Everyone and their mother has been talking about COVID-19 pandemic, most of them sharing advice on how to manage your business, your time and your life. And, with so many articles, podcasts and vlogs going around, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction: like the well meant advice (be it from people who aren’t in the position to give it) from the real tried and tested stories of entrepreneurs.
My friend Andra sent me some questions to answer, regarding the situation as it has unfolded in Romania and other countries I have clients in. Hopefully, they will shed a light into how an entrepreneur like myself can find balance during these troubled times.
Q: How are you adapting to the #StayHome #StaySafe working schedule?
In the last couple of years, I have been working from home, especially since most of the time I end up visiting clients at their office spaces. I’ve, sometimes, tried new coworking spots in Bucharest or spent a day at Starbucks, but I’ve grown used to working from my home office and, actually, quite liked it. So, at least for me, the change wasn’t so significant in regards to space. As for the day to day tasks, I find myself more and more on the phone, on Skype or Zoom. Emails can sometimes be impersonal and it seems like this social distancing has made all of us more eager to speak with one another directly.
Q: Are there some positive changes to your daily routine?
At the beginning of March, I felt like I was the only one not doing 10-20 new things every day: cooking, sports, catching up on reading, watching movies, watching plays, picking up a new hobby, and the list goes on. The FOMO was BIG!
But, since I know this is not healthy, nor productive in the long run, I’ve tried to find a routine fitted to my own needs and likes.
So, I ended up adding just a couple of new things to my daily routine, to help me relax when I feel the pressure is piling up. One is yoga in the morning (I can’t recommend enough the youtube channel Yoga with Adrianne). And, even if I can’t commit to doing it every day, I’ve learned not to punish myself when I don’t do it, and just pick it up the next day. The other is theatre or musicals on Friday. It makes the end of the week more gratifying and helps me feel like I’m being part of an activity shared by thousands of other people, alone but together.
Q: How about negative changes?
On a personal level, I’ve tried to keep busy with work and only follow the news from reliable sources (WHO, Biziday agregator). This helps fight off tension and the overwhelming dread associated with a 24/7 access to increasingly bad news.
Regarding projects, the workload has been increasing from the beginning of the lockdown, with new and current clients asking for changes and different implementations (like adding online payment tools).
Q: Some lessons you’ve learned during the lockdown?
I consider myself very lucky because I didn’t have to make big changes to my workflow, but I get a lesson in courage from my clients every day. Sadly, some have been negatively affected, including having to layoff employees or shut down their business all together. It’s tragic to see people who have poured their soul into projects having to make such difficult decisions.
But, no matter the business, rebuilding, reorganizing or completely changing is possible only because the people behind it are not so easily defeated.
As for me, in the last 3 months, I’ve been offering support and consultancy to those who needed it, because only supporting each other we will avoid an economic crisis at the end of the pandemic.
Photo by Paolo Conversano.