How to Make Your COVID-19 Quarantine Productive | Seth Godin on The Moment with Brian Koppelman

Key Takeaways

  • As you hunker down in COVID-19 quarantine, ask yourself:
    • “What kind of person do I want to be for the next few months?”
    • “What would the best version of me be doing right now?”
    • “What would the best version of me look like at the end of this period?”
  • Spend your time in isolation productively—learn a new skill, tutor students, or better yet, do something that scares you
  • If you’re working from home for the first time:
    • “Be productive, and then turn it off. Turning it off is so important—you won’t win any prizes for being online more than other people over the next 2 weeks.” – Seth Godin
    • “The wrong answer is to work at a 70% pace for 20% longer—that’s not going to help you” Seth Godin
  • Amidst the COVID-19 panic, remember:
    • “There are people who need panic around them to make their panic feel more viable—you don’t need to be around those people”Seth Godin  

Intro

Panic is a Hobby

  • “Panic is a hobby … A hobby in the sense that it doesn’t produce useful outcomes. It’s something that we can choose to do—or not to do—based on how we tell ourselves a story.” – Seth Godin
    • Think about it: there’s a significant chance a giant asteroid will one day hit the planet, but no one’s panicking
  • “We’re in the middle of a worldwide tragedy” – Seth Godin
    • MANY people will be affected by this, but remember: you have the choice of whether or not to panic
  • “There are people who need panic around them to make their panic feel more viable—you don’t need to be around those people” – Seth Godin

Be Resilient

  • “Resilience begins with the idea that the sun sets every night, and it’s going to get dark. It begins with knowing you will die, and nothing you build will last forever.” – Seth Godin
    • Seek resilience, not permanence
    • Think: Yahoo thought they would be the center of the internet, Western Union thought they would revolutionize the financial industry, etc.,
  • “The reason that 400 million rolls of toilet paper got sold last week is because people were looking for a talisman; they were looking for an animal sacrifice; they were looking for a way to insulate themselves from a world that wasn’t the way they expected it to be. We do these actions because we’re trying to get things back to the way they’re supposed to be.”Seth Godin

How can we feel more capable during these tough times?

  • The best source of resilience: generous leadership
    • “Everyone listening to this has an electronic device in their hands that’s connecting them to the entire world—they have access to things that were MIRACLES just 50 years ago. But, if we’re telling ourselves a story that we’re drowning, it’s harder to feel sufficient.” – Seth Godin
    • Take Brian: he uses his podcast to lead others by spreading a helpful message—we should all do something similar
  • COVID-19 will last for a while—Seth calls it a long “slog.” But it’s essential to realize: it’s not like WWI or WWII where a bomb could drop on your house at any minute.
  • As you begin to hunker down, ask yourself:
    • “What kind of person do I want to be for the next 2 weeks, or 4 weeks, or 6 weeks?”
    • “What would the best version of me be doing right now?
    • “What would the best version of me look like at the end of this period?”

Use Your COVID-19 Quarantine Time Productively

  • “In a moment of pessimism and disarray, putting ourselves under pressure to be more productively generous is exactly what we need to do” – Seth Godin
    • You can either binge watch Netflix, or spend an hour tutoring a student stuck at home on Zoom—the choice is yours
      • “That contribution is going to get you out of your head, and getting you out of your head because you made something better for someone else—what a treat”
  • If tutoring isn’t your cup of tea, that’s fine—go learn a new skill
    • “Instead of watching old Seinfeld episodes on YouTube, go watch something on YouTube about things you have no idea about—learn something” – Seth Godin
  • Overall, choose what provides “thick pleasure” (learning a new skill, helping a student, etc.), not “thin pleasure”
  • To help determine how to spend your quarantine time best, ask yourself: “Who can I teach? Who can I connect? Who can I lead?
  • If you’re working at home for the first time, realize: you now have a surplus of time you did ‘t previously have access to—choose to spend it wisely
    • “The wrong answer is to work at work at a 70% pace for 20% longer—that’s not going to help you” Seth Godin
  • Over the next few weeks: “Be productive, and then turn it off. Turning it off is so important—you won’t win any prizes for being online more than other people over the next 2 weeks. The way you’ll win prizes—the way you’ll be proud of your work—is if you do something that scares you.”Seth Godin
    • Every day, from 3-4 PM, do a deep dive/sprint into an area you’re afraid of

How to Avoid Social Isolation During Quarantine

  • Akimbo is launching a free online virtual co-working space
    • How does it work?
      • You’ll be camera with others (not talking), surrounded by others doing the same
      • They’ll also be “rooms” for water cooler chat
    • Why the need? – “Social isolation without any interaction with other people is not something conducive for most of us to have a good day”
  • Reach out to a few of your colleagues and propose a virtual lunch meeting every day via Zoom

How is Seth staying energized while under quarantine?

  • He’s:
    • choosing to respond, not react
    • Going for multiple half-hour walks every day
    • Working out at home
      • “The physical part of your body has no idea what’s going on in the real world; it’s just responding to being put to use”Seth Godin
  • What about Brian?
    • He’s avoiding flour & sugar (he’s 7 weeks in!)

Allot Your Attention Wisely

  • Nowadays, everyone has a microphone
    • The upside: if you have something to say, you can say it
    • The downside: people who shouldn’t even have a driver’s license also have a microphone
      • “If you’re listening to these people, you’re making a significant mistake. Just because someone shows up in your feed or your email doesn’t mean you need to pay attention.” Seth Godin
  • Your attention is finite—choosing who to speak with and listen to is of the utmost importance

Additional Notes

  • Seth grew up in Buffalo, NY
  • Brian is working on a book
  • “My heart goes out to all these medical professionals putting themselves through the wringer. It’s what they signed up for a long time ago. They don’t wish for it to happen, but they’re ready for it to happen.”Seth Godin
  • In the midst of COVID-19 quarantine, Brian is doing more podcast interviews
  • Brian has a public Twitter list of coronavirus experts
  • 1,000 17-year-olds started smoking in the last 2 hours
  • Brian’s son started a newsletter called Cooking in Quarantine
    • Every day, he’s sending out an email about what people should be cooking during their COVID-19 quarantines

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