Yesterday, the Dutch government put The Netherlands into an all-out lockdown.
They closed down all schools, cafes, restaurants, gyms, sports centers, museums… More or less everything apart from grocery stores for at least 3 weeks.
I saw that coming…
…just not that soon.
So for the whole evening since I found out the news, I sat in home in shock, thinking about all the things I couldn’t do now:
- I couldn’t go out and work from the cafe that I’ve written from every day for the past 2 weeks
- I couldn’t get my weightlifting training sessions in anymore, since all gyms are closed (which means all the hard work from the past month will evaporate into nothing).
- I had to cancel all meet-ups and coffee dates with other entrepreneurs in The Netherlands I wanted to connect with.
- I couldn’t go indoor climbing with my girlfriend anymore, which really excites me and helps me “reset” my brain.
- And it’s only a matter of time until people go crazy and start hoarding the groceries in the stores as well (it’s already starting to happen…).
I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, and I didn’t have the most quality evening.
But I did decide on two things:
Thing #1: I knew that today, I’d figure something out and turn it all around.
Thing #2: I knew that no matter what, I will NOT let the next few weeks go to waste.
Sure, I could read the news, endlessly browse social media, rant about the situation, or spend my nights watching one Netflix show after the other…
..but I know that if I did that, I’d look back in a few weeks and feel like I’ve thrown my life away.
Yes, the current situation sucks big time, and staying at home all day is absolutely the right thing to do.
But that doesn’t mean that Coronavirus will dictate my life for the next few weeks and make it worse.
Instead of complaining about the things I can’t do, I switched my focus to what I CAN do.
Instead of having a few unproductive weeks, I’ll make the next few weeks the most productive weeks of this year.
This way, when the crisis is over, I’ll feel great about all the time I spent at home, and I’ll have new skills and the momentum to have an even stronger rest of the year.
If you’re sick of wasting your time with Coronavirus, I invite you to do the same.
I’m writing this email to show you how I’m handling my house-arrest, and give you some ideas for what you can do to make the most out of this situation as well.
Idea #1: Work through your (digital) bookshelf
I have a pile of books laying on my bookshelf that are just screaming to be read – from copywriting and marketing books to Banksy’s biography (super excited to finish reading that one).
Then there’s all the books on my Kindle, plus all the books I’ve been recommended over the years that I’ve been meaning to read but I haven’t gotten around to yet… Now it’s as good of a time as ever to catch up on all the reading.
You can do the same – either work through your bookshelf, download books via Kindle without having to go out of the house, or even take it to the internet and work through any blog posts, e-books, e-mail courses or Ultimate Guides you haven’t read yet.
If you want to read up on stuff related to growing your online business, here are some of my meaty Ultimate Guides you can catch up on:
- The Ultimate Guide to Building a 6-Figure Online Business
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Email List
- The Ultimate Guide to Creating Content That Sticks
Plus, I’ll send you more stuff to read over the next few weeks, so you’ll never be bored ;).
If learning more about your online business these times isn’t your cuppa tea, then binge-reading Harry Potter or reading biographies of people you admire aren’t half-bad ideas either.
Idea #2: Go on a binge-learning marathon
As an extension of the above idea, you can also work through any online courses you’ve previously purchased, or join a new online course / coaching program.
Or, binge-watch some YouTube videos that will help you learn something new (like my recent deep critique of one of my student’s Ultimate Guides – more to come soon…).
You can think beyond the online marketing world as well – for example, I’m in the middle of watching the Masterclass from the architect Frank Gehry, whose work I was fascinated by on my last trip to Paris.
There’s no better time than now to immerse yourself in new topics and binge-learn all about them, and you’ll feel much better after it than after watching 10 episodes of Walking Dead in a day.
Idea #3: Learn (or master) a new skill
To really make the most out of the next few weeks, don’t just learn – put your knowledge to good practice. Think about learning a new skill that will serve you in your life or online business, or deepen your understanding of an existing skill.
For example, I just started working with a cartooning coach to help me draw funnier, more memorable and more relatable doodles faster, and I’ll dedicate a lot of time practicing and improving my drawing.
You can do the same thing and learn a new business-related skill.
For example, you can use this time to go learn how to write better copy through my Copywriting Hell Week…
…or you can pick a completely new skill you’ve been meaning to learn from a while (it can be as simple as learning how to make your own granola at home – I highly recommend it if you want to make your apartment smell like Christmas but better).
Idea #4: Go on a content-creation spree
Instead of browsing endless Coronavirus social media posts, I’m spending my days creating as much content as possible for my readers:
- I’m writing my Ultimate Guide to Writing Ultimate Guides, which will be a beast of a guide to write (and illustrate), and now is as good of a time as ever to do it.
