The coronavirus (Covid-19) has reached its nasty hand into the middle of our perfect cake, dragged a big-ass piece from the center, and is sloppily eating it while looking us dead in the eye like, "What?"
While I find the hysteria and overreactions a bit silly and non-productive, I'm definitely a fan of the unintended validation of all of my drum beating over the past 2 years, specifically around the market adjustment I'd anticipated and the trend toward working remotely. While I would MUCH rather it not be at the expense of lives, our collective mental health, and our children's education and memories, I see it as the Universe reminding us who's in charge in her, often, less-than-elegant way.
Now that our companies and governments are essentially banishing us to our homes we have a tremendous opportunity to completely restructure our lives to accommodate this new normal. I've long advocated that working remotely allows for a higher quality of focus and execution than working in the office among the masses, their quirks, and numerous distractions. I also advocate that we're at a tipping point as a society where our individual mental and physical health now needs to take precedence over all other obligations in order to simply "be okay" and once again show up as the best, most complete versions of ourselves to our families and companies.
I'm currently running 3 businesses. All from home. Admittedly, I average around 10-14 hours per day of work. In order to be insanely effective, I have to be incredibly thoughtful and regimented with my time and craft a routine that allows for all the things: physicality, mental breaks and enrichment, nutrition, and focused work and execution. Here's a typical daily routine for me:
4am: Wake up + meditate
4:30am: Get up, check news/email/drink Athletic Greens shake
6am: Shower, dress
6:30am: Starbucks for coffee + Work (Company #1)
11:30am: Walk home / drink Huel shake (lunch)
12noon: Work at home (Company #2)
5pm: Grab dinner (usually all green, small container from Whole Foods "hot food" section)
6pm: Work (Company #3), coaching clients, or workout #2 if inspired
10:30pm: Everything off + breathing exercise + conscious manifestation
This routine ticks all the boxes and I stick to it faithfully, with occasional deviations for Momma, travel, drinks with friends, or a self-imposed mental health break. As such, I'm able to keep my crazy train's wheels firmly planted on the tracks and moving swiftly toward my rather goals. While I don't wish a schedule like this on anyone, I do highly advocate creating a routine this regimented and following it to the letter. Every day.
Often working remotely can feel like a free-for-all. On paper, being able to roll out of bed a little later without showering and going straight "to work" sounds like winning the lottery. But, let me snatch you back to reality real quick. I've found that in order to be incredibly effective working from home requires some discipline and structure. The subconscious benefit of waking up, showering, and getting dressed just to sit at your kitchen table and "go to work" is quite real. It's easier to show up with the intention to get shit done vs. rolling out of bed, powering up, and working in your underwear expecting to crush it. It simply doesn't work like that. Trust me on this.
Create a new routine for yourself. Plan out your day to include all of the shit you never got to do when commuting to and from the office and schedule it on your calendar. Those of you complaining about never having enough time to workout, voila! Time! Those of you wanting more time with your friends, schedule it in! For many of us, our commutes to work are 1 hour or more, each way. You now have this abundance of recaptured time. DO SOMETHING WITH IT! Find a way to capitalize on that time by scheduling in some physicality like a long walk, a workout, or some dedicated time wrestling with the kids. Schedule in some ME time, turn everything off, and find some solitude to just BE. Learn a new language on Babbel. Write some LinkedIn articles and pay forward your expertise. Work on your side hustle. Crack open a novel. So many options at your disposal that benefit YOU first, and everyone else second.
I see this new (forced) remote work opportunity as "The Great Equalizer." Like I wrote in my book AS I SEE IT Volume 1: Business many of the more prevalent issues plaguing offices like bullying, low-key and overt harassment, racism, sexism, favoritism, etc. automagically gets remedied to a degree as the focus is less on the human beings in those situations and more on the quality of work they provide. It also shines a light on the ineptitudes of managers who can easily hide behind the power and influence they wield in the physical office, but who have no clue how to actually manage, especially teams now working remotely and newly empowered by an environment that encourages their best work.
This is the perfect opportunity for individual employees to find their voice where once they couldn't and an opportunity for managers to embrace that AGILE life or start listening to their teams and encouraging individual contribution vs. relying on the one or two superstars in each team with the confidence (or agenda) to always speak up. Given this new work environment, employees will be more creative, more focused, and more eager to step up if given the platform and opportunity to do so.
But let me offer a word of caution. This won't happen magically or perfectly. It takes intention and an open mind. I read recently of a situation where a remote team was on a conference call and a baby was crying loudly in the background. The manager asked the lone female on the call to mute her line as the crying baby was disrupting the call. "My baby is actually asleep in the other room. I believe that's Tom's baby you're hearing."
This WILL blatantly unearth many of the implicit biases we all suffer through and normalize in a physical office setting. This means we need to (re)learn a bit of etiquette, intention, and caution with our words on speaker so that social gaffs and ASSumptions like the above don't create asses of a team's more critical constituents and create new biases based on the ones dragged into the light.
We are now at the advent of a new normal. We now have the opportunity to turn this health epidemic into a business evolution. More importantly, we have the opportunity to take back the reins of our schedules (read: LIVES) and create new routines that serve us, first and everyone else, second. Focusing on our physical and mental health, creating time for our relationships, families, and friends, and deprioritizing those constants that will always be there, but don't necessarily serve our aggregate well being is the best way to approach this new normal. Not simply, rolling out of bed and conducting business as usual. That's a wasted opportunity, indeed.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Press reset on your routines and create the life you've always wanted. You've always had the right. Now, you have the opportunity.
Phoenix is coaching and supporting American billionaires, CEOs and executive teams in tech, retail and banking for over 25 years. He also founded and created MEGA Assistant University, a revolutionary skills and mindset “boot camp” for top Executive and Personal Assistants who want to level up quickly and begin forging a mutually successful business partnership with their executives and teams. Phoenix holds a Bachelors of Arts in European Studies/Civilisation from Trinity College Dublin.