Focus is the key to thriving during troubled times

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Throughout my career, I’ve faced challenges, failures and difficult decisions—these experiences became the foundation and building blocks that led me to where I am today. While I have plenty more to learn and more demanding decisions lay ahead, I like to think I picked up a few worthwhile practices along the way—all of which became part of my daily rituals.

Recently, I discussed building resilience during hardships. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on staying focused and clear-minded as we make our way through and out of the current tumultuous business climate and help our clients and communities do the same.

1. Create a daily schedule and commit to it.

Task List, project management concept, pen on white paper notepad with handwritten headline as Task List and numbers listed on wood table, writing business project with tasks prioritize See LessRoutine is a key first step to take toward normalcy during volatile times. It allows the body and mind to sync, prepare for each day and tackle challenges with purpose and focus.

We were forced to quickly adapt to a new work environment and transform our homes into offices, classrooms and more. This radical shift unmoored us from our day-to-day routines and, if we don’t respond properly, can make us feel like we’ve lost control.

My solution? Create new routines. To start, find time to jot down your goals for the day, or if you’re writing your list at the end of the day, what you’d like to accomplish tomorrow. Then, mentality create a schedule of consistency—one where you plan when you wake, eat, work, exercise and break. My late-night workouts aren’t for everyone. But they are key to keeping me focused and healthy.

Find and commit to the routines that make you as effective as possible in your work life and your home life.

2. Find reasons to be optimistic and enthusiastic.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when faced with abnormal circumstances or ones that scare us. I encourage you to not lose your passion for what you love during these setbacks; whether it’s your work, your studies or hobbies. If you’re passionate about physical fitness and your gym’s doors are currently shut, readjust your routine and run outside or do bodyweight exercises. If your guitar is collecting dust in the corner of the room, pick it up, tune it and start playing again. Find what makes you happy and be grateful for the opportunity to do it.

3. Demonstrate kindness.

The popular quote by Mark Twain, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” reminds me that we’re all in this together and are all experiencing similar setbacks and anxieties. Our current situation presents an opportunity for kindness–let the older couple skip ahead of you in the checkout line; call your clients just to ask about their well-being; give a shout out to your teammates on LinkedIn. The only way out of this is through it, so keep your spirits high and encourage kindness.

4. Don’t ignore mental wellness.

At the end of the day, find time to unplug. It’s easy to forget about our own mental health, but we have to look after ourselves. We aren’t machines, and we can’t stay glued to our inboxes 24/7. When creating the schedule and daily goals I mentioned above, allot time to turn off your phone or power down your computer and do something that recharges you.

There are resources out there, such as meditation apps and online counseling, that are designed to help us manage our stress and concentrate on our mental health when in-person connections are limited. Find what makes this all a little lighter for you and stick with it.

5. Push yourself to new heights.

U.S. Army General George Patton used to tell his troops during World War II that the body is always tired. But when you stop letting your body tell your mind what to do, the body will never tire so long as the mind does not. In my first blog post, I wrote about a lesson I learned early on in my youth. Since then, my mantra has been “keep cutting your string.” You’ll reach greater heights the harder you push yourself toward your goals—whether those are professional goals, athletic goals or artistic goals. Though we face unprecedented challenges today, that’s no excuse to stop pushing ourselves. With self-discipline and commitment, we will grow stronger and get closer to achieving our goals.

In our lives and careers, we may stumble—we may actually even fall. When we strengthen our resolve and view setbacks as temporary, we get back up every time. Apply this metaphor to what we’re all going through now: don’t lose your optimism or your kindness or your commitment to your goals. These efforts will help all of us improve our focus and effectiveness during this uncertain and challenging time. I have faith in our company, communities and clients and am confident we will come out of this situation stronger.

Together, we persevere.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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