For Starters -- July 2020

Viral Statistics

Do you personally know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Approximately 28% of U.S. adults — nearly one out of every three — answer that question yes, according to a new survey from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, an indication of how widespread the coronavirus pandemic has been. Twenty percent say they personally know someone who has been hospitalized or died because of the disease.

In the same study, Pew found that:

• 38% of U.S. adults have taken their temperature at home to check if they might have COVID-19.

• 14% have been “pretty sure” they had COVID-19, even though they were not diagnosed.

• 2% have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care provider.

• 2% have taken a blood test that showed they have COVID-19 antibodies.

Results are based on the responses of nearly 11,000 U.S. adults surveyed between April 29 and May 5.

Legions of Zoom

There’s a new type of fatigue in town, and we’re guessing you haven’t heard of it — but you might be able to relate to it.

We already have chronic fatigue, mental fatigue, vocal fatigue and muscle fatigue, just to name a few. Now we can add Zoom fatigue to the list.

For the uninitiated, Zoom fatigue results from spending inordinate amounts of time participating in video conferencing — whether it’s for business meetings, socializing, worship services or even dating — on Zoom and similar apps. 

“There is no doubt that platforms like Zoom are very useful,” a May 6 article on The Conversation website noted. “But all this time spent on video calls has its problems. We rely on it to connect with people, yet it can leave us feeling tired and empty. It has given us some semblance of normal life during lockdown, but it can make relationships seem unreal.”

According to the article, when we interact with another person or people through a screen, our brains have to work much harder.

“We miss many of the other cues we’d have during a real-life conversation like the smell of the room or some detail in our peripheral vision,” the article said. “When that extra information is gone, our brains have to work harder to make sense of what is happening.”

Here are a few simple solutions from the article:

• Avoid multitasking while on a video call so you can pay attention better.

• Take a break between video calls to regroup and recover.

• Hide the image of yourself during a video conference so you won’t feel so self-conscious.

• Consider other types of communication, such as texting, email and phone calls.

The New Normal

Honestly, there’s no “normal” definition of normal — everybody’s view of that word differs — but one thing we all have in common is the belief that whatever normal was before the coronavirus pandemic, that’s not what normal will look like after the pandemic.

In fact, a common sentiment on Facebook and other social media has been, “I don’t want things to go back to normal.”

With that thought in mind, Thrive Global asked readers to share some of the things they don’t want to go back to normal. Here are some of their eye-opening replies from a May 27 article:

• The need to always be doing more

• Unnecessary meetings

• A lack of quality family time

• Nonstop travel

• A reluctance to let employees work from home

• Working harder instead of smarter

• Constant rushing

• Neglecting what our bodies need

• An obsession with busyness

• Solo dinners

• Making excuses to skip a workout

• Living in a comfort zone

• A lack of prioritization.

What do you hope won’t go back to normal? And how do you plan to keep it from going back to normal?

Worth Noting

Notetakers, take note: There’s a new way to capture information.

This notable new method comes from Jim Kwik, author of the book “Limitless.” Kwik’s innovative note-taking technique, as reported May 2 by contributor Minda Zetlin, uses a three-step process:


Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. Yes, these are going to be handwritten notes because taking notes by hand improves comprehension and retention. “On the left side of the page, I want you to capture,” Kwik said. “On the right side, I want you to create.”


Filter what you capture. When writing by hand, you can’t capture everything a person says, so you have to filter what’s being said. If it doesn’t seem important or usable, don’t bother writing it down. Kwik especially recommended writing down specific examples and anecdotes that make an impression on you because you’re more likely to commit those to your long-term memory.


Ask yourself these vital questions. On the creating side of the page, answer three questions to help you determine what to write down: How will I use this? Why must I use this? When will I use this? According to Kwik, weighing these questions will help you make the leap from writing down what you hear to actually acting on it.

“Figuring out the what, why and when of using new information,” Zetlin wrote, “gives you the best chance of getting real value out of what you’ve learned.”

Morning Mindfulness

When it comes to your career, are you a morning person?

Morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. It’s important to know what you should do — and shouldn’t do — first thing. 

In May,’s Young Entrepreneur Council wrote a piece highlighting seven things successful leaders never do first thing in the morning. Are you guilty of any of these?

• Hit the snooze button. Successful business leaders don’t sleep in or even sneak in five extra minutes of sleep — it’s like breaking a promise to yourself.

• Pick up the phone. “One of the worst things we can do upon waking is picking up our cellphones to check emails, texts, social media or news,” said Phillip Oakley, founder of Common Giant. Those things should have a scheduled time later in the day, he said.

• Start without a plan. Making a plan for what you want to do and what you hope to achieve is critical.

• Avoid exercise. “Exercise and physical health require strict discipline and planning,” said MonsterInsights co-founder Chris Christoff. “I’m a firm believer that the same drive used to better ourselves through exercise can help you become more disciplined in your professional life.”

• Schedule calls. Unless it’s extremely urgent or there’s a significant time zone difference necessitating an early-morning call, calls should be saved for later in the day, so you can focus on more important matters first.

• Start with someone else’s priorities. Start the day focusing on your own priorities.

• Obsess over small decisions. Excessive worrying can have a negative impact on your sleeping habits and that spells trouble for your day.

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