It’s mid-April, and here in Berlin we’re about four weeks into social-distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Or wait, is it five weeks? By this point days and weeks have lost all meaning. They’ve blurred into a long stream of searching the kitchen for snacks, episodes of Tiger King, and time spent gazing out the window wondering when this all is going to return to normal.
And while those of us that are reading this can feel thankful that we’re healthy and with a home to take shelter in, there’s no doubt that the recent restrictions placed on people’s movement around the world have thoroughly shaken up our daily routines.
Some of us might be well-adapted to live under these new circumstances (shoutout to my fellow introverts), but there’s a part of every person’s life that they’ve been forced to adapt.
With the situation changing every day and so much that remains unknown at the moment (When will this end? Will we ever go back to ‘normal’? How should I be using my time?), it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and stuck personally or with your business.
So we reached out to some successful dropshippers in the Oberlo community to ask for advice. They shared the tips and routines that are helping them stay sane (and occasionally, productive) during this strange, strange time.
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Make Time to Connect with Others
We’re used to spending our days dotted with connections to other people. During the day at work, on public transport, or standing in line at the grocery store, our day is punctuated by our interactions with others. As the presence of these activities has been turned down in our lives, it’s normal to start to feel a sense of disconnection. But now, more than ever, we can find comfort in reaching out.
In a time when it’s easy to feel discouraged about the future of your business, Courtney White has found connection and motivation through a small group of ecommerce business owners. “We have a group chat where we discuss our daily goals or pass ideas around,” she says. “If there’s ever a day when I’m feeling a little down or didn’t meet a specific goal I set for myself, I can count on those daily chats to refocus my attention and keep moving me forward.”
Emma Reid has found motivation too by connecting with a small group of dropshippers over daily ‘accountability calls.’ They use these calls to discuss problems they’re facing with their business and brainstorm ways to overcome them. Sometimes, they don’t talk much and spend the time on a video call quietly working beside each other. “This is more important than ever now that we’re all so isolated,” she says.
Our favourite Facebook groups to connect with others
For Shishir, he’s found it helpful to think about someone other than himself. He’s using the time to connect to other entrepreneurs and offer them a hand through their first wobbly steps into ecommerce. “I consciously try to take my focus away from my own problems and hurdles,” he says. “Instead, I choose to focus on helping others overcome their early dropshipping problems.”
With more time collectively on our hands than ever, many entrepreneurs are using the time to connect more with the people in their lives.
“I have a wife and two kids, including a newborn baby, so I don’t feel alone or bored at any time,” says dropshipper Pierre Emmanuel. “But during the day I video call my friends, and have fun outside in my garden with my 3 year-old son.”
For Christoph Filgertshofer, he’s been using the time to connect more often with family. “We have a big Zoom call every Sunday evening with all the family members. It was quite a hustle to get my grandparents on Zoom the first time, but now it’s working out fine,” he says.
And now, the connection feels stronger than ever. “Normally I see some of my family members just a couple of times a year, now I see them every week. I think that would have never started without this current situation.”
Dial up the Self Care
Starting a business is all-consuming. One minute you’re sitting down to just check on one of your ads, and next thing you know it’s 3am, your eye is twitching and you realise you haven’t eaten anything since lunch. As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of putting our business before our physical and mental health. But given the additional stress currently piled on top of us, it pays to make time in your day to take care of yourself first.
“I’ve not been able to hit the gym as regularly as I normally would, so the main thing I’ve done is schedule a one hour slot in my day where I do some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training),” says Chris Wane. “When I first started the lockdown I was eating all my quarantine snacks and not keeping active. So I forced myself to do something about it and even though I never look forward to it, I always feel great after.”
And as the world rediscovers the simple pleasure of just going for a walk, many of our dropshippers agree that regularly hitting the pavement (while dodging others on the sidewalk) can do wonders for your physical and mental health.
“As a person that hates being stuck inside, one thing that’s been keeping me sane is going for walks and runs,” says Yuanda Wang. “Exercise is super important, it’s been proven to lower stress, boost your immune system, and just make you happier. Apart from that, it’s nice to clear my mind once in a while and take a break from work and recharge.”
Shishir agrees, and tries to fit in at least one long walk per week. “It’s a great way to clear the head and get perspective.”
“Whether it’s reading a book, exercising, playing video games or crying in the shower, an hour of self care a day is super important,” says Sarah Z.
Our favourite apps to work into your self-care routine
Focus on the Little Things
The world’s problems feel enormous right now. With so much happening that’s much, much bigger than us or anything within your control, it can help to narrow your focus.
For Ryan Carroll, it’s helped to resist the allure of staying in pajamas all day, and get dressed like he would for a normal day of outside-of-the-house activities.
“Did you know that because pajamas are associated with sleep it can psychologically affect you and decrease your productivity?” he says. “I think it’s important to keep a structured and balanced lifestyle while still being locked up at home.”
For others like Pierre Emmanuel and Vlad Gasan, picking up old hobbies has helped them pass the time and bring their focus down to something within their control. Pierre has been finding joy by building model F1 cars and playing video games, while Vlad gets his mind off the situation by playing with his cats and watching cartoons.
“I listen to a wide range of music from hip-hop, UK garage, rap, house, even jazz. And I like to listen to it through headphones rather than play it through speakers,” he says. “It helps me zone in, block out any distractions and focus on the task.”
What daily routines are helping you stay sane and productive while you’re staying home? Leave me a comment below.