As I’m starting to work back from a coworking space, and before Singapore fully reopens its economy in Phase II, I wanted to share some thoughts about the last 2 months. Lockdown started here on April 7th, after already three weeks of advise from local authorities to work from home.
Like many others, I guess the lockdown has been a mix of good and bad, and moment of self-reflection on what matters in life, from physical space to relationships, and maybe on top of it, this idea of productivity. Can I be productive working remotely? Should I panick being less productive? What’s productive anyway?
What I achieved during the lockdown
- Finished a 4000-piece puzzle that will hang in my son’s room soon
- Concluded the purchase of a flat where our family will be able to live soon
- Got AWS Cloud Practitioner certified and another Coursera done on Agile Practices
- Spent the paternity leave I wanted to do earlier this year for good, living the same pace as my then 6 months son as my wife got overwhelmed by her work and mine went close to zero
- Delivered my first 10-week course in DT fully online for the ESSEC business school
- Finished a few cool games: GTA V, Red Dead Redemption 2, Wolfenstein Old Blood and New World Order
- Started a few cool games: Call of Duty MW, Metro 2033
- Kept exercising 1-2 times a week
- Called quite a few friends, although not as much I would like, it’s just not the same motivation to schedule a call across different timezone for a casual chat
- Binged heavily on Shark Tank (how could I miss such a great series for all these years???)
- Finished quite a few books, the last Damasio (in French), chronicles by Joseph Kessel.
What I feel as I exit the lockdown
- Relief as none of my close friends or family got any serious issue with Covid
- Relief to see my physical space go from 80sqm to a daily commute, working from a proper office
- Sad to see that a new crisis shake our world with Black Lives Matter, sad to see that Covid did not unite us humans more
- Happy to take down many items of my Getting Things Done list as my days are now back to several hours of uninterrupted work
- Frustrated that airports & borders are still closed, I miss my jet-setter job, I miss my family, I miss traveling
- Surprised that I went through the lockdown with just a minor change of mood, but I wouldn’t like to experiment another one for sure
What do I plan in the coming weeks & months?
- Monitoring every day the border control restrictions so I can the FIRST flight to see my family in France, ideally with my wife and my son
- Re-contacting my clients, past and existing, to assess their mood, mindset, see how I can help
- Plan part of the renovation of my new flat to be able to host a proper work from home station
- Planning for the full re-opening of the economy due later in June here in Singapore: I can only imagine it as drinks & diner every night with different friends for two weeks in a row
- Re-assessing what I would like to “give back” (to clients, to leads, to students) in a way that would not be disrupted too much in case of another health crisis. Maybe a podcast, or a series of video opinions.
- Be more involved in politics, one way or another, 2020 showed how tech could be used for good (fighting Covid) or wrong (more and more divisive public sphere), and keeping the agenda of an open, globalized world, as my direction.
All in all, the lockdown reshuffled my understanding of what is it to be “productive”.
I used to love XL days with lots to do, like fighting a war from a trench and ending up with that feeling of sane exhaustion after having delivered a lot for clients.
Like many, I feel that being “constrained” to live as a nuclear family in a small space gives another perspective on relationships. I want to keep building more events for my friends and my family (although I’m happy I did NOT organize this Tokyo Olympics trip as I wanted last year…). I know this time close to my son will be a great foundation for our family bond. I also look forward to work more remotely, and less overseas, to keep this physical presence with him at a high level.
So the questions I ask myself on productivity would be:
- For who am I productive? Myself? Clients? Family? Friends?
- How do I measure my productivity? Projects delivered? # of my baby’s smiles? Sense of belonging? Clarity of purpose/activity?
- What can I do if I feel not-productive? Admit it and play games? Fight it and take small steps in a project? Share it and discuss about it with friends?
- Are there different contexts of productivity? Remote-work productivity? Team & meeting productivity? Personal productivity (sleep? fitness? nutrition?)
- How can I be productive on society-level topics? Fund associations/businesses in line with my value? 1% revenues to fund students’ projects? Join political groups? How many fights do I want to embark on? For what results?
Happy to read what this lockdown period did to your sense of productivity and achievement!