Business as (Un)usual

March 20, 2020

I’ve worked from home for the last 19 years.

There are a slew of articles that give you tips on how to be productive from your kitchen table or even your couch.

Normally, that’s exactly what you need…when it’s business as usual. Getting into a regular routine in your new home office. Or getting the hang of needing to work from home when you have a sick kiddo.

But, there’s nothing the least bit usual about business these days.

So, here’s what I want you to take into account.

Helping you be productive isn’t just about getting things done. It’s about understanding how to deal with the chaos that’s rolling around in your head.

Here are three things that I know from experience will help…

Honor your emotions

When you hunker down to get through tough times, it’s easy to bury your emotions. “This, too, shall pass,” is a common phrase of comfort for people. But that hurts more than it helps.

The less you bury how you feel and the more you vocalize it, the smaller a grip your emotions have on you. You’ll have an easier time acknowledging them and then stepping back into action. And, taking action gives you a greater sense of control.

Control what you can

Speaking of control, it’s easy to feel that it’s spiraling away from you. This is when routines become your best friend. The more you can do the same thing during the same time of day, the greater sense of control you’ll feel over your life.

Psychologists even say that “when you regulate your daily actions, you deactivate your ‘fight or flight’ instincts because you’re no longer confronting the unknown.” When you’re spending less of your energy making small-scale decisions every day, you’ll have more to put behind the big things you want to move forward.

Ask for help

This is easy to say but brutally hard to do. Things are always easier to do yourself. It will just take you a minute. You don’t want to bother anyone. You know exactly where to find things. There’re a million little reasons not to ask for help.

But all those little things you keep juggling keep building up. Maybe you never drop a ball and things don’t come crashing down – but you will. You won’t be the best you at work. You’ll be thinking about your workload when you should be emotionally present for your family. And, you’ll never get a good night’s sleep. It’s creates an impossible cycle that can only be broken by dividing and conquering. No one does anything alone. Batman had Robin. Thelma had Louise. Even Jesus needed 12 disciples.

Embracing isn’t for everyone

You’ll get plenty of advice to “embrace uncertainty,” but that’s a bunch of phooey. If you don’t know what’s around the corner, how in the world can you wrap your arms around it? Some people just aren’t wired that way. However, concentrating on these three things will help you feel grounded. And it’s from that place that you will find the grace you need to pause, take a deep breath, and know in your heart that things will be OK.

Because, none of us are alone in these unusual times.

Photo credit: Punttim on Pixabay

About Carla Johnson


Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.