What We Learned in Quarantine & How to Bring It Into Everyday Life

If one thing is certain about these unexpected times, it’s that we have done far more than we could have ever possibly dreamed. Many of us learned to work from home for the first time, and we even found out that we were pretty good at it. In fact, we have boosted our productivity levels and may have been presented with the opportunity to continue working remotely. The future is beginning to look a little brighter, and for the first time in months, there’s a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.

And the good news is that now we have added so many new experiences to our lives, along with a myriad of newly discovered tools, project management programs and innovative ideas for both our work and home use. Whether it be new SEO tactics or new coping mechanisms for stress, we have all experienced some form of growth. 

But now that the quarantine is drawing to an end for some and has already been lifted for others, it’s important that we take a little time to assess the past few months. Read on to see what people from all types of businesses and walks of life have learned and how they plan to apply it to the future.

  1. Put Your Mental Health First
  2. Let Go
  3. Walk It Off
  4. Remember Your Identity
  5. Maintain Adaptability
  6. Embrace Flexibility
  7. Abstain From Buying
  8. Respect Your Time Off
  9. Diversify Your Income
  10. Get in a Good Morning Stretch
  11. Maintain Adaptability
  12. Read, Read and Read More
  13. Keep Preparing Home-Cooked Meals
  14. Stick to Regular Meetings
  15. Always Sharpen Your Brain
  16. Maintain Open Lines of Communication
  17. Retain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
  18. Stay in Touch With Your Community
  19. Have a “Disaster Plan”
  20. Create New Payment Structures for Customers
  21. Be More Empathetic Leaders
  22. Avoid Distractions
  23. Spend Time With Loved Ones in a New Way
  24. Prioritize Visibility
  25. Stay Fit
  26. Less Is More

1. Put Your Mental Health First

One thing I believe with all my heart is that, in times of crisis, we are at our most inventive, most tenacious, and most open to new things. For all the hardships of the present moment, we will be forced to be at our best as we transform much about how we do business. Great challenges demand greater solutions, and my hope is that these dark days will give way to new innovation, smarter ideas, greater compassion, people-first values, stronger businesses, a healthier economy, and a better way to work.  

Aside from the difficult adjustment to working from home (along with suddenly juggling homeschooling for those of us who are parents), the crisis element at play here — the anxiety, the stress, even the boredom — are all too often overlooked. That’s something we have to account for when approaching our day. And it’ll require a new, better understanding of productivity that we should keep even after we return to the office: one that’s more focused on quality and results, rather than quantity and hours logged.    

This experience is also requiring businesses to address and take better care of their employees’ mental health, something that will only make us better moving forward. None of us can do our jobs if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. The companies that survive this are going to be the ones that support their workers and come together in overcoming these challenges. Unfortunately, it has taken extreme circumstances to make that clear, but the changes this crisis is demanding, in terms of how we prioritize mental health and care for our employees, are ones we need to hold onto, global crisis or not.  

If we don’t give in, adversity can make us better and stronger than we were before.

Liz Elting, Elizabeth Elting Foundation

2. Let Go

I have always had some issues with control. Or at least I did have issues with control — before the quarantine completely changed my life.

Before all of this, I was a digital nomad. I obsessively planned where I was going to live each month — three years in advance! I was obsessed with knowing where I was going to be, what I was going to do, and who I was going to be with.

Now that I’m in one place for the foreseeable future (my parents’ house), I realized that all that planning and obsessing was for nothing. I honestly have no idea what I’m going to do next month, in three months or six months. But I honestly don’t care. I’m so grateful that my friends and family are healthy and safe. And that’s all that matters. When I’m ready to move on, I’ll move on.

Alice M. Butler, Adulting

3. Walk It Off

My family has created a new ritual where at the end of the work day, we go for a walk around the block. This might seem simple, but it’s a great way to mark the end of the day. It’s a signal to all of our brains that we’re turning off computers and are in family mode until the next morning. The daily walk has become something that all of us look forward to.  

Jason Davis, Inspire360

4. Remember Your Identity

Right now it’s also important to remind yourself of your identity outside of ALL factors – outside of work, outside of the virus, outside of the disappointments or stressors you’re experiencing. Make a point to schedule or plan activities that involve things you love that don’t necessarily have financial value – hobbies, self care, cleaning, art, working out, reading, watching fun movies from childhood you loved. Remind yourself of who you are and that you are bigger than a job or lifestyle change.

