What will continue?

When the current version of the CORVIN19 pandemic is over, whatever that means, we will all have the opportunity to reconsider how we use our time, energy and money; the only three resources we can adjust. In normal times, a new years reflection of the past year and coming year might include what to continue, what to stop, and what to start in the new year. What to stop is always the most challenging because it means moving away from something that was important before, but in leaving it, we open up some of our limited time, energy and money to new opportunities.

The CORVID19 pandemic has forced us in to not just a new year’s transition, but in to a global personal, community and economic reset.

We have been forced in a matter of days to completely change our allocation of time, energy and money. These changes for many have been very difficult, for some very challenging but engaging, and for some, liberating and enjoyable. Its not fair, but the virus’s toll is not fair, so fair is not on the table for discussion; but the question of what we will learn from this pandemic is worth exploring even while we are in the middle of this stage of disruption.

This article, “Real change requires more than just doing something new. It also involves stopping what doesn’t work and continuing what’s already working well” and the linked template tool provides a great discussion around the idea of professionally and periodically assessing what we keep, and what we might do differently in the future. Now, it takes on an entirely new perspective as we are quickly forced to stop or limit so many parts of our past lives, and start many new things. Early in this shift to social distancing I was worried that it would accelerate trends in isolationism and technology entanglement (head down, figures on the smartphone) that I feared would diminish the value and importance of humanity and our connectedness. However I’m seeing many examples of the opposite, where people are spending more time with each other and putting more emphasis on direct, albeit sometimes distant, direct contact. For many, the time with their kids that started as an unexpectedly long spring break has turned in to new time together playing and learning. For others like Joel, its been a new perspective and challenge now to commit to staying in touch with others that he’s offered in The Communi3 Challenge: Call 3 People a Day.

As we move through these disrupted days with little idea of when or how we will emerge from our social distancing, using new tools for shopping and communicating, its perhaps a time to be aware of what we’ve stopped, that we may or may not resume when we can. And, to be aware of what we have started and will want to continue in the future, or stop as soon as possible. For those things (use of time, energy or money) that we have started and want to keep, we’ll have to figure out what we do not resume or can cut back on to make room for what is ahead. For my part, I am starting two lists; the one below, and one of people I need to call more often using an underused App called Phone.

Before and After COVID19

Stopped – will not restart or will limitStopped – will resumeStarted – will continueStarted – will stop or limit.
Spending my day driving from one meeting to another.Going to Yoga classesWorking from CabinMeeting with Neighbors via Zoom so much
Some reoccurring meetings. Dining outReading moreSo much time chasing the news.
Meeting for coffeeHaving more Zoom meetings rather than driving.
More time talking on the phone vs. txt and email.
More breaks during the day for some fun and relaxation.

What’s on your list to resume and continue?

Update May 4, 2020 – There is a reset going on but also a battle coming between the forces of the “economy” and people’s new found use of their time, energy and money. I’ve read it takes 21 days to form a new habit – we have some new habits for sure. But while we are resting or unfortunately out of work, our economic is suffering. The economic forces are going to want us to go back to the old-normal ways of spending – often and freely! In fact the stimulus money has not been used to transform jobs or processes, or even to support startups and innovation – its only being used to prop up old jobs and businesses, and only temporarily. Government and business interests will want us to return to old patterns of spending as quickly as possible – sardine like flying, too often; buying as many nice pants as shirts for non-Zoom meetings; eating out as often; buying as much gas as we used to – polluting and wasting like we used to! At the same time we will be struggling to preserve some of the new habits and and NOT returning to some of the old default ways of working an living. I wonder what or who will win this battle – the company’s marketing campaigns or people’s own new habits? If you thought the Russian’s were meddling with our last election, wait for what is to come when businesses ramp up their efforts to get us to return to our old spending. Perhaps they are the ones behind the new memes and unrest challenging more rational efforts to control the pandemic and avoiding change?

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