The COVID-19 crisis has the world in turmoil. I don’t remember a time in my lifetime that we, as humanity, have experienced such shared angst. Drastic measures, like national lockdowns / shelter in place, all over the world. I thought I wouldn’t be ‘one of those people’ sharing a lockdown diary. Maybe I am and maybe I will or won’t be, but thought I’d still share my lockdown experience so far.

With the head start we’ve had here’s a run down of our lockdown experience so far.

Mental Situation

Now that I think about it, thinking I could avoid reflecting this way was stupid. This is because I process a lot through or by writing. It’s just been one of the ways I think for most of my life. It’s also how I make sense of my internal world and how I engage the world outside.

I’m writing this at the start of day 2 of 21 of a national lockdown in South Africa. While the country is only in day 2, Ingrid and I have sheltered in place for just over two weeks.

Reflection: do what you can for your mental health

You might need to reflect like me by writing or journaling. Maybe keep a mental diary using apps like Sanvello. Whatever you do, make sure you’re proactive about your mental health, not reactive.

Rich People Problems

This is code for Ingrid and I use for privileged people problems. In many ways we’re privileged. We don’t have all the trappings we want, but we have to remind ourselves that our norm is opulence to many.

For starters, I have the privilege of not only what I consider deeply meaningful work, but also have the privilege and means to work from anywhere. That’s how I’ve managed to remotely from home for two weeks. Granted that before this, I’ve been able to work some days from home and other days in the office.

I’m counting my privilege

We’ve been able to go out about twice to stock up on suppliers. No, we haven’t been rolling tons of toilet paper out the stores, like we’ve seen on social media. We actually haven’t adjusted our usual buying patterns. We usually buy a week’s worth of food, not more than two, at a time.

We’re learning to be creative with whatever food we get / have.

Count your privilege. Be grateful. Love your neighbour with your resource.

Productivity

Like many teams in different organisations, we’re trying to make some adjustments to ways of working and plans we’d made. This time has been intense. It has also been super exhilarating solving some of the problems that have come up because of COVID-19 crisis.

I’m more productive working from home. Despite many calls and meetings, I’ve been able to better. I have a new experiential understanding of the negative impact of the the 1–3 hour return commute. I’m glad I get to use that energy to focus.

I’ve actually taken more meetings and done more early in the morning and or much later. I usually have meetings at weird hours because time zones, but I don’t feel like I’m rushing to them because well, I’m home the whole time.

I’m glad that remote working has been a part of my work for a while now. So the experience isn’t alien. I’m not disoriented. My team and I talk, a lot. We Slack, iMessage, FaceTime, Zoom and Teams a ton. So, I don’t feel disconnected from my team / colleagues.

Because part of our way of working is remote, we’ve honed some of our tools fairly well.

Anyways, I’m more productive.

Home

We’ve had to make some changes to our living area for both work and home life. Finding something that is optimal is always a work in progress. So, if you’re still trying to figure this one out, don’t worry about figuring it out at one point.

The important thing is ‘hacking yourself’–not literally, of course. How do you best work? And, what does family life look like. Compromises will have to be made.

Adjust your home and work stuff as you go. You’re not going to figure it all out at once

I wish I could give parenting advice but I can’t. So, I’ll just give a shout out to all parents working from home. A good number have had to make sure children are also getting to their school work. So, strength to you. 💪🏽

People

Our lockdown experience so far would be hard without people contact even if it isn’t in-person in the same room. Besides colleagues who also double as friends, we’ve had to intentionally connect with others. This is one area I think I could do better. So I’m going to give advice I’m trying, even struggling to implement myself:

Reach out to people and talk to them. Turn the video on.

Citizens

So many people have become epidemiologists and virologists because they read a Facebook post. I’ve found it disturbing that when even the experts are saying, “We don’t know enough…” we dare to offer “expert” opinion. This, in some ways is one of the biggest problems amplifying the crisis.

Many people have become epidemiologists and virologists because they read a Facebook post or forwarded WhatsApp message. Don’t be one of them.

Don’t share any medical advice unless it’s from official professional bodies in your country or WHO. Stay in your lane.

Neighbours

Love your neighbour by staying home. This way you help flatten the infection curve. Love your neighbour by helping them where you can. Maybe even get the neighbour and just check in on them.

Love your neighbour.

Again, this is another area I really need to do better in.

Lockdown Experience #01 Sign Off

I’m not oblivious to the privilege of resources we have compared to others. And, I must be a responsible citizen. Love your neighbour while you’re at it.

Let’s all do the same, yeah?

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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