Rob Level, Smart Rapper 

5. Maintain Adaptability

One of the main things that not only entrepreneurs but almost everyone has had to learn during this crisis is adaptability. Being adaptable is an essential prerequisite for success. Although it can’t be said that a pandemic is always around the corner, it’s inevitable that life will throw unpredictable things your way. Being able to change your route with the circumstances and come up with out-of-the-box solutions can help you to come out on top when stressors stand in the way. 

Instead of trying to aimlessly force through a path that is evidently not going to work anymore, adaptability allows you to sidestep the issue altogether, coming up with a solution that simply pulls the rug from out under the feet of the issue. The current pandemic has given many people no choice but to develop this trait, and those who utilized this approach would do well to continue to do so in the future, long after this pandemic is over.

Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics

6. Embrace Flexibility

Quarantine has been a crazy experiment in trying to balance work, life and family. My wife and I run our own businesses, as well as have two young children. We’ve been forced to make significant changes to our work schedules in order to keep life moving forward. Many of the changes have been for the better, and we plan to keep them even as life returns to some form of normalcy. 

My wife and I touch base multiple times a day about our schedules and whose work is more urgent at any given time. We’ve learned to be more flexible and show more grace towards each other and our respective businesses. So, rather than having strict working hours, we have managed to each keep up with our work while also spending valuable time playing with and educating our kids. My main tip is for entrepreneurs and business owners to view their working day and life as something that is fluid. My most productive hours of the day have become 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. I’ll work diligently for four hours on administrative work during business hours and then spend the late evening learning new skills and working on projects and work that I am excited about. 

Welcome the change in your life and schedule and allow it to breed fresh creativity for your life and business. 

Alex Shute, Upward Exits

7. Abstain From Buying

During my voluntary exile at home, I tried to abstain from buying anything that was not immediately needed (especially clothes). It was difficult at first, but not having to buy stuff saved me a ton of money (the occasional Switch games don’t count; I got mine on sale). The quarantine taught me financial discipline and helped me prioritize my spending. In a way, it made me a less impulsive spender, as I now think twice before making a purchase.

Christian Antonoff, ExcelTemplate.net

8. Respect Your Off Time

Having more flexible time now doesn’t mean that you cannot have your own schedule to follow, especially if it will compromise your resting time. You could make dinner time your cue to stop working so that you can still have time to relax for the rest of the day.

Additionally, never compromise your days off, even if you are only working from home. Hide everything that will keep on reminding that you have so much work to finish. As much as possible, spend time with your family and friends, whether in-person or virtually, to distract yourself from work and pamper your stress.

Norhanie Pangulima, Hernorm

9. Diversify Your Income

When you work as an entrepreneur, it helps to always be adding new income streams. Having multiple sources of income can help you avoid the financial pitfalls that come with too heavily relying on one gig or job. That’s a lesson I’ve learned from this crisis. While I did have several gigs going into it, some of those roles have changed since the pandemic, and so I’ve had to diversify my income streams even further. There were some jobs I was no longer able to do because those businesses shut down. It has taught me to work much harder all the time at acquiring new clients, gigs and sources of income. 

 Liz Jeneault, Faveable 

10. Get in a Good Morning Stretch

During quarantine, I started doing morning stretches for the first time which have had an extremely positive impact on my days. Previously, I made the excuse that I didn’t have enough time in the mornings, but working remotely more often opened the door for this to happen. 

Each session immediately makes me feel more awake and energized, which puts me in a much better frame of mind to start work. I’ve also noticed a considerable drop in aches and pains so that I’m more comfortable throughout the day. There are loads of videos on YouTube to choose from, ranging from 10 – 30 minutes, depending on how much time you have. It’s certainly something I’ll be continuing once quarantine eases!

Adam Lumb, Cashcow Ltd

11. Maintain Adaptability

One of the main things that not only entrepreneurs but almost everyone has had to learn during this crisis is adaptability. Being adaptable is an essential prerequisite for success. Although it can’t be said that a pandemic is always around the corner, it’s inevitable that life will throw unpredictable things your way. Being able to change your route with the circumstances and come up with out-of-the-box solutions can help you to come out on top when stressors stand in the way. 

Instead of trying to aimlessly force through a path that is evidently not going to work anymore, adaptability allows you to sidestep the issue altogether, coming up with a solution that simply pulls the rug from out under the feet of the issue. The current pandemic has given many people no choice but to develop this trait, and those who utilized this approach would do well to continue to do so in the future, long after this pandemic is over.

Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics

12. Read, Read and Read More

This quarantine gave me enough time to groom myself, while gaining knowledge from different books. I have completed around seven books during these three months without any hassles. This trait gave me so much insight to share with people and discuss, and I plan to keep up this momentum.

Syed Usman Hashmi, PureVPN

13. Keep Preparing Home-Cooked Meals

One helpful trait I’ve picked up during quarantine is taking the time each day to cook for myself, baking with flour and eggs and trying new recipes, something I had not been doing at all pre-quarantine. It’s helped me start to eat more healthily and take control over what is going in my body. It’s also a stress reliever to spend some time cooking each day, and I will definitely keep cooking post-quarantine.

Stacy Caprio, Accelerated Growth Marketing

14. Stick to Regular Meetings

One thing that both our CMO and CEO have started doing since we’ve all been remote, is having weekly, rather than monthly alignment meetings. So, rather than being told how we’re training toward our OKRs and KPIs on a quarterly basis, we’re told weekly and given feedback as a team and individuals weekly. 

Company-wide chats with the CEO have also been fruitful, as we’ve learned more about the business, how it operates, its challenges, so on and so forth. One-on-ones with the CMO (aka, the boss) every week makes sure that we’re all on the same page, and it’s really helped make all of us feel a little more “together.” 

Most importantly though, the regular feedback and sharing of ideas have helped us be more creative. We’ve spent this time in lockdown focusing on our SEO efforts, as we know that when our B2B customers get back to work, they’ll more than likely be trying to improve their sales, too. I really hope that we keep these regular meetings when we get back into the office!

Phil Forbes, Packhelp

15. Always Sharpen Your Brain

Yes, you read it right. As we have to do physical exercises to strengthen our muscles, we have to do various brain exercises in the same way to keep it functioning properly..

Benefits of doing brain exercise include:

  • Your memory improving
  • Retaining your focus

As per your interest area and career, you can do different brain exercises. A few of them are:

  • Start doing different puzzles available on the internet. One of my favorite sources is youtube channel – LOGICALLY YOURS
  • You can start improving your English vocabulary. It gives you more confidence in your communication.
  • Start adding some new facts to your general knowledge, etc. You can share your knowledge with friends, colleagues and add up to your social status.
  • Play different brain games available online, like chess, sudoku, etc.

The main point is that it feeds your brain something new.. Stretch it and push it to process something new. One human being has around 65,000 thoughts in a single day and more than 90% are repeated one or the same. But if we have some new thoughts daily, or learn something new, even a single word, it will make our brain happy and smart.

Kenny Trinh, NetBookNews

16. Maintain Open Lines of Communication

Our team has been working remotely since March, and I provided each team member with my personal cell phone number. We have always been great at communicating together, but in this unprecedented time, it is critical that each member of our team has my direct number to reach out to me if there’s an emergency, they need help or would simply like to be able to talk an issue through in a manner that is quicker than constantly emailing one another back and forth. This was a great asset to provide the team with, and I believe we will continue to keep in touch accordingly once quarantine restrictions start to loosen over time.

Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com

17. Retain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

When this first started, I was working insane hours. I was trying to make sure everyone made the transition smoothly, which required putting in time well after normal work hours. Even before COVID-19, though, I’d say my work/life balance was awful. I kept my phone attached to my work accounts and responded to emails well into the night, sometimes getting up from bed to tap out a more comprehensive response on my laptop. It drove my wife crazy.

The coronavirus has given me an opportunity to recognize these habits, though, because it’s so easy to just let it all bleed together when you work from home. My wife pointed out that I was working later and later, and still not really walking away at the end of the day. So, I started confining work only to one laptop that I physically left in my office when the work day was done. I took my work accounts off my phone, though managers can still reach me if there’s an emergency. 

It’s given me much more quality time to spend with my family, and I’m grateful for that. I hope I can keep it up even when we return to a physical office. 

Dan Bailey, WikiLawn Lawn Care

18. Stay in Touch With Your Community

As a CEO, it is critical to keep our business visible during this time. While the Covid-19 news is overwhelming, we are focused on staying relevant in our local community. We sponsored a non-profit event, and donated our services. That generated positive press for our company, and demonstrated that we are a strong company and able to help various organizations during this crisis. 

The press that was generated was not a direct solicitation, but it was more focused on how we are staying involved in our community. By continuing to build our brand during the crises, we hope that as businesses start re-opening, we are able to capitalize on a stronger brand and generate more business.

