In the midst of increasing numbers of infections and decreasing numbers of surgical masks I am witnessing empty shelves in supermarkets. The second time I remember since Eastern Germany collapsed. People crossed the border into our small town in the West during an icy November, 30 years ago. They bought everything they could transport in their tiny Trabant cars. Not out of anxiety tho.
Two times in a row within a few months we are facing massive disruptions to public life, tremendous emotional rifts in established communities and the challenge to somehow keeping life as we knew it together. Everyone of us muddling through – some significantly more cheerful than others. I discern question marks, wrinkles of worry and gazes of perplexity above the mask lines.
And yet, business continues. Certainly not as usual, but seemingly far from disaster. More of my clients are dressed casual, quite some book appointments as business trips have been cancelled, work arrangements allow for flexibility and BCP’s are now effective. Many report to be able to slow down, re-think priorities and core contributions, work more efficiently, finding time for family, hobbies and self-care.
World economy as well as ourselves seem to be taking a break from acceleration. Quite some of my clients experience a slow-down – partially forced upon them. Not a single one of them has yet complained about it. Maybe worried, but not complained. As of now there is a newness to the experience. Pleasant, unpleasant and neutral in many ways. Realising that we actually don’t need all of what we have, nor what we want. This being a phase of self-suffice. Not missing the commute – actually gaining time in a day. Cooking our own food – slow food, slow good. Deadlines being postponed – what was soooo important to get done on that particular date?
Priorities in life
Having the kids at home for such a long and yet uncertain period of time is taxing and requires planning and discipline. And yet, I am happy to see so many families embracing what is already there – with kindness and acceptance. I sense that many of you are now reconnecting with your life values, with what truly matters to you. Positively surprised to see so many families hiking last weekend at Shing Mun Reservoir. After all, research says that you will likely not look back onto this time wishing that you have spent more time at work or on a plane. The deathbed-test does not lie.
Priorities at work
This being a phase in which many of us experience in a very practical way – through online communication, video conferencing and remote work arrangements – where and how they actually add value. The contrast between the familiar work environment and alternative arrangements is based on necessity, and yet teaches us productivity. Doing the right things vs. doing things right.
Becoming clear about your core contributions is a gift that frees you from unnecessary tasks and boosts your confidence by knowing what you are actually needed for. During the last few weeks I saw so many of you being equally productive with less hours of work.
Fact is, you are getting the job done – including going to the playground in Happy Valley or Cyberport. Stepping out of autopilot is not convenient – but rewarding.