The pandemic and the lockdown that followed may have presented more challenges that anyone could have anticipated. But the past few months have made an impact on my life and work, and taught me some valuable lessons. Here are what I call the ABCDE of the lockdown – the five key takeaways I have got from this crisis.
- ADVERSITY: The situation was getting consequential, the news of virus on TV and mobile screens was rising by the day, and every time I heard someone very close getting infected, it was nerve-wracking. Adversity is a forced way to refocus. I had no choice but to change what I was currently doing, life was no more casual. I began to get more cautious and taking safety precautions became priority. My focus was on protecting myself and my family. Everyone goes through adversity, but what matters is how you learn from it. Well it’s not over yet, and we have still to find a way to live with it and protect ourselves.
- BE HAPPY: The days have been tough, but there are also ways to emerge from COVID-19 much stronger & happier. Here are a few ways to keep my spirits up during these challenging times.
Food matters – Not just eating but also cooking my favourite cuisines worked out to be more pleasurable. I spent more time in the kitchen during the lockdown than I have ever done before. I have added a few pounds in the process too, but my new skills of chopping fine onions and tomatoes just got better.
Relations matter – Spending more time with the family has been the best time spent. These past few months have seen a mix of quarrels, jokes and laughter. We used this time to watch movies together, play a game of chess and do a bit of home-schooling. My favourite thing has been waking up my daughter, and trust me, this one was not easy. We may not have been able to spend time with our friends, but the time spent on calls with them made me feel happier.
Hobbies matter – while I did speak about my cooking earlier, the other thing that gave me mental peace was my cycling. I used to be an avid cyclist a few years ago. The lockdown gave me the chance to get back on my saddle (of course, indoor cycling). I had all the gears and everything I needed to cycle indoors along with cycle trainer. I got my Roadie cleaned up, well oiled, fixed the air pressures and made this cycling a part of my new routine.
- CLASS OF 2020: During these extraordinary times, I also decided to devote some quarantine time to upskill myself. With e-learning getting more attention, I managed to register for a one month Machine Learning course and completed that! In the process, I got myself another feather in my cap!
- DISIPLINE: Initially as we entered into the lockdown, I felt like life was still as normal as it was earlier, and hence I followed my usual routine. However, two weeks into the lockdown, I realised that my habits were changing, I was getting more impatient, and sluggishness started creeping in. There was no discipline. That is when I set a time-table like our old school days, fixed my work hours, Netflix hours, stretching hours and sleep hours. This was perhaps the toughest thing to do, but I have to say it helped me restore some control and discipline.
- ECONOMIC SLUMP: The decline in economic activity because of the COVID-19 lockdown is unprecedented in India’s history and of course, it goes without saying that it has made a dent in advertising. While the economy thrives on desirable products and not only essential goods, there was a clear need to create demand. I have kept thinking of ways to innovate in the business, with my leadership teams. While we successfully implemented a few, some are still a work in progress. Hopefully this shall pass too.
Going by Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’, I am trying my best. I am sure you will too.