Things may seem stagnant or still as we stay home to flatten the curve, but we are all subtly adapting to a changing environment. Changing ourselves to adapt to the environment around us is what has allowed us to stay at the top of the food chain for so long, and right now is no different. This article lists out some ways that you may not even have noticed that you’ve been adapting to change over the last few weeks.
Just getting through one week of virtual work meetings, grade school math lessons and grocery shopping can be a challenge. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling with income loss or unemployment, those daily to-dos can feel even more pressing.
However, as the conversation starts shifting towards when and how to reopen the country, it’s worth taking a few moments to broaden our perspective beyond immediate concerns. As hard as this experience has been, social distancing has probably changed the way you live, work, spend, and communicate in a few positive ways as well. Some of the habits you’ve developed over the last couple months might be worth bringing with you once we’re all out in the wider world again.
We’ve listed out some ways that you may not even have noticed that you’ve been adapting to change over the last few weeks. Things may seem stagnant or still, but we are all subtly adapting to the changing environment. Changing ourselves to adapt to the environment around us is what has allowed us to stay at the top of the food chain for so long, and right now is no different. Aren’t humans cool?
You’ve changed how you communicate.
Your first few virtual conference calls were probably awkward, with participants struggling to adjust audio/video equipment and talking over each other. Now that we’ve all learned the “language” of Zoom and Skype, those meetings are becoming much more productive.
Do you know how long these video sharing platforms have been trying to get us all to use tools like ZOOM for everyday needs? A long time. Many people didn’t want to adapt video meeting technology before this (and that’s understandable as for the most part we could just go and visit other people), but since then things have changed. Almost overnight we have collectively sucked it up and figured it out – regardless of age or technical experience. It might not seem like much, but communication is so important for humans that it’s actually a tremendous achievement.
Whether you’re a boss or an employee, explore how remote working arrangements could save time and create a more flexible and personal work routine. Once your company isn’t in crisis mode, integrating more virtual meetings into your communication rhythm might make your workforce feel more connected, especially if you have offices across the country or overseas.
You’ve changed how you eat.
Except for the occasional curbside pickup run to support our local restaurants, most of us are eating our meals at home. Working through all those cookbooks has been an educational and entertaining way to pass time in quarantine. But it’s also been better for your health, especially if you’re not drifting in and out of the kitchen for snacks all day.
Right now, we have to plan ahead; we are able to shop less often, and we have to decide on the right types of food that will last for enough time, and give us variation in our diets. If you did this before the quarantine then give yourself a pat on the back! If not, you’ll reap the long-term rewards of not getting take-out each night.
Develop a solid menu of at-home meals you can keep in rotation so that after the pandemic your family will still be spending some extra quality time together while eating quality food.
You’ve changed how you budget.
Whether you’ve economized just by staying home or made some tough cuts out of necessity, quarantine has probably had a profound impact on how you spend your money. Some folks are setting a monthly budget for the very first time.
That’s a habit we hope will continue after this crisis passes. The single biggest factor in your financial plan is your spending. If you have extra cash right now because you’re not filling up your gas tank every other day and popping into coffee shops, we recommend using those funds to top off your emergency savings accounts. We can also discuss if increasing contributions to your retirement and investment accounts might be a good move while prices are low.
Social distancing might have made you look at some of your non-essential spending in a different light. Under normal circumstances, were you really using those social club and gym memberships enough to justify the expense? Are there entertainment subscriptions you’re still not really using, even during lockdown? How much money could you save on food if you keep planning out weekly meals before grocery store runs?
You’ve changed how you work.
Before the pandemic, working from home was either something you loved, or something you struggled with (I know I’m in the ‘struggled to work from home’ category). Distractions, fun things to do, pets, snacks, errands, technical issues, noise, the list goes on. Although it might not be perfect for everyone, we’ve managed to sustain our day-to-day and get the job done. For someone that declared that they ‘could never work from home’, I’d say that’s a pretty impressive ability to adapt to change by anyone’s standards.
The truth is that before the quarantine, many of us wouldn’t have considered working from home, or prioritized our own at-home set-up. This has encouraged us all to figure out how to be productive at home and at work, and this means that there are other things in our lives that will reap the benefits – being more organized, family boundaries, and having more consistent communication with your spouse or partner during the day. That’s some seriously impressive adaptability.
You’ve changed how you live.
We’ve all experienced the coronavirus pandemic in both public and personal ways. Some of us can’t wait to jump right back into our old routines and add in a few positive habits we’ve picked up during quarantine.
But maybe working from home has made you realize that you want to keep working from home – as your own boss.
Maybe getting that little bit of exercise has made all the difference to how you feel.
Maybe the necessity of social distancing has made you think about all those unrealized vacation dreams.
Maybe video chatting with friends and family scattered across the country has you thinking about relocating.
Maybe you’ve been asking yourself, “Before all this started, was I really using my money to live my best possible life?”
Are you living your life in a way that brings you joy and meaning?
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