New normal: Habits, skills you need for today’s world

Happenings over the last year have meant that the world has been forced into a life few thought possible. The readjustments have meant that life as we know it has changed. In areas like technology for instance, the world has been rushed into the future and forced to embrace a way of doing things many thought was years ahead of us.

For others, it is the sudden realisation that they need to develop neglected skills to be able to cope in with a fast paced ‘new normal’, and forced to reevaluate everything; from career choices to social relationships. What are some of the habits and skills required to make it in this scenario?

Digital literacy

Digital skills and online presence are becoming increasingly critical to different facets of today’s world. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this even more closer home, with nearly all aspects of our lives now impacted in one way or the other by the ability to use technology and our access to it. This is even more critical in our workplaces.

Whether you work deep in a manufacturing plant or sit in front of a computer all day, you need to get comfortable with emerging technology tools. Virtual working is just one of the many ways companies have adopted to become more resilient to disruptions.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in our workplaces and employees, young and old, have had to help their companies exploit technology options. This major paradigm shift will cause a huge technology gap between the evolving technology-driven workplace and employees stuck in the traditional ways of doing business.

We are in interesting times when digitisation is not a choice anymore. Companies have been forced to bring technology tools into businesses ahead of planned gradual introduction. The high rate of adoption of digital tools will force our workplaces to evolve or slide into extinction.

Even after Covid-19, businesses and our personal lives will not go back to the way they were, with indications already that many employers are considering the new state of affairs and conducting business the norm going forward.

Discover your pause button

A pause is a rewarding self-awareness tool that demonstrates your ability to stop and think before responding. Reactions are normally spontaneous and more often are without much thought. Being reactionary shows one as being defensive and quick to answer.

Instead, learn to listen then respond. When you learn to pause, you grow in discernment. It is a strategic step that expresses listening and assimilating before giving a response. Pay close attention to the sensations that build up inside of you after certain triggers and tame your reactions.

In today’s networked world and the immediacy of social media, never has the ability to pause and reflect been more crucial. Many a ill-timed comment or post has been known to cost people jobs and relationships.

With time, you will learn that sometimes, you do not need to say anything at all. You will eventually manage to curb your impulses, act mindfully and resolve conflicts. Leadership will be so effortless for you when you are aware of your actions and reactions.

Learn how to manage disputes and drive hope and optimism in situations where a solution is not found. Listen to other people with your full attention. To build self-awareness, find time to reflect on your day. You can meditate, go for a walks, pray or journal.

Healthy relationships

Being able to relate well with the people around you will help get through tough times and celebrate good times. This has never been more visible than in the lives we are living today.

Getting to know people as individuals is vital in building strong long term relationships. Find out what you have in common with your team mates and customers and build on those interests to deepen your relationship.

Practice common etiquette. Develop trust by keeping your word on deals and agreements. On a personal level, understand that friendships are hard to maintain. Marriage, family and children require an intense understanding of commitment, love, forgiveness and connection to pull through.

As much as there numerous wonderful things about family, raising one takes you through countless ups and downs. Every day offers a new lesson to learn. Be open and receptive to those lessons.

 Financial discipline

Do you know where all your money goes? Do you know how much money you spend when you go shopping or when you go out for drinks with colleagues after work? Living within your means and sticking to a monthly budget takes study and effort.

Good financial sense allows you to accumulate savings and provides the resources to deal with unexpected expenses. You have to master how to identify bargains and avoid bad purchases. Most of us start to fail in this area when we fail to pay bills on the due date and always find ourselves broke at some time during the month.

This eventually results in a constant state of worry about the future. Having a surplus of money can relieve this pressure. Bear in mind that the goal is not just about having huge sums of money stashed in the bank but also about investing and allowing that money to work for you. Being knowledgeable about money matters and business ventures is key in finding smart investments.

Decision making

The main thing that separates the doers from the “wannabes” is the ability to take action based on available information. It takes analysis and being able to respond quickly and effectively.

Overanalysing and waiting for more information before making a decision can have costly implications. Making decisions is part of everyday life; ranging from trivial matters like which shoe to wear to life-changing issues like who to marry.

Examine your gut feeling and apply reasoning using facts and figures for justification. Beware of vested interests and emotional attachments as they pose a crucial blockage to effective decision-making.

When there is limited information, anticipate both negative and positive outcomes especially if the decision will involve the prospect of change. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Take responsibility for your actions.  

Planning and time discipline

Again this year, this is a skill we have been forced to learn, what with virtual interactions and moving offices into our homes?

Finding that balance between your professional and personal lives relies majorly on conscious time management; your ability to schedule and organise yourself. Effective time management enables you to prioritise tasks and effectively keeps you self-disciplined and focused on the goals at hand.

Working from home has, especially, forced many to learn how to eliminate distractions on the fly. The ability to determine your desired results before starting a certain task, and to stick to a schedule and timelines without anyone looking over your shoulder is the difference between being productive and living a harried life.

Covid 19 Time Series


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