How to Navigate Post-COVID Life — Two Tactics from Tim Ferriss to Increase Your Well-being and Happiness
Tim Ferriss recently released a video on two tactics for navigating the post-COVID life. Like it or not, the world has changed drastically with COVID. Tim doesn’t make any predictions on what life will be like after COVID — for example, whether we will still be wearing masks or if we will still be social distancing, but he shares two tactics that I’ll recap here and share my thoughts on, and then share a few of my own.
The first tactic Tim suggests is to make plans. Make plans to travel. Make plans to visit and knock off something on your bucket list. Make plans to do something in the next 12 months.
It sounds weird to plan for something when you do not know whether you will actually keep the plans. Who knows what will happen with the vaccines and COVID?
But Tim says that the act of making plans is a way to provide structure in your life. And if you’re like the average person, the act of planning and the anticipation of going on the trip is a lot of fun. It is! I remember planning for a trip to LA and thinking about all the cool things I would be doing. Certainly, the trip itself was fun, but I rode the ‘high’ of planning for several weeks as I thought of things to do, restaurants to go to, and things to see.
Go on an information diet
Recently, I looked at James Clear’s top tweets from 2020 and one of his tweets is “Be ‘selectively’ ignorant”. One aspect was ignoring topics you are not interested in. It’s easy to go onto Twitter or your social media app, scroll through, and see the negative news about vaccine efficacy, the coming stock market crash or about how companies left and right are going bankrupt. It’s not great, and reading through that kind of news doesn’t make you feel any better about the state of the world.
So instead, ignore it. Don’t look at the news. Delete the social media apps from your phone. Focus instead on books and other ‘timeless’ material. Why put yourself into a worried or anxious state of mind when you can ignore it and focus on the things you can control.
Tim focuses on two tactics not related to health or mental state of mind, but instead, focuses on tactics that work whatever the state of the world. So I’ll take the same tack and share a few tactics that have helped me (and will certainly help you in the post-COVID world):
Find joy in the little things
The nuances of the green tea I drink every morning. The milk one day past the expiry date but luckily hasn’t spoiled. Lotion for my dry hands from staying indoors all day.
Every day, I write three things I am grateful for in the various physical and digital journals I have. A lot of the time, it’s the same things: my partner, the books I have on my shelves, my health, my standing desk, etc.
Tony Robbins suggests that rather than focusing on the big things, you choose one small thing every day you are grateful for. It could be the pencil you have to write in your notebook. It could be the small teaspoon you use to mix in the sweetener for your coffee. It could even be the USB cord to charge your phone. There are lots of big items to be thankful for: your car, your house, your spouse, your family, but don’t lose sight of the little things either.
Connect with friends and acquaintances you haven’t talked to
The great thing about COVID is it doesn’t give you an excuse not to talk to friends or acquaintances you can’t meet for coffee (you know, the friends and acquaintances in other cities or overseas).
Several years ago, I was good friends with someone that lived near me. We used to chat at least every week because we would see each other through Toastmasters or other social functions. But he has since moved to another city, and we don’t talk as much because of this.
With COVID though, and everybody forced to stay indoors more, there’s nothing stopping you (or me) from doing virtual coffees. I have a monthly standing virtual coffee with one of my good friends abroad and since COVID hit, I have reconnected with many of my friends I haven’t talked to for years (I’m talking since university or even high school).
Re-read your favourite books
Most of my reading is rereading — Susan Sontag
I am a voracious reader, but with all the books I have read, I consider only a few worth rereading. When I first got into reading, my goal was to read as widely as possible. I figure if I could read thousands or tens of thousands of books, I would be knowledgeable. But I’ve since realized that it is just better to read one hundred of your favourite books repeatedly than it is to read thousands of books once.
In re-reading books, you’re going to get more out of the book. You pick up new things each time you re-read a book. And why invest your time in a new book that may not be as good when you could spend the same time reading something you know has impacted your life?