Bobby Reed, Capitol Tech Solutions

19. Have a “Disaster Plan”

I believe this current crisis has taught our company that a disaster plan is something we desperately need. With a huge disruption in our supply chain, we were admittedly caught off guard at the beginning of the pandemic. However, we have persevered, and I have learned some valuable lessons while adjusting on the fly. Our disaster plan will include the costs we can afford to cut, alternate suppliers, alternate retailers,  business pivots that could allow us to enter new markets, and other aspects of our company. Should another crisis arise, any company will be a lot better suited to weather the storm with a plan in place. 

Michael Nemeroff, RushOrderTees

20. Create New Payment Structures for Customers

With marketing budgets tight, we’ve had to get creative to ensure that we continue to bring in new business. To that end, we’ve recently introduced extended payment plans that have worked wonders in helping us bring in clients who are short on cash. We’ve taken our standard fees, added 10% and then divided that number by 12. By using this very simple formula, we’ve guarded against some of the risk of offering long payment terms, while ensuring that our new client pipeline keeps flowing.

Zack Gallinger, Talent Hero Media

21. Be More Empathetic Leaders

The current crisis has provided a stage for our leaders to rise to the occasion. Between the pandemic and the possible recession, leaders have an opportunity to further connect with anxious people and focus on the true relevance of their message. We have to acknowledge that now things are different, so we need to communicate in a way that will give our audiences better focus, helping them to create a bridge from today to the future. We need to communicate in a way that combines information and need, synthesizing feelings and facts.  

I feel leaders have a tremendous responsibility because never before have communications had the power to help society in the way that it does right now. Words are part of the healing process, and we can see which leaders are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul. There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness and timeliness.  

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls

22. Avoid Distractions

It can be easy to be derailed while living the stay at home life. Whether it’s work distractions (new Slack message) or personal (Instagram) have time dedicated just to clear the distractions. This can feel unproductive at 1st but ends up keeping you in a state of high performance (flow for longer periods of the day. The time we intend to waste is not the same as wasted time. 

Sean Higgins, BetterYou

23. Spend Time With Loved Ones in a New Way

We have been saying it a lot but never get time to watch our favorite series properly. With so many people self-isolating at home, people looked for ways to keep themselves entertained and found what’s better than watching Netflix series. The Netflix Party took the whole chill to the next level and allowed people to watch shows with friends and family. The tool allowed people to talk about the series in a whole new way. Now you can chat about the series side-by-side on a chatbox and share your thoughts that you used to share during lunch or coffee breaks in the cafeteria.

Noah James, NativeCompass 

24. Prioritize Visibility

We’ve definitely learned the importance of keeping our business visible online. One of the things we’ve learned along the way is the power of eye-catching visuals of our products on social media. A sharp photo or video along with a clear and concise description is more likely to get the consumer to stop scrolling and see what you have to offer..

We’ve used this downtime in production to turn our focus inward and define our brand while finding the most effective way to distribute our image to consumers. We developed a content marketing strategy that involved writing valuable blog posts and getting reputable backlinks to expand our reach. We’re confident that by sharpening our SEO now, it will continue to pay dividends long after this crisis has passed.

David Vranicar, FBS Fortified & Ballistic Security

25. Stay Fit

Previously, I would NEVER work out unless I could get to the gym. I just felt that at-home workouts weren’t as effective. Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve been doing online workout classes for the last few months and rarely miss a day. I am in the same if not better shape than when I was going to the gym 3-4 times a week.

In fact, working out at home has the added bonus of being able to bang out a 30-minute workout at any time during the day. I can work out between conference calls, after I finish up a stressful task or anytime that fits into my work schedule. That never seemed to be the case when I had to get into my car, drive to the gym, park, get organized and then finally work out.

I plan on continuing my at-home exercise program once this is all over. It really has been a great stress reliever and makes my workday more productive.

Raymer Malone, High Income Protection Insurance Agency

26. Less Is More

The life lesson I’m going to take with me after COVID is “less is more.” I realized (in a trial by fire situation) that I can do the same amount of work in less time while taking care of my son and working at home. I can do this by being very intentional with the hours I work. Rather than spending every second behind the computer working on my business and blog, I set specific hours when I work and there’s a hard deadline now because I have chores to do and schoolwork to help with. After quarantine, I’m going to keep the same schedule and be fierce about sticking to it so I can have more time to myself. 

Swati Chalumuri, Hear Me Folks

Author: Angela Ash

Managing content and publicity even when she sleeps, Angela also writes poetry, plays the piano, travels, loves on her two feline fur balls and can even beat Mickey Mouse at Disney trivia