I will admit when the stay-in-place was first issued, like most others, I panicked. How could I possibly stay at home, all day, with three kids under seven, run a business, stay sane and stay married!
Now that we are officially six and half weeks into the quarantine (it really started for us on March 13th when school let out), I have to say I like it! Or maybe I should say I have learned some very valuable lessons I plan to take with me into post-COVID-19 life. It was the exact forced pause I needed in my life to take a closer look at what matters most.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is how to lean into time with my kids. It always seemed pretty daunting to take care of three kids all day, especially in non-favorable outdoor conditions, but once I was able to really settle into immersing myself in creative play and activities, I haven’t looked back. Dare I even say it has been fun! We have baked, done crafts, gone on bike rides, walked more miles than we can count, watched movies, learned how to do laundry, started reading the Harry Potter series and baked some more! Has it all been easy? Definitely not. But has it been eye opening to see how my kids thrive with so much uninterrupted attention, yes. All three of my kids have been in daycare or with a nanny since they were four weeks old, so this extra time together has been treasured.
Prior to COVID, I was always busy. Or at least I thought I was busy. Social obligations at least twice a week, kids activities, appointments, constant errands and more. Having a completely open schedule has been so freeing. I wasn’t truly busy, I was just making myself busy. It’s ok to simplify. It feels good. Life has still gone on without all of my appointments and errands and I am just as happy. But I could really use a good massage
The same can be said for work. When you are forced to work with less time and be creative with how and when you get your work done, you realize you can be more productive with less time. It leaves more time for work-life balance or to put some valuable resources back into your own brand.
Even with all these lessons, the reality of COVID is that it has financially impacted many PR consultants. While the economic fallout has been devastating, I have been extraordinarily impressed with how the communications community has come together to support each other, journalists included. Journalists have been organizing Zoom calls to give PR consultants tips on how to pitch during this time, chats have been organized to discuss what journalists are working on, consultants have come together to brainstorm ways to pivot their businesses and generate new client leads. It really has been incredible to watch. I hope this is an opportunity for journalists and consultants to realize a new way of working together and for consultants to continue to pool resources together to continue telling the stories of all the great brands out there.
Change is always hard but always worth it. It forces us to answer the hard questions head on and gives us a clear picture of how we can do better. What lessons have you learned during this forced timeout?