Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and thank you for your time. Whatever else Covid has brought us, it’s brought us more time. No more commutes. No more traffic jams. No more travel to distant destinations. No more unplanned or unwanted casual conversations. No more mindless shopping for things we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like. No more time spent in meeting rooms, theatres or restaurants. Just online all the time.
So, what are you doing with all your extra time? Are you watching more Netflix? Playing more Call of Duty? Reading more Instagram? Following more people on Facebook? Spending more time looking into the fridge? Or are you making the most of the crisis? Are you working on yourself? Are you reimagining your future? Are you calling more people? Are you exploring more opportunities? Are you becoming fitter, faster, stronger, smarter?
The corona-crisis is “virtualizing” every aspect of our lives – especially the way we make a living. Research now shows that half of all people are now working remotely, up from about 15 percent just prior to Covid. When we look back on how we used to work, many practices seem downright obsolete. I would fly halfway around the world just to give a one-hour talk. I would invest thousands of dollars creating conferences and events that I now conduct on my phone, no venue required. I would spend hundreds of dollars on something called “business breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks.” What was that all about?
Many of my clients have shared that the productivity of their people has rocketed during Covid. Telecommuting is strongly correlated with job satisfaction, no matter what’s driving it. Although being house bound can be monotonous, it has its privileges. You can operate from your comfort zone. You’re not bound by 9-5. There are far less unwanted intrusions. Meetings happen faster. And you can take a break every now and then to hug your partner, dog or cat.
The real danger is isolation. Not being around colleagues and customers can make you feel disoriented, disconnected or alienated. It’s easier to let yourself go and lose the discipline that comes with daily routines involving other people. They may be mindless but they’re also automatic. You didn’t have to intentionally plan big chunks of your ongoing existence like you do now. Although you may have complained about them, secretly you were also grateful for the guardrails they provided. Now, you have much more autonomy over your minutes and hours. How are you using it?
Rapport and camaraderie are also much harder to replicate online. And there is no substitute for professional serendipity, the discoveries and opportunities that are made through unplanned contacts with others in the workplace. Some of my biggest breakthroughs have literally been caused by bumping into people because we were both in the right place at the right time. Luck is what happens when you go looking for people to help.
I’m lucky. I’m at the nexus of so many relationships. My job is to help others do their job. I’m talking to tens of people every day. They share their fears, goals and strategies for success. They rely on me to help guide them through the chaos. I can only be a teacher by being a student. I read, listen, and learn from everyone. So, what’s the moral of the story? Accelerate your evolution by learning how to maximize your productivity in the new reality. Here are the seven productivity secrets that I have learnt so far:
- Get your grind on: Covid will be with us for years to come. What began as a shock has become like gravity. It’s just another element we have to live with. So, celebrate the struggle. Let go of the life that ended in February. Embrace the life that began in March. Be exhilarated, or be exhausted. Hindsight is so 2020. Foresight begins now and it begins with you.
- Play your role: All the world is a stage and we all have a role to play. So, discover your role. Play it like your life depends on it. Declare the value and the pleasure that you bring to others. Make them want to pay to see you. Make them glad for having paid. Have the courage to put it all out there. Do it differently every day.
- Choose your running mates: partner with people that are thriving on change. Surround yourself with thought-leaders, innovators, warriors, magicians, relationship-builders and everyday heroes. You cannot conquer Covid alone. You need others to help you see past your blind spots. Earn the loyalty of great people to help you be great.
- Find your rhythm: build your daily discipline. Form habits that expand your capacity to achieve remarkable results. You cannot control what happens in the world, but you can control what you do in yours. So, get seven hours sleep. Eat right. Exercise every day. Read relevant media. Listen and talk to informed people. Work hard. Find time to enjoy yourself. And take care of the people closest to you.
- Befriend your frustration: we’re all beginners in this brave new world. Growth never comes easy. The bigger the obstacles, the bigger the leap required. Things very rarely conform to your expectations. Your plan is no match for real life. So, roll with the disappointments. Smile at setbacks. The more you try, the more you fail, the more successful you become.
- Lead the way: someone is depending on you to go first. They’re watching to see what you do. They’re being guided by your moves. Just like you’re being guided by others. Covid is the great leveller. Captains of industry are being humbled just as minnows are learning to swim with the sharks. Today, you may do something that has never done before. That action could spark a flame. But if you don’t do it, you’ll never know.
- Stand out by speaking up: your biggest competitor isn’t your biggest competitor. It’s noise. It’s the swirl that drowns out your voice. It’s the static getting in the way of your message. Now is not the time to be quiet. No matter what your natural style, you need to be heard. You need to reach out to the people whom you want to influence. They definitely are not going to come to you. So, get over your fear. Make the call. Develop your content. Be victorious by being vocal. Just like I’m doing right now.
This is Mike Lipkin, and that’s all I’ve got today. Until the next time, remember: if you want to shine, rise and grind.