[YS Learn] The one habit that will ensure sanity and productivity during crisis

In his masterclass, Dr Raj Raghunathan, Zale Centennial Professor of Business at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas, Austin, reveals how self-discipline can help you thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

The coronavirus pandemic has made work from home the norm, further blurring the lines between our work and personal lives. And as homes morph into offices, conference rooms, schools, and more, compartmentalising becomes tough. 

Dr Raj Raghunathan, Zale Centennial Professor of Business at McCombs School of Business, University of Texas, Austin, feels that if there is one thing that can keep us going in times like these it is self-discipline

Raj’s work has appeared in scientific journals like The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, The Journal of Consumer Research, Organisational Behavior, and Human Decision Processes. His work has also been published in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, The New York Times, and The Atlantic

In a masterclass with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory, Raj said: “People who are going to thrive are those who can compartmentalise their life and bring in self-discipline.” 

Raj added that this self-discipline is in the form of actions and thought. In terms of actions it is important to create a physical space and delineate timings for work and family. 

“It is important that you do not take your laptop and phones into your bedroom. We all know how easy it is to slip down that rabbit hole. It takes discipline to shut off your phones and laptops, and not look at them after a certain time,” he said. 

Apart from this, it is also important to train your mind and thoughts. “It is about telling your mind that you are not going to think about that particular problem or issue. Especially if you have already thought multiple times and haven’t come up with a solution, or if something just isn’t in your favour,” Raj said. 

He recommended a practice that can help control thoughts: focusing on your breath for 20 counts. It’s not easy and the mind tends to keep wandering, but it is important to stick to the practice. 

“This helps filter your thoughts and understand what can be retained and what can be left out. This is extremely important for leaders during this time as they have to deal with multiple issues, many of which will not be in their control. Thus, it is important to understand what thoughts you want to indulge in and what you don’t want to,” Raj said. 
Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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