One of the most common phrases I’m hearing right now is, ‘I can’t wait for things to get back to normal’, and as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, the feeling that this ‘normality’ is coming back may be comforting. But if you think things are going to fall back into place as they were, think again.
From what I’ve seen over this period of isolation, there has been a stoking of the entrepreneurship fire for many — whether that has been to evolve existing services and products, or to launch totally new competitors, hungry to heed the call of people who were forced to consider alternatives.
This means you and your team need to be prepared for another tough period ahead: the rebuild. Except this time the pressure will be on to construct it twice as fast and to make up for time lost during the past two months. While I’m not the expert that can help with how to rebuild things or what tools to use, I do have some tips that will help you and your team handle the pressure better, and not burn out if you choose to put the ‘foot to the floor’ so to speak.
1. Don’t forget to reboot your system now and then
I’m confident that if you’re reading this you know that hard work equals results. One thing I know for sure though is that hard work plus short breaks equals quicker results. This may seem illogical at first, because if you’re resting, you’re not working and therefore you’re taking time away from achieving your goal. However, the science is conclusive that taking short breaks to rest and recharge actually increases your productivity.
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Meditation is a perfect exercise to try in these short breaks as it ‘restarts’ your system; clearing all the tabs that were open in your head so you can operate quicker and more proficiently.
2. Remember one of the golden business secrets: look for ways to work smarter, not harder
One habit a lot of business owners are guilty of is strapping on the tool belt and just ‘getting in to it’. Although the discipline of showing up and getting to work is essential for business performance, taking a moment now and then to ‘sharpen the tools’ or even look for better ones could save yourself a lot of casualties, pain and time.
Now is a good time to do this. Strategise your plan of attack before you send the troops out at full speed.
COVID-19 was a big lesson in self-awareness — it exposed a lot of businesses that were dependent in certain areas. Moving forward, it will be those that proactively look for ways their business may be disrupted that will be best positioned to sustainably perform.
Developing yours and your team’s self-awareness through different mindfulness exercises will therefore serve you well in weathering any future storms that are sure to return at some stage. This can be anything from taking time out of evaluate your business, writing down what is working and what is not, to recognising the signs when you are getting stressed and simply working and rallying the troops for the sake of it, rather than taking a quick time out to reset and decide if it’s the best use of time
3. Make mental fitness just as much as a priority as physical fitness and healthy eating
Right now, a lot of people are feeling quite anxious with a sense of pressure to perform coming out of COVID-19. Reassuring your team and providing them with support and services, particularly around their mental health, will strengthen their loyalty and help them perform at their best.
An easy way to make this happen is to schedule ‘mental fitness time’ in your’s and your team’s weekly schedule. I would recommend 20-30 minutes, three times a week, where you pull the team together, if you can, to participate in a mindfulness or meditation exercise.
If you have any resistance to the ‘buy in’ of these sessions I often find it helps to let people know that some of the world’s most successful and creative people practice meditation and mindfulness regularly. This includes the likes of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs when he was alive.
COVID-19 has certainly shaken the economy, but those that can position themselves well and adopt practices that will help them rebuild as quickly as possible will not only be able to bounce back quicker, they may also find themselves in a better position before the pandemic hit.