For years, like most office workers, I commuted to and from Providence, RI for work. As our economy continued to grow, the traffic jams grew right along with it. I can remember many commutes thinking “what a waste of time!”. The reality is, we all wish we could go back to that “problem” right now, given the human tragedy we are dealing with right now. If there was ever a time to say “all things are relative” – it’s now.

One of the best things we can do today is to make the best use of our new situation. For some, working from home creates unique problems, as workers perform the dual role of employee and parent at the same time. But for others, working from home is creating free space in our schedule that was previously taken up by long commutes, endless meetings and other daily distractions. So the question is, how do we create the discipline to stay focused, while using our newfound time to expand our skills?

One thing I have been trying is to dedicate each day to learning something new. Currently, I am learning how to build out my website on WordPress. The biggest obstacle is overcoming the urge to distract myself by watching the news constantly or endlessly checking email and social media. We are, after all, biologically rewarded with dopamine when we distract ourselves from focused concentration. But, if you can remain focused, the newfound skills you can develop will fuel your desire to keep going. As I get better at the various features of WordPress, I find my energy levels rising and motivating me to learn more and more.

While the value of learning new things is obvious, I highlight this issue because all of us will need to become more skilled and flexible to meet the challenges of our new, post pandemic reality. By upgrading your knowledge and skill set, not only will you be more valuable to your current employer, you will as importantly be able to help others to get on their feet. And we should make no mistake, the needs of those in our community will be all around us as we transition out of a shutdown. So my prayer for us all is to stay focused, stay resilient and stay healthy.