It seems like just yesterday I was writing about Memorial Day Weekend and here we are on the cusp of Labor Day Weekend. As the end of summer draws near and schools begin anew, let's pause to look back on what a long, strange trip it's been. Not that it’s over, but the change of seasons seems like a good time to reflect. I’m grateful for my circumstances. In a labor market with 10% unemployment and an appalling number of people succumbing to Covid and its related effects, my family is safe and my business growing. That’s not to say my days are stress-free. Work in this environment has its challenges. All this time together under one roof creates the occasional emotional dustup. And from time to time, yes, it's true, I lose my patience. Some of you may have had similar experiences.
Going forward, I’m going to redouble my efforts on self-control (see tip #2 below). In the meantime, I think we all deserve some friends and family time, preferably outdoors taking full advantage of the last days of summer.
Some thoughts for keeping it together in these times.
If you haven’t already, upgrade your connectivity plan. With a few minor hiccups, I thought we did OK this summer. Yet it took only a couple online classrooms, a Zoom meeting and a conference call to prove otherwise. With all of the traffic coming online as remote learning starts again, your internet speed can slow to a crawl. With a working spouse or partner and/or kids on multiple devices, it gets worse. Take the time to properly configure your network. Sometimes your internet provider can help (after they’ve tried to sell you an upgrade). Learn how poorly your network performs at its worst and then have a back up plan. Tethering with your phone can work. If your tablet has a cell chip, you can use it on the cellular network. You may also be able to access public networks like Xfinity and AT&T in a pinch, but know that performance can be uneven.
Practice the fine art of self-control or more colloquially — keeping it together. It’s knowing the difference between what we can control and what we can’t, and focusing on the former. Now more than ever, it’s a survival skill. It can make a difference in your mental and physical health, your relationships and your productivity. It’s like a muscle. We’re all born with it but it takes time and effort to develop. Stress, distractions and poor sleep undermine our ability to manage our thoughts, emotions and actions. Two ideas to improve. One, be more aware of when you're trying to keep it together. When you’re successful, remember what worked. When you’re not, don’t get hung up and figure out where you slipped. You will get better over time. Two, step away and reset. Do something that you find calming — a walk (maybe with the dog), playing music or reading a good book. This creates distance from the moment and allows you to revisit with a clearer mind and more perspective.
If you have any thoughts you'd like to share, please pass them on by replying to this email. Here are more tips on making the most of your time at home.
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Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day!
Your friends at SingleFile