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5 Things You Can Do during Quarantine to Help Your Professional Future

5 Things You Can Do during Quarantine to Help Your Professional Future
The global pandemic currently underway has introduced a lot of uncertainty and mayhem to the lives of many people from around the world – and has also ensured that huge numbers of people are currently at home without much to do to keep themselves occupied.

For those with an entrepreneurial inclination, this period of quarantine can seem a lot like a challenge to improve and emerge on the other side of things in a better and stronger professional position than before. To that end, there’s a lot currently being said and written about the best small business innovations and approaches to investigate during this time.

Fortunately, there really are a variety of things you can do during quarantine to help your professional future – although, these things don’t always fall within the realm of grinding away in a conventional sense.

Here are a few things you can do during quarantine to help your professional future.

Pursue qualifications and certifications online

Education, and educational qualifications, may be best viewed as an investment in your future – and depending on what type of industry you’re in, or what type of industry you’d like to be in, certain qualifications might be essential for progression or even entry.

Fortunately, thanks to the Internet, it is now possible to study a wide range of degrees, diplomas, and simple introductory courses, purely online. Bradley University represents one example of this.

When studying online, you can learn at your own pace, and focus on subjects that interest you in a deep and genuine sense, and can work on fine tuning your credentials – such as for a potential career shift – all from the comfort of your own home.

It might be that you are interested in working to earn a particular degree, but even if you’ve just decided to brush up on your general understanding of a certain topic, you’ll likely find that this may help to give you a greater degree of general insight that can then lead to a better long-term professional trajectory for you.

Check in with yourself, and see whether you are on a path that is meaningful to you

One idea that often gets floated around in professional circles – and especially among entrepreneurs – is that you shouldn’t follow your passion, but should rather make a pragmatic decision about which field is likely to provide the most lucrative and secure job opportunities, and to then apply yourself in that domain using sheer “grit” and willpower.

In fact, though, there is a wealth of evidence in the field of psychology – with more seeming to emerge practically every day – that following your passion is actually one of the best things you can do in order to find your work fulfilling, to identify work that you are likely to do well at, and to enjoy greater overall degree of resilience in your chosen profession.

For one thing, doing work that is distinctly meaningful to you on a personal level is one fundamental way of entering what the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a state of “Flow.”

Essentially, a state of “Flow” is what happens when you are really “in the zone.” You are “working” in a state of euphoria that causes the outside world to seem to completely disappear for a while, and you are living out the ideal of doing “work” that doesn’t even feel like work at all because of how fulfilling it is.

While you are at home under quarantine with plenty of time on your hands, take a moment to check in with yourself and see whether you are on a path that is generally meaningful to you.

If you’re not, then you should seriously adjust your professional trajectory so that you are.

Allow yourself to unwind and recharge your batteries

There’s a trap in the very idea of trying to use every minute of the quarantine period “productively,” in and of itself.

According to the writer Celeste Headlee, in her book “Do Nothing,” the modern hyper-obsession with productivity and with always trying to “optimise” every spare minute in the day, has actually been shown by psychological researchers to not only generate an extreme amount of stress, but to also lead to lower performance overall.

Workers who take weekends off and who use their full annual holiday allowance, for example, are actually more productive than those who work constantly without any breaks.

For one reason or another, actually finding regular opportunities to unwind and recharge your batteries seems to be essential for promoting rest and recovery, and ensuring that you are able to perform to the best of your ability when you actually are doing work.

Beyond that, your quality of life will simply be higher if you’re actually able to stop and smell the flowers from time to time. So, allow yourself to indulge in a bit of idle leisure during the period of quarantine. It might actually do some good for your professional life, when all is said and done.

Assess your priorities, and recalibrate your professional focus if necessary

The “sunken costs fallacy” describes the situation we find ourselves in when we feel we are obliged to stick with a particular path we are on, because of the time and energy we have already invested in that path, up to that point in time.

Often, however, the path you are on might actually not be the best path for you – and deciding that you have to stick with it despite all other factors might put you in a very bad long-term personal and professional position.

Assess your priorities and make a plan to recalibrate your professional focus if necessary. Quarantine is a great time for this kind of introspection.

Maybe you should give some serious thought to retraining for a new career after all – or in any case, consider switching jobs.

Catch up on sleep, and establish a better sleeping schedule

Sleep is fundamentally important for well-being in a variety of ways – at least, that’s the verdict of leading sleep scientists such as Dr. Matthew Walker, author of the book “Why We Sleep.”

In fact, when people are sleep-deprived – as so many of us are these days – their cognitive function diminishes enormously, their workplace performance drops by orders of magnitude, and life becomes far more stressful.

Use the period of quarantine to catch up on sleep and establish a better sleeping schedule, rather than going the opposite direction and becoming nocturnal.

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