2020 has been one for the history books!

Gareth Grant, Business Unit Director, The MediaShop

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would live to experience a global event of this scale that would be remembered for years to come. I recall studying about the likes of the Great Depression, the French Revolution and both First and Second World Wars, but to actually live through something so surreal, no chance. Enter COVID-19…

The 26th of March 2020 will be a date that no South African will ever forget. It was the date when our country entered lockdown and life as we knew it was turned upside down. Our movements were limited, there was a curfew in place, and what we could and couldn’t purchase was drastically affected. No take-aways? What do you mean?

In the beginning, I kept positive by reminding myself that this was only for three weeks… But wait…, three weeks was quickly extended to five weeks. Hmmm, that made it a bit more challenging to remain optimistic, especially when focusing on all the restrictions put in place. I allowed one day to feel sorry for myself and then I switched gear and realised this is a great opportunity to “hit reset”, and reflect on my life and re-evaluate what is a priority and what isn’t.

It gave me time to reflect on what is a necessity and what is a nice-to-have and to focus on the important things and be grateful for all that I have. If I was to do this properly, I would need to be deliberate about my priorities and the things I value most. I was sent an article which spoke about “time chunking” and how to break up your day. I found this to be very beneficial and so went about making a list of things I enjoy and value and things that are a necessity. From there I was more deliberate in allocating my hours, carving out work time and keeping to a schedule.

Weekends were no longer a mix of work and play but dedicated to time with my wife and our two Beagles and things that I enjoy doing.

Even as we move to less stringent levels of lockdown, I keep to a routine and start my day with a relaxing activity. Some people like to meditate, do yoga, journal or have some other form of quiet time. I like being in the bush or nature so starting my day with game drive and a cup of coffee is the best. Sarai Live on YouTube is fantastic if you share my passion for wildlife! Also, no weekend goes by without me doing things I love, like braaiing, making a potjie or doing my “skottel” breakfast as we often do when in the Kruger National Park. After all, if I can’t be in the bush at least I can have some aspects of being on a bush trip.

I have revaluated the amount of time I spend on social platforms too, as well as what type of news I consume. Video consumption in my house has increased during lockdown and across various platforms but I am more selective about the content I consume. The #RELIVE content on SuperSport was excellent! With no live sport at the time, watching old sporting events was nostalgic. I mean who could ever get bored of watching the Boks beat England in both the 2007 and 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals? And it was fun to reminisce with people I watched these events with when they were live. It is evident that I wasn’t the only person consuming a lot more video content. We just have to look at the stats across the likes of YouTube, Mzansi Magic, DStv Now and Catch Up to see this in action. Some audiences have grown by more than 30% in some instances.

My consumption, however, was not aimless. After all, I was hitting the reset button. I watched a lot of “how-to” content. No, not how to make pineapple homebrew. I have a real passion for woodworking and enjoy that time I get to spend by myself working on creations, so the content was around how to set up my workshop efficiently and ensure that I was making the best use of the space I have for my hobby and who better to ask than YouTube or Pinterest? The ideas that are available are endless. I’m glad to say that my workshop is mostly set up, and I continue to spend time in this space which adds value to my life, making things for people I care about.

As we continue to wade through these uncertain times, I urge you to take stock, evaluate what is and isn’t important, and then hit reset. Spend time doing the things that you love, have a passion for and those that add value to your life. Be deliberate about what you do. Don’t just go through the motions, because as we have seen life as we know it can change in the blink of an eye. So have no regrets, but mostly importantly, have fun!

Stay safe!

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