How to Keep your Sanity during COVID

Updated: Feb 15

Life is more than just your career. Yet it's easy to get Zoom fatigued from online meetings during these COVID times. It's easy to be overwhelmed by work and forget other areas of your life.


Trust me, I know.


I recently completed five consecutive days of running full-day virtual workshops. I spaced them out with 90 minutes of content then a 30 minute break, which helped. But even with that, it was a lot of time on Zoom!


However, I’ve still managed to find time for balance. Below is what I’ve enjoyed this week in the key areas of my life.


I'm sharing this with the hope of inspiring you to make some time for things other than staring into Zoom 9 hours a day.


Health


I’m doing an eight-week Peloton challenge with my wife. We have four rides per week, with a group cohort. I’m signed up for a “Superdad Challenge” with Jason Chamney from Fitness Science. The focus is on elevating my game around physical health: nutrition, exercise, sleep. This is also a group cohort. Notice the commonality: group cohorts, even just from your locked-down home. I’ve often gotten a boost to my desire for exercise when in group settings. Both of these options are helping me fit in regular exercise and work on my health. This is all increasing my capacity to get more work done in the same amount of hours. My wife also just found the holy grail of the pandemic: a 5-pair set of hex dumbbells! Costco FTW if you’re looking.


Personal Growth


I've shifted recently to reading multiple books at once. I'm actually reading more now because I'm not constrained by needing to want to read the one book I had previously selected. If I’m not in the mood to read about finance, I can read about parenting, or read a novel. What I'm reading:


I’ve been exploring the new app Clubhouse. Think social media, but only audio chat rooms. I listened in on Elon Musk's chat where he discussed when we might put humans on Mars, crypto, and he even interviewed the CEO of Robinhood.


Clubhouse is invite-only and iPhone-only. If you'd like an invite let me know, I have three more to give out.


Family, Fun & Recreation


Our family got a new board game over Christmas: Disney’s Villainous. It has quickly become a hit with everyone in our family, from Nana to our 8-year-old son. You get to play as one of several classic villains from a variety of Disney movies, for example: Prince John from Robin Hood, Jafar from Aladdin, or Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Your opponents attempt to mess you up by finding “Hero” cards and playing them to your board. the game is easy to learn, and has some good depth and complexity (including expansion packs with more villains). Pro tip: My middle son told me to let you know this. If you have a good strategy for playing as Queen of Hearts, you can “steamroll”. He steamrolled his Mom. And me. And basically everyone. If you’re looking for a great family activity off-screens, check it out.

Giving


My wife and I value giving. When our kids get their weekly allowance, 10% goes to invest (to teach them the skill of investing, not saving), and 10% to donate. We give, but it’s mostly ad-hoc. We recently opened a Chimp account and set up a monthly auto-deposit. It’s like a bank account, but just for our charitable giving. Chimp makes it super easy for us to find great causes and to donate regularly. Now we are regular, intentional and strategic about our giving. This week was the anniversary of my step-father passing away from Pancreatic Cancer. We checked if Chimp made it easy to donate to this cause, and voila! We easily made a donation via our Chimp account to the Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation.

Career


This week I signed up for a board/governance training program with Ozone Advisory. Darren Rawson from Ozone has delivered incredible talks on “The Case for Private Company Governance” to two of my CEO peer groups.


I’ve also been speaking to several CEO groups recently on Leading Highly Productive Virtual Teams and The Cornerstones of Exceptional CEO Performance.

I’ve also noticed several organizations are keenly interested in Leadership Development right now. I’ve just completed Elevating Leadership for the New Reality programs for Blizzard and McElhanney, and I have two more planned programs in the works. I delivered a workshop for a client on Monday this week, Anderson Air. CEO Ryan Anderson shared this testimonial which “filled my bucket”: ”We’ve done lots of workshops in the past. But not too often is it one where the rubber hits the road immediately. Our people have been using what they learned from you in their daily lives right away.”


Wealth



I’ve been following the Reddit WallStreetBets v Short Sellers story this week which I’ve found fascinating. It has me questioning even more how much the market actually works - is it based more on fundamentals, or on sentiment and momentum? I’ve tried to be an unemotional value investor for years, and if instead I just bought stocks I loved and believed in (Tesla, Peloton, Apple, Disney) I would have crushed it. I’ve learned to view opportunities like trains on a platform. I used to stare after the opportunity I missed as it leaves the station, waving my fist. In doing so I missed the next opportunity. I do my best to avoid this behaviour now. Last year I retained Nicola Wealth Management to manage my slow and steady investments, and they’re doing a great job so far. I’ve been long crypto for four years, and recently have invested even more in this area. I’m balancing out my slow and steady investing with some more self-directed investments. The kids also added some crypto to their portfolios (EA, SBUX, RBI) this week.



Phew! Even with a lot of time on Zoom, these activities have provided balance for me. I hope you’re inspired to find balance this week, spending more time doing things that you love during COVID.