It’s a new reality. While the slowdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is challenging everyone, it has also presented a new opportunity to reflect and find out what works best for you mentally and physically, personally and in your career. The first in a series of “Slaying the Quarantine” webinars featured insights from industry professionals from many different perspectives on making the most of our situation.

Kate Patay, chief strategy officer for Patay Consulting, moderated the discussion along with Michele Polci, CMP, CPCE, director of citywide sales for Caesars Entertainment; Evan Carbotti, partner and designer for Carbotti Experiences; his wife, Ingrid Adolphs, director of creative marketing and business strategies for Carbotti Experiences; and Thuy Diep, CGSP, DMCP, CSEP, co-host of Event Brew podcast. You can experience the discussion for yourself on-demand, but here are some of the take-aways.

Find Out When You’re Most Productive

Scheduling is everything. Patay shared that when laying out her tasks for the day, she places her hardest tasks first. “I know that I’m most productive if I get out of bed and I just start working, where some people find that they’re happy spot might be middle of the day or later in the evening.”

Others may be more like Carbotti, who has a young child at home, resulting in a schedule that is more nocturnal. “[Ingrid and I] find that oftentimes we’re productive at night…it’s a time where we don’t have distractions and we can sit down and focus on tasks,” he said.

It’s the Best Time for Self-Care

Workout. “You can’t control everything, especially now, but you can control how you treat your body,” Carbotti said. “You can control the steps that you can take toward leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s really important for us to take care of ourselves so that we can better take care of our clients.”

Be your own cheerleader. “We event professionals struggle with our own self-care because we’re so willing to sacrifice that for our careers,” Diep observed.

“You’ve always had the time for both [self-care and your career], whether it was before COVID (BC) or after it (BC), so really use that time to disconnect yourself if you need that and of course use it to reevaluate and to shift and keep accountability on all those things. Your time is valuable,” she stressed.

Diep mentioned that while being willing to support others and cheer them on is admirable, we also need to remember to be our own cheerleaders. “Staying healthy both physically and mentally can stem from mindfulness, that can be just being nice and kind to yourself, giving yourself the credit and the love that you need and really deserve,” she said.

Eat well. Patay is big on repurposing meals. “Prep ahead that way and think of how you can use things multiple times over.

“Your diet is your fuel,” Patay said. But at the same time, don’t shame yourself when you aren’t eating 100 percent clean. “Just chalk it up to your cheat meal when you go through a bag of Cheetos and get back to eating right.”

Sleep. Polci is focusing on being fresh for her team. “I’ve always struggled with my sleep patterns and getting enough. I have taken the time without the commute and doing hair and makeup every morning to getting an extra hour and a half sleep. I’m still starting to work at the same time in the morning, but I find that I’m fresher,” she said. “I’m able to get after it a little bit quicker because I’ve had that that extra hour and some change of sleep.”

Setting Boundaries

Social media and news. Patay found it necessary to set up strict boundaries on her screen time, not only because the outpouring of information can be overwhelming, but also so she can set time aside for human interaction.

“Yes, we want to be informed and we want to know what’s going on. But I think you can fall down this dark hole. You can get the news, be well-informed and then you can step back into the positive. I think that’s really a key to getting through this,” Patay said.

And when it’s time to talk to others in person, that is her cue to shut everything off. “I’m alone all day and when [my husband] comes home and we sit down to have dinner, that’s my hard stop. It doesn’t matter what call I’m on, which happy hour, who I’m talking to, that’s my boundary that I set, that this is my connection time,” she said.

Flexible working hours. “I realized that the key to flexibility is having a team that you can trust,” Polci said. Having someone run their job as if it’s their own business is the kind of person you want on your team, the kind of person you know is getting the job done.

“It isn’t a time to micromanage because [I’m not] seeing them every day in the office.”

When working remotely, workdays aren’t going to look the same for everyone. “I want this for myself and especially for the team to be the best daughters and mothers and wives [they] can be and still have time for [themselves],” she said.

Non-negotiables. “Maybe we can apply the same ‘postpone, don’t cancel’ mentality to a healthy lifestyle as well,” said Carbotti. This has resulted in setting up strict boundaries around his fitness schedule, so that even his clients know about it.

“They’ll call you and ask, ‘Hey, are you busy now? I don’t know if you were in class or not.’ They know our lifestyle. They know we have a small child. They know that we value taking care of ourselves and go into the gym and things like that. We don’t hide it from them, and they value and respect that,” he said.

Finding New Opportunities

“I’ve had to reach out to people for support, for information, for advice, for reassurance during this crazy time. I think that surrounding ourselves with like-minded people that understand you, your family, your industry, all of those different dynamics has been really important for me personally as well as our company,” Adolphs said.

“We’re trying to maintain an ‘ahead mentality.’ We’re taking this time to strengthen our relationships and connect with our Circle at different levels. It’s definitely a time that we’re taking to evaluate if we are being the best version of ourselves.

“Where do we want to be after all this is over?” Adolphs asked.