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5 surprisingly useful skills I think I've learned during the world of lockdown

A shelf full of true crime books for research

As we’re finally emerging out of lockdown as we know it and look optimistically towards ‘normality’ it’s interesting to look back over the past 15 months.  Most of us have spent it flailing around trying to get to grips with the madness going on around us, some have actively set out to learn new skills, and others have picked some up along the way by happy accident.  Even though I haven’t used all of this ‘spare’ time to become super fit (far from it) I have buckled down and got on with a number of things I may never have thought to do in the past, and am taking pleasure in picking out the positives.

1. Knocking procrastination on the head

I’ve always wanted to write a book but it’s been around 6 years since I came up with a non-fiction idea based around true crime cases and the forums which discuss them.  It’s not necessarily the writing skills I’ve learned over lockdown (although they have improved dramatically) but more the fact that I’ve actually finally got on and done it!  No more overthinking, no more procrastinating and telling myself that it’s probably too difficult, it won’t be any good, I don’t know where to start; I’m now almost 60,000 words into a planned 90,000.

Although we all know we should just get on and do stuff, it definitely becomes more natural once you’ve actually done it.  As a small business owner, it’s made me realise that even the most imposing and daunting task can be overcome if you just start as now I can see the evidence with my own eyes.

I’ve also become pretty good at skim reading; with at least 12 books as reference I’ve learned the skill of extracting the info I need without becoming distracted with what I don’t.  It could be oh so easy to sit and read books for ‘research’ just to put off the hard bit (actually writing a book!).

2. Delegation and ‘letting go’ – vital skills!

Our live events went virtual last year and although we’ve taken double bookings in the past it’s much more common (and easy to deal with) when those bookings are being presented on Zoom.  The skills required to organise the logistics of a busy schedule were luckily already in place but what I didn’t have was the confidence to hand over the reins to someone else.  That’s not to say I don’t trust my team, I’ve just always been happier being in control myself (aren’t we all?).

Given the choice between turning work down and handing over control to others was a no-brainer, and having taken the plunge once it becomes easier and easier, particularly when I have such a fantastic team to rely on.  It’s one of my goals to be able to delegate work to allow myself more time to work on the business, and I’m one step closer, thanks to lockdown.

3. Attention to detail

To be fair, I’ve always been pretty good at this but I challenged myself over the first lockdown to complete some online learning to enchance my skills.  I discovered Centre of Excellence  and booked myself onto a few different courses.  With hindsight I may have been a bit too overconfident; I’ve currently got 3 courses booked and only halfway through the first one but I’ve been taking it slowly and getting 100% for each end of module assessment.  This isn’t too difficult to acheive but it requires maximum effort and I’ve set myself a target of 100% overall…

4. Zoom skills

Ok, so this isn’t all that surprising, but it’s certainly a skill I didn’t envisage having back in March 2020.  I’ve embraced it, and Zoom and I are now the best of friends!  And I’ll admit, getting feedback from a client telling me that I’m ‘slick on Zoom’ gave me a buzz of pride.

5. Insights into my children’s brains

I’m not sure if this is classed as a skill, but as I struggled with home schooling along with the rest of the nation I realised that I didn’t really know much about what my kids do at school.  Sure, we talk about what they’ve been up to, I help with homework, we see their work in school, but I’ve never had what I now see as the privilege of seeing what they actually do on a daily basis – the good, the bad and the ugly!  I now know where they need support, and where they blow me away with their knowledge.  I know more about how their minds work; how they tackle a problem, what holds them back and what spurs them on.

And just in case you think that this is a blog about me blowing my own trumpet I’ll just end with a bit of reality.  I’ve also gained the following ‘skills’ which probably aren’t quite so much use to me.  I’ve now got the ability to:

  1. Gain weight with incredible speed
  2. Control my dreams in an impressive yet slightly sinister way by falling asleep listening to podcasts about serial killers
  3. Actually slow down productivity in my children by shouting ‘just get on with it’ several times a day during home schooling