When thinking of a topic for this blog, I initially had a few ideas bouncing around in my head related to avoiding malpractice. But then what was a threat of a possible COVID-19 pandemic became a reality and life changed for millions of people within days. Suddenly my pearls of wisdom no longer seemed that important. Besides, my last post advised attorneys to never send or accept wiring instructions by email and ALPS has seen several claims involving hacked emails and misappropriated wire transfers so maybe giving advice isn’t my forte.

Since everyone I talk to is, like me, working from home, I thought maybe I could share some thoughts on that front: “how to be more productive from home.” But in reality, I should be reading advice columns on that topic rather than writing them. I have middle school and grade school kids at home that I need to keep on task with online learning while also keeping up with my own work. Some days I feel like I am not accomplishing either task.

On top of working from home while schools remain closed for an undetermined amount of time, there is the constant fear of COVID-19. As I write this, the CDC has warned that the peak of the pandemic has not yet hit. Most states have stay-at-home orders so everyone is nervous and on edge. Not just from the fear of getting infected, but because simple things like going to the gym, going out to eat, attending school sporting events, or even arranging play dates for kids are no longer options.

So my topic? One of the few podcasts I listen to is by a retired Navy SEAL named Jocko Willink who routinely interviews people (usually combat veterans) who have overcome tremendous hardships. Jocko’s advice on dealing with difficult situations is summed up with one word – Good! So you find it hard to focus on work and children at the same time? Good, it forces you to manage your time better and allows you to spend more time with your children. Can’t go to a bar or restaurant? Good, it gives you a chance to learn to be a better cook. Can’t go to the gym? Good, spend more time exercising outside and save money by working out at home.

The pandemic will not last forever and eventually, things will return to normal. Your work and professional life will always have challenges. But no matter the challenge, look squarely at it, say “Good!” and then think how that challenge is also an opportunity.

But enough of that, my second grader needs help logging into Zoom so he can check in with his classmates. Stay healthy everyone!

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John Ries is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Law and Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College. John has been a Claims Attorney for ALPS since 2009. Prior to coming to ALPS, John served as a Deputy District Attorney for Union County, Oregon, and an Associate Attorney at Stamper Rubens, PS, in Spokane, Washington.