As human beings, we share many traits and objectives, we also share vulnerabilities and in times of unrest, they seem to bubble, propelled by our personal fear versus dissociative responses, rising to the top of our consciousness.

 

​As per Michel Foucault, French Philosopher

Foucault argued that the birth of the modern state began as a response to the plague and how we need to understand, regulate and control modern life. In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Foucault begins with a description of measures to be taken against the plague in the seventeenth century: In order to create a pure community, lepers were separated, all modern mechanisms for controlling abnormal individuals and situations derive from these disciplinary mechanisms: partitioning of space and closing off houses, constant inspection and registration. Processes of quarantine and purification: the plague is met by order.

Beware the Infodemic

The dynamic between the governed and the governing, the requirement for a sovereign in times when we are vulnerable, can be considered individually and independently for purposes of this exercise. With what was described in February by the Director General of the World Health Organisation as an “Infodemic”, we should look inward when defining our new normal as individuals, setting our new processes and principles for good work and self-sustaining activities based on our individual needs for productivity.

Key Principles of Self-Investment:

We have put together a few guiding principles for productivity but more importantly, we hope to share our views on how creating your new normal should be mostly influenced by your own needs.

Rest and Recreation

Improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, rest is an important factor in productivity. Although it is something we often shy away from when discussing how to get more done, recreation also plays an important part in regulating and improving productivity; increases in serotonin allow for an improved ability to manage stress, boosts your energy, memory and connection with others.

Connection and Conversation

With the advent of a new digital world, it is important not to forgo true human connection but rather to supplement it when necessary and during times of limited contact. Using tools such as Slack, WhatsApp, Skype and other digital tools to help us connect (and not creep) is an important milestone in your digital journey to remain connected and in conversation.

Reflection and Assessment 

How are you feeling? What is causing you anxiety? Is it within your power to change that? What are you doing well at? What is making you feel good? What have you achieved? How are you?

All of these are important assessment questions, and we are of the view that you should start with you, understanding how you can improve the way you feel and letting that affect others is a powerful idea.

Drawing once again from Foucault, the plague became the image against which the mechanisms of discipline were defined but not because the plague represents a loss of order but because when the plague strikes, the boundaries of normal and abnormal become blurred. Anyone can become sick and therefore, abnormal; and what is abnormal is what represents danger, the unknown.

Discipline, operating as a noun describes obeying rules or a code of behaviour. It is in times of abnormality that we are required to review and redefine our own sense of discipline.

Create your own normal, your new schedule and a perspective that serves you and your goals.

Additional Reading

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Michel Foucault – https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/foucault/

WHO says fake coronavirus claims causing ‘infodemic’ (13 February 2020), https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51497800

The Pomodoro Technique, https://www.developgoodhabits.com/pomodoro-technique/

The Eisenhower Decision-Making Matrix, https://jamesclear.com/eisenhower-box

Productivity Music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRjvEW1dlVc

 

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