Big Shout Out To Ann Handley. Her Newsletter Perked Me Up.

“I was out on my walk around the neighborhood with my daughter. We see other groups of people. Usually I barely acknowledge any other person. But not anymore: Now I pause and enthusiastically shout hello and big-smile to my neighbors.
After the third round of this theater, my daughter Caroline turns to me, incredulous: “Who are you?”

ANN HANDLEY, Digital Marketing Pioneer, Writer, Speaker
Why Does Ann’s newsletter speak to me?

I felt “seen” as my friend, Neely Tamminga, would say. After I read it, on Easter Sunday, I suddenly found I had my mojo back! I was so inspired, I went for a stroll around the ‘hood, took a few photos of some new street art, and altogether, felt like a rejuvenated me.

Ann asks Which new habits will you keep post Covid-19?

She lists 14 habits that many of us claim we will maintain once this is over (full list included here).

Three are especially relevant to me:

  • Choose news inputs carefully: Bad news in the morning, good news before bed. And I will add, do not take anything at face value, no matter the source. Everyone has an agenda these days whether it’s the NY Times or CNN or the BBC or the NY Post. Sad that it’s come to this but it’s true. You have to take it all with a grain of salt and do your own research.
  • Stop being vague. Instead of saying “We should get together sometime” make it “Can you do lunch on this specific day?”
  • Appreciate the people doing the “essential” jobs. I have always had an affinity for people in service positions whether it’s waiters or cashiers or janitors but I am doubly appreciative now.
What I especially love about issue TA#58 of Ann’s newsletter

Like many of us, Ann is pining for her old life while at the same time seeing an opportunity to recalibrate how she lives and what she values. But she is not advocating throwing out the baby with the bathwater as many others are doing.

Ann Handley’s take on the return to normalcy, resonated with me because it is such a striking counterpoint to the many recent articles like this that celebrate the shutdown of business as we know it. Supposedly we’re all meant to just chill out and enjoy the clean air and car-free highways. Basically, we’re being told, be grateful for the destruction of capitalism since only then will we be liberated to lead mindful lives, free of those pesky, evil jobs.

As someone (me!) who grew up dirt poor (migrant farm laborer poor), it fills me with dread to know 17 million people have just lost their jobs. I’m fairly certain people who are unable to put food on the table are not thrilled that companies have gone belly up (whether it’s an airline, a retailer or a local bodega).

One final point about Ann Handley. She got on my radar when dozens of people on Twitter were raving about a speech she was giving. I checked her out and immediately subscribed to her newsletter. It comes out fortnightly and based on this recent issue, I highly recommend it. Solid.

Scroll down for more highlights from this week in self-isolation.
1. FAST GROWING E-COMMERCE CATEGORIES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

How does this align with what you’re buying? The only things I’m getting on a routine basis from this list are milk and toilet paper. Interesting to see that bread machines are up 652%. But it makes sense since everyone is talking non-stop about baking!

2. Coronavirus is not the leading cause of death in the US

Following up on what I wrote about needing to check out all your sources, this is a perfect example of misleading headlines – one from CNN and one from LiveScience.com.

Polar opposites, which do you believe?

In this instance I will go with CNN and the stats from CDC:

“We have limited data on 2020 deaths by cause, and no final official numbers yet for 2019, but we do know by looking at the final death totals in 2018 for the two leading causes of death in the U.S., Heart Disease and Cancer, there is no way that at this point COVID-19 comes anywhere close to those totals,” Jeff Lancashire, a spokesperson for the National Center for Health Statistics said.

He noted that between January and April in 2018, more than 234,000 people in the United States died of heart disease and nearly 199,000 died of cancer.


So far during the coronavirus pandemic, there have been about 16,700 Covid-19 deaths in the United States, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

CNN Health, April 10, 2020
3. WHOA! US GOVT STILL USING COBOL AND FAX MACHINES

The 17 million people applying for unemployment benefits has revealed that our government (Federal, State, and Local) are way behind when it comes to technology.

First there was this:


And then, this:

C’mon America, you can do better than this!!
4. TIPS ON STAYING HEALTHY

Here are 3 things I recommend to stay healthy and fit and not put on a pound while in lockdown.

Shop for food once a week

And only go into the store with a shopping list. I also do not bring any snacks or desserts into the house. If I don’t have it on hand, I won’t be tempted to eat it. It’s also helped that Brad is in AZ – he would be bringing all kinds of tasty treats into the house and I would have a tough time resisting.

Count your calories

I’m doing a good job staying under 1500 cals per day. I plan out my 3 daily meals and rarely exceed that calorie count. My two big temptations are grapes (which I love!) and wine.

Do a daily workout

Now that we’ve been hunkered down for over a month, I’ve landed on two favorite online trainers. One offers a very difficult workout (MADFIT) and one specializes in workouts for over-50’s (although I think it is more like over 70!). For all my friends who are in their sixties and up, please check out Jenny McLendon- she’s terrific.

MADFIT – these are difficult but worth the challenge.

I especially like that there is no repetition, very little chitchat and her studio is visually pleasing.

JENNY MCLENDON (below) is very easy to follow and although her routines are low impact, you’ll still work up a sweat.

THIS IS JENNY’S 50 MINUTE WORKOUT. I don’t have weights to work out with but it’s not a problem to go without

5. Move ALL YOUR PAYMENTS/ INVOICES ONLINE

Use this time at home to convert everything to electronic banking.

Why? Because the USPS may not be around too much longer. I’ve mentioned before that some buildings in NYC are no longer receiving mail because tenants or mail delivery people have tested positive.

And now it’s quite possible that the USPS will run out of money before the end of the year.

6. BLINKIST BOOKS: bios and memoirs

I have been reading up a storm with Blinkist. Standouts this past week include:

  • Chasing Hillary by Amy Chozick (4 out of 5)
  • Charlie Munger by Tren Griffin (4 out of 5)
  • Me by Elton John (5 out of 5)
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (5 out of 5)
  • Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (5 out of 5)
  • Jay-Z by Michael Eric Dyson (4 out of 5)
7. Productivity Guilt

I have spent endless hours deliberating on this. I’ve read articles about it and had friends suggest I meditate or just not be so hard on myself about staying active.

But I also realize that my uneasiness with these endless days of nothingness is a reflection of my age. I don’t have a minute to waste. I’m 70. I want to pack every last thing into my life that I can. I’m not sure how common this feeling is among my 70-plus cohort but it is definitely front and center for me. I have zero interest in lolling around the house, idling away the time. I want to travel, I want to see and experience new things, and I want to get out and meet interesting new people. This pandemic is stealing valuable, precious time from me.

8. With Summer just around the corner, the lockdown can’t last!

They’re going to have come up with a new plan because already this week, in NYC, the number of shootings, murders, cars set ablaze and other mayhem is escalating as you can see from the Citizen app below.

After almost a month of lockdown, which was accompanied by a significant drop in crime, things changed the minute the weather got better. No matter how much they up the fines (now $1000) for crimes against “social distancing,” it’s not going to work! The people want out!

What are the odds of NY starting up again by June? Pretty high I would say.

Bottom Line.

We’re all doing our best, but nobody has the answers right now.

One piece of news that makes me inordinately optimistic, is that a number of legit scientists out of the UK are now saying they are 80% sure that there will be a vaccine available by September. And apparently there are over 70 different companies and organizations working on a vaccine all around the world. Without the vaccine, nothing good can happen.

As Cuomo says, only time and the data will tell.

Fingers crossed!

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