Staying productive during covid-19

Photo Credit: James Yarema | Unsplash

What do companies like Deliveroo SG, Funding Societies, Klook, Traveloka, Zilingo and Flymya all have in common? These are all South East Asian companies who have had to lay off their staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Global tech companies such as Uber, Airbnb and TripAdvisor have not been spared. Plainly put, Covid-19 has literally shred 2020 to pieces for many businesses and individuals.

I was not spared as well, with the startup I was working for having to reduce team size in order to weather the covid storm. Many friends and peers have been very supportive and checking in on how I’ve been doing, for which I’m very thankful. Truth be told, aside from job hunting, I’ve actually been quite active and (in my opinion) quite productive. This gave me the inspiration to write this post to hopefully provide some options and ideas on what one can do to stay productive during this period of Covid-19.

So, if you’re someone who hasn’t been able to work due to being stuck in lockdown or if you’re trying to keep yourself occupied while looking for a way back into the working world, here’s what I’ve been doing which will hopefully help inspire others as well.

Product Un(censored) is fully self funded — do consider supporting this passion project for the price of a coffee!

1. Sharing my experience with job loss

One of the biggest decisions I had to make when I got laid off was whether or not to be upfront about it. Ultimately, I decided that with the whole world struggling with Covid-19 and joblessness, I could use my experience for good and help others.

I started with the P24 event from Jay Stansell (Product Coalition) who put together a marathon 24 hour live stream event dedicated to raising support for healthcare workers globally. I volunteered to take on of the slots to discuss with Jay about job loss. After that session, I received a personal LinkedIn message from a lady who was very thankful to hear my story as she was going through the same experience.

The recording for the event is unfortunately not available yet, but I’ll be sure to update when it becomes available.

Screenshot from p24event.com

I also did an online sharing session Product Management Festival, to talk about the same topic, but from a product leader’s perspective. I am very happy to say that many gave positive and encouraging feedback after attending the session. The video of my session can be viewed below.

2. Knowledge sharing with the product community

With covid-19 keeping many countries in lockdown or in social distancing mode, many physical events and meetups that would usually happen both locally and internationally have been cancelled and many moved to the world wide web. What many organisers and groups have done is also take the opportunity to connect with those who may usually not have the time or capacity in normal circumstances. So far, I’ve been able to take part in all invites I’ve been sent.

I had the privilege of talking product with Kit Neoh as part of his Crazy Product Asia podcast:

Crazy Product Asia

I’ll also be part of a product panel talking about Product Management from Silicon Valley to South East Asia, organised by Horizon Connect. At time of writing, tickets are still available (it’s a free event) here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/product-management-across-silicon-valley-to-south-east-asia-tickets-104113759056

Then, next week, I’ll be taking on my most daunting task yet, having to be up at 5am MYT to participate in Product Leaders Toronto’s Global Panel. The topic of discussion will be “Managing Product in Uncertain Times”.

Links for the event and the group below:

Product Leaders Toronto

Product Leaders Global Slack Community

3. Getting my passion project / side hustle up and running!

Product Un(censored)

This I think would be most excited about and proud of. This is an absolute labour of love that I had been putting off because of work and community commitments, but I finally managed to get Product Un(censored) off the ground last week. I wrote a genesis story about it but in summary, it’s a product platform focusing on telling the stories of product in the stories of products, its leaders, its thinkers and movers in South East Asia. Having grown up and worked here my entire life, it felt absolutely super when I finally wrote my first post!

So if you’re thinking about how you can make your time in lockdown or social distancing more meaningful and valuable, hopefully this article has given you some ideas or at least provides some impetus!

On a separate note, if your job have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic and you’re based in South East Asia / Malaysia, here are a couple of links to help you get back on the job bandwagon soon!

  • SEAcosystem.com — Started by a coalition of South East Asia venture firms, this document allows talent postings and job listings within the South East Asia region
  • Talent Support Community — This is a Malaysian focused endeavour which an ex-colleague of mine, Joachim Ooi is part of. Companies who are hiring can click on list here: Hiring Companies / Employers while those who want to share their personal information can do so here: Talents Seeking Opportunities. Any questions, please contact talent.supp.community@gmail.com

Stay safe, stay strong and stay positive!

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Colin Pal

Colin Pal

Writes about Product & Agile | Product Leader | Founder Product Un(censored) | Co-founder PM Huddle |