The COVID-19 outbreak and the practice of social distancing has greatly impacted our lives and how we carry out our daily schedules. However, these changes do not have to hinder our ability to continue working on our businesses and ourselves.

Something I quickly learned during the first week of social distancing is how imperative it is to prioritize mental and physical health, in addition to dedicating hours to my business, even while working from home.

It’s quite simple to forgo structure, avoid exercise when the gyms are closed, consume more television and become emotionally bogged down with the ongoing news focused on COVID-19 cases.

I encourage each of you to take care of yourself, now more than ever. Look at the glass half full and take advantage of this moment by self-reflecting and self-educating. Here are a few suggestions to get the most out of social distancing.

For your business:

Administration: This could be a great time to handle some of those menial tasks that have been postponed due to deadlines, meetings and pertinent assignments. Set some time aside to clean out your inbox, organize paper and electronic files, rejuvenate your website and update your standard operating procedures (SOP).
(If you don’t know what an SOP is, it is a document or series of documents compiled to assist you and your team with handling the complex and day to day routines of your business/position.)

Business Plan: Don’t have a business plan yet? Or do you have a severely outdated version? Now is the time to check this off your list. Download WBCUtah’s business plan template and schedule a free appointment with one of our business advisors.

Expanding Your Connections: Maximize your network with social media. Check on co-workers and your small business community, use your email contact list to connect with people on LinkedIn, generate meaningful content, ask for advice and join networking groups.

Social Media & Style Guide: Familiarizing yourself with social media and strategically planning out posts for the upcoming weeks is a big pill to swallow. It takes a few hours of dedication and uninterrupted silence to hash out some quality marketing material. However, with the current situation, many of us are working from home–and it is as good a time as any to pour yourself some tea, turn on your computer and get brainstorming.

Have some blank paper next to you and throw out as many ideas as you can onto that piece of paper. Think about your brand… Do you want to elevate it or make changes? Write out how you would promote your business during holidays, what promotions you’d offer and major partnerships you would like to highlight. Think about what you want your social media to communicate. Look at other businesses’ platforms for inspiration and begin planning. Here are some tools to help you along the way…

Facebook Scheduler
Use platforms such as Hootsuite to increase your knowledge on social media marketing.

Professional Develop: Sharpen the tools in your toolbox by taking professional development courses that will elevate your performance. LinkedIn Learning provides one month of free access to over 14,000 courses taught by professionals and don’t forget to check WBCUtah’s calendar for upcoming workshops.

For Yourself:

Exercise:  Try to go on a walk at least once a day to get our daily dose of Vitamin C and fresh air.  There are many gyms that are hosting classes virtually and streaming networks that are offering free classes, try to schedule a few into your week that you can do by yourself or with the family. 

Finish that Checklist:  The trees are blossoming, the sun is shining and that means spring cleaning is here. Jump right in on that home project to-do list and see what you can complete during this time.  

Educate:  There are 450 free Ivy League courses available online from business to Egyptology.  Dive into a night of culture by taking a virtual tour of a museum or art gallery and join the Royal Opera House in a screening of ballets and operas’ including Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Socialize while Distancing: Self-isolating by no means should be to stop socializing. With technology you can get creative and continue to connect with friends, family and your business network. Try hosting a social hour, join a netflix party, start a virtual book club or designate a day out of the week and have a themed meeting (you can’t deny you haven’t tried changing your virtual background at least once). 

Many businesses are turning to creative virtual events, Chipotle for example, created an event centered around one of the most important aspects of developing a connection, having a conversation over a shared meal or cup of coffee. You can do this with your team, network or family… and it’s an opportunity to support local restaurants by ordering in! 

To summarize, try  to write a list of projects you can focus on during the time ahead. And create a strategy, day by day!

While COVID-19 creates anxiety and uncertainty about the future and how our society will be different once the virus passes, the opportunity to remain productive during these times is boundless. I encourage you to really dig deep and use this time to enrich your life with personal projects and professional pursuits to help give yourself purpose. 

By: Teresa Bagdasarova, Program Coordinator, WBCUtah