- I’m also recording and sharing new copy critiques (like this one) on my YouTube channel, so you can learn how to write better blog posts, landing pages, sales pages and sales emails.
- I’ll be creating and launching my new version of Copywriting Genius, which I’m excited to share with you once I finish writing my Ultimate Guide to Writing Ultimate Guides.
If you create any sort of content in your online business (blog posts, guides, YouTube videos,…), you can use this time as an opportunity to create more content than even before, and create a lasting impact on your business growth.
You can choose to send out the mountain of new content to your readers straight away (a great option, because like you, they likely have more time than ever before to go through it and act on it)…
…or you can use it to get ahead on your content creation and create content a few months in advance, so you can then focus on other parts of your online business (by the way, I wrote this guide on how you can create remarkable content).
Idea #5: Go out of your way to help your readers and clients
Over the past few weeks, I’ve already been going out of my way to help more of my readers with their personal challenges (if you sent me any questions, there’s a 99% chance I got back to you on them, unless your email got lost somewhere).
I’ve done things like recorded 50-minute copy critiques, analyzed full websites of my readers, or gave them in-depth answers to their burning questions, with resources that will help them out further.
I’ll be doing more of this over the next few weeks, and I’ll try to find new ways to add value both to my readers and my clients.
You can do the same – and use this time as an opportunity to build stronger relationships with your readers and clients.
Here are some ideas for how to do that:
- Simply start responding to the questions your readers ask you, and try to write the best possible responses to them (rather than the quickest possible responses)
- Host an “Ask me Anything” or “office hours” – either as a live call or via email – where you answer any questions your readers ask you.
- Reach out to some of your clients / readers that you haven’t heard from in a while, and check in on how they’re doing (even better, jump on a call with them)
If you run an online business, you likely don’t do it just for the money – you do it to make a difference in people’s lives. So go on, make that difference!
Idea #6: Jump on a video call with people that you can’t hang out with in person
Especially if you live in a country that’s going into an all-out lockdown mode, chances are you can’t hang out with your friends and family as much as you’d want to.
For example, I have a trip scheduled to Slovenia for Easter, and I have no idea if I’ll be able to go there or not.
This might make you feel isolated, lonely and alone, and to an extent, it does suck not to be able to hang out with people you love in person.
The silver lining here is that it’s easier than ever to “hang out” with people online.
Even without the internet connection, you can call a friend or a family and have a long conversations with them (it’s better than just watching Netflix or browsing Facebook).
Or, you can use a tool like Skype or Zoom to do a video call, or host a video gathering with all of your friends (because you’re all in the same boat of being stuck home alone anyway).
Even better, have each person bring a glass of their favorite beverage to the call and work through your precious liquor stores… I mean tea stores.
Don’t use this situation as an excuse to not see your friends – use it as an opportunity to grow closer to them.
Idea #7: Create (or perfect) your systems
One of my guilty pleasures is nerding out on spreadsheets, and creating a spreadsheet for every imaginable thing in my life.
I recently created two new spreadsheets for tracking my weight (I want to get in the best shape of my life for my trip to Bali this summer), as well as for tracking my spending (as apps like Mint sadly aren’t available in Slovenia yet).
I wish I could spend hours and hours creating automated spreadsheets with fancy graphs, but on most weeks that’s not possible (as I’d get so immersed into it that my business would suffer).
Now, I have the time and space to nerd out on my spreadsheets as much as I want to guilt-free, without having to take the time away from my business to do it.
Even if you’re not a spreadsheet nerd, you can create or improve your systems, from the way you organize your supplements in your closet, to how you onboard your coaching clients.
Use the time you have, and make it count.
BONUS ideas: Choose your own adventure
Above are just some of the things I’ll be doing during the Coronavirus lockdown, but there’s a lot more you could do to get the most out of this situation.
Here are some ideas I thought of or got from my friends:
- Write letters to people you know (going old-school is fun)
- Write thank you notes to people who helped you over the past year
- Build a new habit (like meditation)
- Eat healthier (no social gatherings that you have to persevere through)
- Build a home gym / work out from home
- Learn how to cook better (I’m telling you, that granola is worth it…)
- Play board games instead of watching TV
- … (think of something cool yourself!)
Regardless of what you do, know that you have a choice.
You can choose to throw the next few weeks of your life away by losing yourself in news, social media or TV series…
…or you can use these next few weeks to become a better person and make a bigger impact in the world.
The choice is yours.
Now, I’m curious… What are YOU doing to make the most out of the Coronavirus lockdown?
Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear about what you’ll be up to, and especially ideas I didn’t think of yet.
P.S. One of my friends, Allon, a high-performance coach for Top Performers, is putting together a 14-day “turning lemons into lemonade” challenge where he’ll teach you a new high-performance habit every day to help you make the most out of the next 2 weeks, I highly consider checking it out!