Even though we’re having to use our time differently due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re still in control of the time we do have at our disposal. Ian Williams, a Board Member of the Association for Project Management, shares his thoughts on how to stay positive and keep up with your personal development while in lockdown.
Some people say that control is an illusion and, right now, it feels hard to argue otherwise. We are witnessing extraordinary times, in which unexpected, radical changes seem to occur daily. But even in the most trying circumstances, there are things we can control. How we choose to use the time at our disposal is among them.
As a board member for Association for Project Management (APM), I know just how familiar project professionals are with the concept of ‘expecting the unexpected.’ That mantra works when it comes to managing timelines, resources, budget, risk and all the other elements that contribute to a plan, but this is an altogether different situation. It isn’t projects that are being disrupted now; it’s lives. Many project professionals are finding their careers derailed through no fault of their own and this is, understandably, very hard to deal with; not only from a financial point of view but an emotional one too.
For those who feel a strain on their mental health, here are some ideas that may help:
- Keep up professional development – even the most well qualified among us can benefit from refreshing our skills and boosting our knowledge. There is a wealth of online resource at your fingertips – often at no cost. APM is running free online webinars and has relaunched a massive open online course (MOOC) for project practitioners, delivered in partnership with the Open University. Other freely available resources such as TED Talks are a good way to improve soft skills such as communication and relationship management.
- Be ready for new opportunities – Be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile and CV up to date, and to keeping touch with online contacts. You never know when a new opportunity might appear.
Having a structured plan for getting through the upcoming weeks and months – whether it’s dedicating time for learning, community involvement or your own wellbeing – is an important way of ensuring you maintain a sense of optimism, achievement and control at a time when such things may feel out of our hands.
Make this time work for you and it will feel more like an asset than a burden.