What Have You Discovered from the Coronavirus Lockdown?
This is what I call a Moment of Clarity. We are taken out of our comfort zone and it gives us an opportunity to discover what makes us tick – if we take the time to observe what makes us happy and what we find irritating.
Many of you have been working from home along with having a spouse and adult children with you. What emotions has this elevated?
I have been discussing this within the Career Pivot Membership Community and on the weekly Career Pivot Open Community Calls.
Here is what I have been hearing on a few different topics.
Working from Home During the Lockdown
Personally, I have been quite happy working from home during the pandemic – but then again this is nothing new for me. My work from home life started in 2011 when I started Career Pivot. I am a fairly typical introvert in that I like my alone time, but not all of the time.
I learned several years ago when working from home, I need to protect myself from distractions. When I lived in Austin, my office space was in the corner of our living room. I had to ask my wife not to interrupt me when I was working. My current workspace is in our 2nd bedroom in our casita here in Ajijic Mexico where I can close the door.
I have heard from several people who now have adult children home from college. These students are now taking classes remotely but still living like a college student, i.e. staying up late and sleeping late. They told me they have to resist being a parent and telling their kids to go to bed.
Others have told me that having their spouse working from home feels like a violation of their space during the day.
Being Distracted by Home Duties
Several people I talked to say that they miss being in the office because being in their home office is distracting. They stop to take care of some laundry or other home chore and then look at the clock to find that an hour or two has passed. Not having an office to go to and being away from the distractions of our home base is a big issue for some.
What We Miss During the Lockdown
Several introverted colleagues have told me that they miss going to their local coffee shop and working. It is not that they engage with anyone other than ordering a coffee. They really like the activity that goes on around them in the background. It is that white noise around them that they find comforting or soothing.
Similarly, I miss going down to the Lake Chapala Society campus and working. It is a beautiful spot that has just enough activity that keeps it interesting. I find I can get a lot of work done there. Unfortunately, the campus closed on April 21st and will not likely open again until June.
Missing Interacting with Teammates
I heard from a number of people that they missed interacting with their teammates. As so many of their teams work remote right now, it just made it very clear they would prefer to be back in the office.
What do you miss?
What We Do Not Miss
Several people on the Monday Career Pivot Open Community Calls have said they do not miss the office one bit. The people stopping by their desk for small talk is one thing that will not be missed. These are likely introverts who need their uninterrupted time to focus.
Meetings are something that just about everyone said they do not miss. That does not mean that there were no meetings, but rather that meetings over Zoom or Skype are very different than being in person. There are significantly fewer side conversations and the meetings tend to be more focused.
How is this Lockdown Affecting You Personally?
In one of the community calls, a woman stated she wanted to start a business giving hugs when this is all over. There is a desire to be close socially again. Personally, this is not an issue for me. In fact, this experience has reinforced that I do not like being touched, or at least I want to be in control of when and where I am touched.
Several people told me that the lack of road noise in their neighborhood made them very aware of the sirens from a nearby fire station. They would hear the sirens frequently all day and all night, and this caused them to make up stories, or what I call MSU disorder, about where they were going and why.
Worrying About Parents
I cannot tell you the number of stories I have heard about the stress people have experienced in worrying about their parents.
I heard stories of parents being scared to leave their homes and needing to have their children deliver just about everything.
Then there were the stories of the parents who thought this was nothing, and why should they stay at home?
Lastly, there were the stories of parents in eldercare facilities that their children were not able to see. This is particularly acute if the parent is in a facility that has had an outbreak for the virus.
The World Has Slowed Down
A relative of mine commented recently how the world has slowed down, which he appreciates. For some of you, this slowing down is a real issue but I will bet most of us in the 2nd half of life welcome this.
Living in a small town outside of Guadalajara Mexico, I have everything I need within walking distance. I have embraced this slowdown of life.
Have Your Dreams Changed During the Lockdown?
I was listening to an NPR 1A podcast called Coronavirus: ‘To Sleep, Perchance To Dream’.
The introduction to the episode is as follows:
With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much a concern for people around the world, we’ve been covering the many ways it has affected our lives. However, we never would have guessed that coronavirus would change our dreams.
And yet, we’ve heard from many listeners who are experiencing an increase in dreams that they remember—in some cases, very vivid dreams. Dreams about all kinds of things—some pandemic-related, and some seemingly not.
It made us wonder, how has the pandemic been affecting our dreams? What does the science of dreams and sleep tell us about how we’re reacting to COVID-19? And is there anything we can or should be doing to sleep soundly under existential stress?
Give this episode a listen below.
What Have I Learned from this Lockdown Experience?
As we entered each phase of the lockdown and certain privileges were taken away, I found my life routine was disrupted. I am a creature of habit and one of my important habits is exercise.
First, my yoga classes were canceled when the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) canceled their activities. Then my Spanish classes were canceled when the campus was closed. During the holy week, the local governments closed the extensive nature trail system which many of us rely on for communing with nature and getting exercise. We had no idea when they would open up again.
My need to maintain structure in my personal life is critical. I knew this but…I needed a kick in the butt to take action.
My wife and I are now taking Spanish lessons over Zoom. The yoga group is now meeting several times a week over Zoom. Lastly, we have received permission to hike the trails again and I have established a new pattern.
Supporting our Local Merchants
My wife and I have gone out of our way to support local merchants through this crisis with our continued business. One thing I miss is going to one of the small local restaurants on a Friday night, sipping on red wine, and having a quiet dinner. I have discovered that I really appreciate the experience these restaurants offer and will never take it for granted again.
What About You?
I know I have just touched the surface of what I am discovering about myself and what I value. More will come up in the coming weeks and months as we come out of lockdown.
What are you learning?Marc Miller