a plan of what and when we do things. During the morning, the focus is on school. Bavarian schools have a media they open for all pupils with respective learning videos. We also have a family fitness calendar. My son now improves my skills in playing hockey 1:1 (just survived my first lesson!) and he’s writing articles with friends via WhatsApp for a future book. I got my parents an iPad and we’re connected visually. Everyone has a mix of adventure and respect for the unknown.

Alexander Ozbahadir in China:

I’m doing well, though worried about the rest of the world. The worst period here should be over soon. The government in Shanghai has been strict, but for good reason. The idea of a home office moved from a “better way to work” to “I have never been so busy.” I’ve been on Teams Meetings every day from early until late. Going back to the office is fantastic and I value it even more now. Personally, I’m realizing that eating, sleeping, and sitting 24/7 is not a good regimen, so I brought sports equipment from the hotel gym (now closed) into my hotel room (moved in March) and started in-room workouts.

Chris Ward in England:

I’m being creative while stuck indoors. The temptation is always to turn to screens in moments of downtime; however, I’m acutely aware that my long-term mental health will benefit from limiting it. So, I’m picking up a pen, a book, my guitar, or a puzzle. Keeping my mind active. Professionally, I’m learning time management techniques to remain productive and motivated. A cohort recommended adopting the Pomodoro technique, so I’m learning that this week. I’m most content at work when I feel like I’ve ticked things off a to-do list. So keeping those lists active is going to be as important as anything else. (Stacy’s Note: Check out our podcast about customer journey mapping.)

Aimee Kessler-Evans in Canada:

I’ve worked from home for years. Now I’m working from home with my husband and three teenage boys, plus three dogs! In the past, the gym was my break, my outlet. Now, I plan to take my breaks outdoors – hiking, riding my bike, going for runs on the trails. We’ll walk our dogs every day, in the neighborhood and on the beachfront trail along Lake Ontario. I also bought a yoga mat and blocks, so that if we’re stuck indoors, I’ll be able to work out at home. Between my workouts, my Kindle, and my Calm app – along with lots of family movie nights – I think we’ll be okay.

Sergio Rossini in Italy:

Taking Skype classes and learning how to make bread.

Shailesh Vilankar in India:

I’m enjoying spending more time with my 20-year-old daughter and feeling good from it. I strongly believe in Karma and am actively spreading normalcy within my social connections. While we need to be aware, we must not panic. We Indians have a very strong immune system to fight issues.

James Dodkins in England:

Spending time playing music. Seeing more people that I don’t normally get to while traveling around doing speaking events. I’m also busy creating a new online training course that launches soon.

[Related: Embrace the Disruption: Why Change is Necessary]

What I'm doing to achieve happiness.

  • Walking outdoors with my dog and friends and family. (It’s the best therapy).
  • Spending “face time” with my work teams. Laughing while staying productive.
  • Writing and more writing. Learning about the process of book publishing.
  • Expanding my professional skills via TedTalks, LinkedIn videos, and Audible books.
  • Learning “plant-based” cooking. GameChangers impacted me. (See StacysNotes on Instagram.)

What are YOU doing to stay calm and productive? I’m interested in your story.

[Related: Three Questions to Help You Decide Where to Set Boundaries]

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Stacy Sherman's expertise is in designing and implementing customer-centric programs that differentiate brands beyond price.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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