Rather than just jumping in and talking about how we’re updating our plans and adjusting to COVID-19, I’ve been making sure to ask my clients “What matters now?” first. It’s not that the goals we set and plans we put in place a few weeks ago are all irrelevant – it’s just that now some of them are, and other priorities, values, and needs have emerged.

In some cases, that’s meant that we’ve mothballed entire projects that aren’t the right fit for right now. In other cases, we’ve punted some projects to make space for working on others that are responding to what matters now. In other cases, we’ve decided to go forward with projects we’d put in place, but have adjusted expectations and timelines to account for where people are with COVID-19.

Most of my work, though, has been to make sure that clients are giving themselves permission to acknowledge what matters now – regardless of any plans, goals, or ideas we had from three weeks ago – and to at least consider that maybe shoehorning their plans and projects into this new reality we’re living in is backward. As frustrating as it is for the control freak that lives in each of us, admitting that the world has shifted under our feet, and made the WHATs and WHYs of our plans obsolete, is the very best way to make sure that we make the most of the even more limited time, energy, and attention that we have today.

Questions for reflection:

  • What matters now?
  • Given what matters now, what do you need to keep, drop, add, or delay?
  • What non-economic projects/activities have emerged from COVID-19 and how are you accounting for them? (Self-care, family care, and additional labor due to shutdowns all count)

“What matters now?” is admittedly a broad and difficult question to answer. That it’s broad and difficult is precisely the reason it’s worth sitting with.

It’s also worth asking every day or week as reality keeps shifting.

PS: Today’s song rec is What I Know by Trevor Hall.

Originally published at productiveflourishing.com


  • Charlie Gilkey

    Author, Speaker, Business Strategist, Coach

    Charlie Gilkey helps people start finish the stuff that matters. He's the founder of Productive Flourishing, author of the forthcoming Start Finishing and The Small Business Lifecycle, and host of the Productive Flourishing podcast. Prior to starting Productive Flourishing, Charlie was a Joint Force Military Logistics Coordinator while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Philosophy. He lives with his wife, Angela, in Portland, Oregon.