Are you challenged by the current situation?

You may be stuck in your apartment or house.
You may be surrounded by too many people, children, spouses, even pets that sometimes are too much.
You may have much more work than normal, with too many people to take care of, too many meals to cook, and cleaning after everyone.
You may feel stressed because everyone wants your attention, all the time.
You may need some time alone and do not dare to say it.
You are not in your usual routine and cannot get anything done!

Have you asked yourself, which is your main challenge in all of this?

Dealing with the daily practical aspects of the lockdown is not an easy thing to do. Especially, if you are supposed to be looking for a job and taking care of your own career. Now at first it sounded like a good idea, your partner is at home and can help with the household and some of the children’s homework (he always claims being the one that is good at math, after all!).
After a few days, however, many of us live through the first realities of being in the same place all the time. Every minute and every room are filled with people and tasks. We all ask ourselves; how can I deal with it. We have no practice, experience and everyone reacts differently to it.

You may be someone who thrives when you can exchange and bounce ideas off others. Extroverts tend to think out loud and find ideas and solutions when they have someone to speak to. You may feel isolated and trapped with too many ideas and energy to waste. Ideally, you have a good network with like-minded others that is easily transferred to an online community. All your connections are here for you at a fingertip, ready to exchange emotions and thoughts; tools such as WhatsApp and Slack are your life savers, and you are bound to be attached to a screen at all times. If you are anything like me, you may also ramp up on creative outlets, and stash up your watercolor box or buy a new pen for the novel you always wanted to write!
Those among us who prefer thinking in peace and quiet will feel that their private space is invaded by other members of the household. It can be crucial for you to find your own corner where you enjoy your precious me-time. You will be more efficient and focused on the tasks ahead when you are centered with yourself. Load up your favorite music, put your shoes on and volunteer to walk the dog. And why not use it as a mindful walking meditation exercise.

Some tips that are useful to organize your home:

*listen to everyone’s needs and set routines that help everyone to adjust in their own time
*prepare meal lists and meals ahead of time; there are more people at home so you may need to prepare more food which takes you out of your routine
*divide chores and house-work duties; there are more people, more mess, more everything
*generate fun areas and work areas in your house so that things can be separated and routines are kept. Also keep fun time and work time slots
*be sure that to make room for some alone time and keep to it. Even if you are an extreme extrovert it can be too crowded in your house at the moment, it will help to keep your mental sanity
*exercise and move within the house, your garden, or staircase; you may not be moving as much as usual. Trust me, there are plenty of fun online tools to help you keep up a certain shape
*do not overload on negative news, keep a certain mental hygiene and remain reasonable, e.g. stop watching the news before going to bed, it may be interfering with a healthy amount of sleep that you need right now

Some tips for those who work at home:

*have some ground rules and communicate it to everyone; you need some time to get something done and are unavailable for two hours? Close the door, and let them know that you are busy and they are welcome with questions after you are done (same for pets, do not let even the cutest puppy distract you)
*dress to impress, even if its for a phone call to your colleagues
*keep a dedicated work-space, you will not have to search for pens, notebook, phone charger, etc. if it is kept in one place. If you are using the kitchen table, clean it completely after you are done. This avoids mixing up work and fun slots
*make yourself a realistic to do list, and keep in mind that you will be more interrupted or distracted than usually
*view everyone in the house are coworkers; its more fun to think of them as your working buddies during work hours. E.g. be a family at lunch, then go back to work. If you miss your work colleagues, propose an occasional online coffee break
*when you concentrate, turn off notifications from your devices, maybe use a pomodoro app that mutes them, keep short but efficient work sprints between 25-60 min

Seek out for a coach for support and to help you find your individual solutions.

Nadja Feddermann

About the author:
Nadja Feddermann helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.

Remain sharp and intellectually stimulated, take part in a mastermind group

Mastermind groups are mentoring groups used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members. Members challenge each other to set and accomplish strong goals.

There are 2 main different types of Mastermind groups
  • Peers to peers Mastermind Groups
    A peer-driven mastermind group is a small group of 3 to 6 individuals who are at roughly the same level in their journey and where everyone feels like they can give and receive roughly the same amount of value in their group.
    Such peers to peers groups are very often self-organized. They set their own agenda and bring together people of their choosing. They can either be about a broad industry theme or a specific goal theme.
  • Expert-led Mastermind Groups
    These mastermind groups size can range from 4 to 20 people.
    In this setting, the expert often has the leader role and is often two or more steps ahead of the members of the group in a field of expertise or in professional seniority.
    These groups are often paid membership groups with recurring fees. They are mainly reputed, established organizations that are not open to just anyone and everyone. They may have exclusive criteria when selecting new members.

These types of mastermind groups are based on mentor-mentee coaching relationship, but instead of a one-to-one mentoring experience, more people are involved in the mentoring sessions.

