The Pandemic Induced Economic Coma

The wave of impersonal pandemic induced email messages seems to have shifted the last few days of March from …

we’re here for curbside pickup

to aspirational messages of hope like

“We’ll be back, better and stronger than ever.”


“Activities to keep busy while sheltering at home.”

The first makes me wonder what curb? The second leaves me wondering how, and the second makes me a little crazy.

Looking for something to do to keep busy? REALLY?!?

If anybody has too much time these days, they’re just not paying attention.

The following are truths I’ve observed about every successful person I know:

They need more time.

They know their goals and have plans to achieve them.

They hunger for more time.

They have piles of work they haven’t been able to get to.

They yearn for more time.

They have ideas they want to pursue and haven’t been able to.

They thirst for more time.

They have skills they want to learn and develop they haven’t been able to.

They want more time.

The world is coming to a grinding halt with the global economy in a “medically induced coma”. Almost everyone other than health care workers have more time than they’re used to.

Therein lies the rub.

Most of us aren’t used to having time to do the things we want to do and can’t, so when we suddenly, unexpectedly have that time, we’re not prepared to transition from a ‘business as usual’ mode to a ‘I have time to do things I’ve wanted to do and haven’t had time for’ mode.

It’s time to …

dust off the goals and start developing plans to achieve the ones you haven’t had time to focus on

dig into the piles of work you haven’t had time to work on

pursue the ideas you haven’t had time to think about

learn and develop the skills you haven’t had time to study and practice

Today’s gift of time can easily get sucked up by fear of the unknown and all the things we do to give us a break from our historically intense daily routines – playing computer games, web surfing for funny videos, and hobbies like painting, sports, and collecting.

A good friend and avid golfer who retired too early in his career once said to me with a sad face “There is such a thing as too much golf.”  

Do not fall into old habits for killing time. There’s far too much that needs to be done for anyone to be wasting time now.

Begin by taking whatever time you need to clear your head, get the news out of your system and stop anguishing over politics. Consciously leave behind the things you can’t control or predict, like the stock market.

Start thinking about what you’re going to need to be prepared for as the economy starts coming out of its coma. There are some interesting ideas starting to surface. For example, I read a fascinating column a few days ago by a futurist who wrote about some changes she sees as likely to emerge from the pandemic.

One of her observations was social media would begin delivering the value we’ve all been waiting for.

Another of her observations was the nastiness common in most online communication venues has become more civil and positive, less angry and insulting.

I was hooked when she mentioned the possible normalization of working remotely and corresponding reduction of the value of commercial real estate symbolized by large offices and modern metropolitan skylines.

Imagine your life when the drastic measures to self-isolate and quarantines are over. When life starts getting back to some degree of normal. Rejoice in looking back on the opportunities this moment will have provided us.

  • How many ideas did you see and capitalize on?
  • What will the new normal look like for you?
  • How will you reach out to your customers and prospects to reengage?
  • What will you offer to help them get back to a state of normalcy faster and better? In short,
  • What do you think you might want to change as you start returning to business as (almost) usual?

Remember, every situation is a two-sided coin. There’s positive and negative. The negatives of our current reality are numerous and need no voice here. The positives, they can be hard to see and grasp in times of trouble.

If you think you have too much time these days, you’re just not paying attention.


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