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5 Ways to Leverage Social Distancing for Personal and Professional Success

By Molly Dewey

You may or may not have seen a pretty powerful Instagram post going around in the midst of all this COVID-19 chaos. It reads: “”When the Great Plague of London was going around in 1665, Cambridge University shut down and Isaac Newton was forced to stay home. During this time, he invented calculus, parts of optic theory, and allegedly, while sitting in his garden, he saw an apple fall from a tree that inspired his understanding of gravity and the laws of motion.”


If we really think about it, with all this “social distancing” and “self-quarantining,” we’ve probably got some extra time on our hands. Sure, we’re all still plenty busy working from home during normal business hours, but what about the 30 minute commute we have to get to and from the office every day? That’s a full hour of time that’s been given back to us now that we’re working from the kitchen table, isn’t it? Or what about the time we take for lunch, to run out and get something to eat or chat with coworkers? We get that time back if it’s a quick trip to the fridge and we’re alone in the house, right? This extra time adds up and could be used in any number of ways to improve ourselves, not to mention keep us from going crazy being cooped up at home for the next few weeks.

Now, a lot of us see this gift of time as a way to get some extra sleep in the morning or a chance to catch up on all the television shows we haven’t been able to binge, and for the record, no judgment on our end if that’s how you plan to survive this pandemic. Maybe it’s exactly the slow-down you needed! But for those of you out there twiddling your thumbs and feeling bored out of your minds, we’ve got a few ideas for you to make the most of isolation:

1. Take an online course

Udemy offers courses on everything from photography to speed reading. For only $10.99 you can take this course to “Double Your Confidence & Self-Esteem.”

LinkedIn Learning provides courses to take your professional performance to the next level. The platform will ask you to choose what you’re interested in and then will have you set a weekly learning goal of 15, 30, 60, or 120 minutes. The current featured learning is by Arianna Huffington and Joey Hubbard, called “Thriving @ Work: Leveraging the Connection Between Well-Being and Productivity.”

For a $15/month subscription, Masterclass offers unlimited access to some of the best instructors in the world — Martin Scorses teaches Filmmaking, Anna Wintour teaches Creativity and Leadership, Neil DeGrasse Tyson teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication, does it get any better than that?!

2. Learn a new language

Or dust off one you used to know! Apps like Duolingo and Babbel can be downloaded to your phone and use games to make practicing foreign language fun, right from your couch!

3. Hire a coach

You know that awesome well-being and career coach you’ve been meaning to work with but just haven’t had the time? Now’s your chance! Use this period of remote work to work on yourself, setting personal and professional goals and gaining clarity with a coach on how to execute. 

At Mettacool we have an incredibly dynamic bench of coaches who specialize in well-being, professional performance, and transition. Clients work toward promotions, finding a new job, getting their health on track, you name it. Is there something you’ve needed a little support with that a coach might be able to provide?

Shop our coaching packages here or reach out to learn more about how coaching works — email us at or schedule your free consult here.

4. Read a personal development book

Some of our favorites include:

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers By Richard N. Bolles

Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life – Before 8 AM by Hal Elrod

5. Get your mindfulness practice going

Now that you’re in quarantine, you don’t have much of an excuse to neglect that mindfulness practice you’ve been meaning to implement. Even if it’s just five minutes a day, incorporating some kind of meditation practice can help calm any anxiety or fear you might have about Coronavirus, and if you really make it a habit, you might even be able to keep it going when your normal routine resumes post-virus. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit — this may be the perfect time to try!

We love the Ziva Method here at Mettacool — it’s only 15 minutes twice a day and is truly transformative.

We know that we’re not all Isaac Newton, and that extra Netflix time can be quite tempting, but good things do happen when people have downtime and are forced to get creative. We challenge you to fill your time for the next few weeks with personal and professional development so that you come out of quarantine swinging — the world won’t know what hit ‘em.


March 18, 2020

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