People interested in joining a mastermind group have 2 options:

  • Join an existing mastermind group.
    In such case, they need to explore what are the groups that will be interesting for them and what are the pre-requisites and access conditions.A few organisations offer an overview of the mastermind groups they host. The Success Alliance does. Meetup is also a good place to identify already formed master mind groups, so is LinkedIn.
  • Create their own Mastermind group.
    A wide range of guides and tips is available online to help getting started with the creation of your new mastermind group. Creating and animating a Mastermind group required group facilitation skills. It could be interesting, especially when considering starting an expert-led Mastermind group and even more, when participation fees will be requested, to follow a targeted course to become a certified Mastermind facilitator. Amongst other organizations, The Success Alliance and the Mastermind Business Academy are providing such education in English.
  • What changes in your job search during the Covid-19 crisis?

    Behind each problem very often lies an opportunity that we can only see when we do not let fears and anxiety overwhelm us. Once we have secured that we comply to the directive of the local authorities, another priority, in this period of incertitude, is to take good care of our mental balance.
    With more serenity it then becomes possible to identify what, during the COVID-19 crisis, is within your sphere of influence regarding your professional project objective.
    Anything which is not within your sphere of influence is not worth overthinking, this would only be counterproductive and could jeopardize your efforts to remain mentally fit.
    Here are some ideas about elements that are possibly in your sphere of influence despite the coronavirus crisis:
    • Nurture your employability, upgrade your professional profile by acquiring a new skill,
    • Strengthen your knowledge about trends and challenges in the industry you are targeting,
    • Upgrade your professional and personal branding,
    • Gain in personal awareness, know more about your competence and personality strengths
    You might even discover that many elements are within your sphere of influence and might wonder what to prioritize. Depending on your personality and present needs, some of the below questions might help:
    • What would most help me feel good?
    • What would most certainly contribute to progress towards my professional objective?
    • What is easier to achieve?
    By letting go on what is not within your sphere of influence, by identifying what is, you’ll become aware of adjustments you need to implement and will be in a better place to refocus your action plan and reconnect with a sense of progress.

    3 tips to thrive during the Covid-19 crisis

    We’re all facing a major crisis, at the humanity and society level, but also at the personal level. Very few amongst us had ever been in a situation where our personal life changed that much that fast.
    The abundance of tips and recommendations currently shared in social media is a wonderful thing but could also be overwhelming at some point.

    Here’s the question we asked ourselves as a team:
    Additionally to the health recommendations and  stay-at-home instructions relayed by the Swiss Authorities, what are the 3 things we would  like to tell everyone thriving during the Covid19 crisis?”

    Tip 1. Connect to the positive by implementing the gratitude routine.

    Practicing gratitude flood your brain with feel-good chemicals like serotonin and train our mind to recognise what is positive in our day, whatever how the day was. A good time for a 5 minutes gratitude pause can be the evening but you can pick any time you prefer. It’s easy, it only takes to start mentally a sentence by “Today I am grateful for:” and to think about minimum 3 reasons. It can also be something you write down. Up to you.

    Tip 2. Balance your emotional state by practicing cardiac coherence.

    The cardiac coherence is a state of coherent heart rate variability that balances the nervous system and emotional state. The nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine and immune systems are working efficiently and in harmony. Coherence is the basis of optimum performance and health in the human being. This can be attained through this 5-minutes breathing technique. Through a regular practice, it’s our entire body that finds a balance. The 5 minutes exercises are to be performed 3 times a day, each day, ideally every 5 hours. It’s easy to find tools to help you practice cardiac coherence, one is the app KARDIA.

    Tip 3. Fill your sense of purpose and need for contacts by get involved in a (remote) collaborative activity.

    Physical isolation does not necessarily mean not having contact with the outside world. A positive consequence of the Codiv19 crisis is that everybody is letting go on some of their usual activities, creating some space for new types of engagement and time for new connections. You may consider stepping into an existing group or association such as Here we are Switzerland, join a mastermind online group or a think-tank.

    11 tips to well prepare your remote job interviews

    Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most hiring managers and recruiters are now working from home, moreover, public interactions having to be maintained to the minimum, many face-to-face interviews will be replaced by video call interview.

    Here is a range of 11 tips to help make your remote interview a success:

    1- Make sure to use a room where you will not be disturbed (no kids around, a calm room, all social media/email/messaging notifications off) but in case you would be accidentally disturbed, do not feel too bad about it: in the current situation, we all know we are coping with a very extraordinary situation and we just do as good as we can.

    2- Pay attention that whatever is in the background is neat and tidy.

    3- Check the stability of your internet signal, whenever possible prefer a landline to Wi-fi or 4G.

    4- Give yourself plenty of time to take/make the call – do not squeeze it between other commitments.

    5- Eat something that bring you energy before the call.

    6- Make sure you have everything ready within reach (job description when available, your CV, your agenda, a clock/watch, a notepad, your notes, a pen and a glass of water).

    7- Install your computer so that the camera is at eye level (use a stable pile of books if needed).

    8- Dress up exactly as you would have done if the interview would have been face to face.

    9- Connect to the video call platform at least 10 min before and be ready to notify the recruiting party well in advance in case you’d be facing some connection issues.

    10- Do not skip the small talk, it’s even more important to establish a good personal connection when you do not have the chance to meet physically.

    11- During the interview, do not type your notes on the computer, it’s a disagreeable feeling to hear someone typing while you speak).