COVID Lockdowns: What I haven’t done for my business

Kids Painting

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024 | Self Awareness

July 3, 2020

I am pretty sure it’s June 2020. We are 10 weeks in at the moment and maybe we have another 6 weeks or another 10 weeks of this to go. Who knows? As things start to change and movement starts I wonder what I have done for the last ten weeks and am I happy with how I have spent my time?

Let’s go back to the beginning of this crazy patch. 

March 21st onwards………. After the initial shock of closing our business down indefinitely, standing down my staff or terminating their employment I seemed to cry for days, drink and eat more endlessly and spend every waking moment on the phone or messaging people in between the crying and the drinking. I don’t remember any of this clearly.  

This is how it felt to shut down my business

COVID19 What I haven’t done

When the tears ran dry (lucky the wine didn’t) a little tiny positive voice in me said “this is an opportunity!” Thankfully my optimism wasnt dead!

Once I got my head around it, I realised this was a huge opportunity. I could use this time to improve the business, make it leaner, meaner and stronger. How many times in business does the whole world stop and you can get off and reassess? Never!  Also this time could be used wisely and we could get shit done. I remember thinking “This is gonna be awesome, I will achieve so much and I will come out of this with the best business ever!”

First things first, let’s get stuff done, all the things I have been meaning to do for the last few years.  I made a massive list that included a pile of books 12 plus business books to read, half a dozen fiction books, a list of cupboards to clean, photo books to make, Netflix to watch, home renovations projects to do, things to teach the kids, online courses and 6 massive work new projects to do as well as losing 10kgs. Although this list was extensive I felt it was all perfectly achievable. I was rocking the world pandemic and it was gonna be awesome. 

In addition to the above beautiful list, I was going to look for a range of new business opportunities we could buy, partner or acquire during this time, so when everything opened up I would have really achieved something. I could see myself saying to people “ What an amazing experience we have had, I am so thankful we have achieved this and this and this ….!” You can see it too right! Because the already massive list I had made for myself (and my husband) wasn’t enough, buying a business would make me feel like this time wasn’t wasted. 

So you can imagine how this went down! The week after we closed the business I had the kids at home for homeschooling for one week and then two weeks of school holidays. The first day of homeschooling I put on my superwoman cape and set out to achieve everything. My vision  had been of me in the kitchen baking, the kids diligently working through their school work with peace and harmony. Cooking dinner for my husband and the house looking immaculate.

By 10.10 that morning the superwoman cape was in taters, the kids were on to snack number 3 and hanging off the monkey bars in the backyard. I had realised year 3 maths had changed a fair bit in 35 years, I had no idea how to use Microsoft anything (we are a proud Mac Family) in addition I had a mountain of paperwork to do for the business and 8 phone calls to return.  How the hell was this all going to happen and who was going to teach me One Note or iMovie so I could upload my son’s project? 

Our version of homeschooling – This is Art Class 

Our version of homeschooling – This is Art Class

We made it through the week, only just. Luckily that week was only 4 days of school work with one teacher phone call and two “why hasn’t this been done?” emails. No real business work got done and definitely no baking or house cleaning. My husband cooked us all dinner each night when he got home. I am pretty sure 95% of Australian parents thought Homeschooling sucks by Friday of that week with wine in hand. 🍷🥃🍹🍸🍺.

That weekend a miracle occurred. Our schools vacation care manager emailed asking if we need care during the holidays. After calling to confirm because I didn’t believe the email, the kids were booked for two days per week of vacation care throughout the holidays. Let it be known this is the first holiday in history my kids wanted to go to vacation care. The inability to see friends, go out, eat out and do sporting/dancing activities was having an impact. Thank goodness for vacation care. I managed to get through some of the loan applications, government grants requests, letters to landlords, staff terminations, zoom meetings and industry webinars on the vacation care days. 

During this time I kept thinking to myself, just get through these two weeks of holidays and all will be ok. I will be able to work, get through the now 402 emails in my inbox and the other 45 thousand things I had to do. “The world will be semi Ok. I will be ok.” Was my mantra. Then just before school went back for term 2 the Premier announced only essential workers kids could return to school for approximately 5 weeks. BOOM I was in tears. 

My skills as a mother are average. My favourite saying to my kids is “ Lower your expectations people, Mummy isn’t good at this.” The kids laugh and we muddle through. So the thought of getting through 5 weeks of school and my to do list was making me very very unhappy.  I was back to square one, I couldn’t do this. My husband was working everyday and I needed to keep working everyday to save our business and make sure everything was going to happen the way I needed it too.

My husband and I had taken cocktail making to get through the days and that Sunday afternoon after a few margaritas I messaged the School Vice Principal to ask what an essential worker was and happily the message back was anyone with a job! Yippee the kids were off to school and my teaching career was over. Thank God for private schools!

So in the last 10 weeks I have learnt to Stand Up Paddle, have read one of my 16 or so books on the list and had too many happy hours on zoom. Apart from that ,I have done none of the massive list I set for myself, I certainly haven’t bought a business or started anything new.

But what I have done is drank a lot of alcohol, cried a lot, had a few anxiety attacks, restructured my business, spent time with the kids, watched a lot of Netflix and Stan, played an abundance of board games, walked 620,000 steps and dusted off the old bike and started riding again. 

Stand Up Paddle

So I could sit back and judge, criticise and harass myself into oblivion for not achieving my list of tasks during this time. This wouldnt achieve anything, it would be super destructive with me crying, eating too much,  drinking too much and not getting out of bed each day.

Or I could give myself a break. We are in the middle of an unforeseen worldwide pandemic, this is something I can’t change and most definitely can’t control. So I am giving myself permission to be me. That means I can get up each day with the intention of getting shit done, whether that happens or not I will still get into bed that night and go to sleep. I have decided to be a friend who is kind and supportive to myself. 

As they say we are all in this together but we all have our own brain space, our internal dialogue and our own mental demons to deal with. So look at ways you can be kind, loving and supportive of yourself during this crazy time. 

COVID19 What I haven’t done

You May Also Like…

What do I want to do?

What do I want to do?

Everything changes, we change, business changes, our customers change and so does everything else on the planet....