The Kaizen Newsletter #38 (17/03/2020) - How to avoid the Coronavirus

I don't know about you, but for the past few days, I haven't been that productive because I've been following all of the Coronavirus news. It's so interesting to follow since it impacts the whole world and every hour there is something new that is happening.

I was so consumed by it, that I was barely working and I had a really hard time putting time aside to work on my own personal stuff.

I realized that I know the bulk of what I can do to protect against it and the rest is pretty much out of my hands. So I thought to myself what's the point of following every single event that's happening on the virus?

Instead, I'd rather focus on my own things (work and personal projects) and try to avoid all of the noise that's going on,

But I realized how all of this was really useless. By now, you know what you need to do and you can't really do anything else, so what's the point of following every single event that is happening regarding Coronavirus?

So I tried to list out a bunch of different ways on how to avoid any news-related information on COVID19 and how you can remain productive in this time of social isolation.


Stop following the Coronavirus news

Easy to say, harder to do, right? Yes I know, it's almost unavoidable, since anywhere you would browse, there's likely something coronavirus related. So keeping that into account, I do believe you can try and reduce that amount by A LOT.

Stop actively looking at Coronavirus news

This is definitely something anyone can do and that's to STOP doing the action of searching for more news on COVID19. Stop going on news websites, stop watching the news on TV, and stop listening to the news on the radio.

Doing that alone will help immensely since you can then concentrate on doing other things instead.

Stop passively looking at Coronavirus news

Now this is where it becomes harder since even if you try to avoid the news on this virus, it'll literally throw itself at you.

The best way to do so (without completing removing yourself from social media) is by muting or blocking as many social media accounts that extensively talk about Coronavirus.

This means muting any news page you follow on Facebook, muting social media pages that frequently talk about the virus on Instagram and also muting words like "Coronavirus", "COVID19" and even "virus" on Twitter (that's what I'm doing).

"But how will I know what is happening in my city/country regarding the Coronavirus?"

Yes, it's still important to know what is going on since it definitely affects you, but trust me, if it's news that will impact you, then you will DEFINITELY hear about it. You might not be the first one, but a relative, a friend or a coworker will let you know what is going on.

By taking this approach, you avoid being totally consumed by coronavirus news and can really focus on more important things while having peace of mind that you will get the news when it's important.

Take Breaks

The hardest thing about this quarantine is that you don't have a lot of places to go. You're basically stuck in the same room/house for the next few weeks, so it's very easy to go crazy, especially if you live in a smaller unit. Since you still want to avoid as many people as possible, here are two activities you can try that will give you a nice break every once in a while.

Take walks

What works best for me is to simply go out and take a 10-15 min walk outside. If you're somewhere crowded, then I suggest putting on a mask and putting on gloves as well (always be safe)! Taking a walk will give you some fresh air, you will do a bit of exercise and give you a change of environment for a little while before returning in isolation.

Meditation

I actually haven't been meditating lately, but I still highly recommend it. Meditation is basically the mental version of walking. You may not have a change of environment, but it still gives you a good mental break and gives you a reset before going back to work.

If you have time, then I would definitely suggest doing both, but if not, choose at least one that it will do wonders for your mind and productivity!

Pickup a hobby

Since you can't go out with your friends anymore or go eat out, that means you have PLENTY of time to learn something new. Here are a few suggestions of mine that I believe are good ROI hobbies.

Learn how to Invest

Now, I am no way a financial expert, so please take this advice with a grain of salt and please look at your finances before actually doing this.

But, if you do have some money lying around and are not that affected by the Coronavirus, then I would highly suggest picking up investing. The stocks haven't been this low in a very long time, so it would be the perfect time to put some money into stocks.

Learn how to Cook

Since you are most likely at home all day, it would be a really good idea to pick up cooking if you haven't already. You won't need to eat ramen noodles for the rest of the quarantine period, yay!

Read a Book

Maybe a bit boring compared to the two others, but it would be the perfect time to read a book! I'm sure most of you have books that you've always wanted to read but just didn't have the time to do it. Well, you most likely have the time now! And if you want recommendations, then please let me know and I'd be happy to help suggest one! I'm actually reading Millionaire Teacher right now, which is an investing book (yes applying my own advice and learning how to invest).


By avoiding coronavirus news, taking breaks at least once a day and picking up a new hobby, you now have the necessary tools to be productive during this quarantine.

If there's anything that worked for you (or did not work for you), please let me know!

Now, on to the newsletter.


Weekly Favourites

📃 Article

I went on a pretty big product management deep-dive during the weekend and specifically went through Brandon Chu's (GM @ Spotify) The Black Box of Product Management website, which has a bunch of articles on product management. My goal is to eventually summarize all of his articles to make a sort of "Product Management Handbook".

  • MVPM: Minimum Viable Product Manager - As someone who is relatively new to product management, I felt this was a really helpful article on showing what is the minimum requirements a product manager should know/have and goes elaborates through the 3 different skillsets of UX, tech and business.

  • Managing and Developing Product Managers - I am definitely not managing any product managers, but it's interesting to know what other managers look for in a PM and how can you make one of your PMs better. And what I found was that a PM develops best and when he can ship Whole Customer Experiences. Which means a PM should concentrate not only on the product, but everything around it as well (marketing, sales, operations, finance, engineering and design). And the way that he assesses PMs is through 4 different lenses: Product Performance, Working with Others, Decision Making and Strategic Thinking.

  • The Black Box of Product Management - This article explores the question "Why do we need a product manager". And it's true, because as a product manager, you usually don't have a lot of hard skills. We're more often a jack-of-all-trades master-of-none people, but it helps us to understand the whole product development system. Product managers are never the first hires in a new startup, since it would usually be an executive or Co-founder that acts as that role. It's only when the company starts growing that you need to replace that person and that's when product managers come into play. As Brandon Chu puts it, product managers are the API that facilitates communication in this network.

🎙 Podcast

  • Delian Asparahouv's Lessons from Keith Rabois - Delian was Keith's Chief of Staff during his time at Khosla Ventures and is now serving as a Principal Partner at Founder's Fund (with Keith). The most important thing he said from this interview was that "osmosis is the best way to learn", which to me dictates that the best way to develop is to find someone that's really good that you would be able to learn from.

  • Eric Nam - Love Die Young on Song Exploders - I'm really not a big KPOP fan, but was intrigued when I saw his name. Really loved this podcast since not only does he go into details of how he made the song, he also talks about his journey from Consulting to KPOP star back to just being an American Singer/Songwriter and all the struggles he had to go through because he was either "too American" as a KPOP singer to "Too Korean" as an American Singer.

🐦 Tweets

  • Putting my phone to DND + hide it somewhere makes me instantly more effective. I try to do this as often as possible This tweet reminded me to do it more often.

  • When you want to go clubbing, but your whole city is quarantined

  • You can be productive or you can....

  • Dog training: Level Asian

🎧 Music

Albums

Songs

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to my brother for doing weekly meetings with me for the 8th straight week now. Easily something I look forward to every week. Also, he started a new youtube channel, so please go check him out!


👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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If you see any cool articles, links, tweets, stories or podcasts that you think are interesting, feel free to share as well at alex@alexhughsam.com