Tips for staying sane in a pandemic from… Maven Collective Marketing’s Erica Hakonson

The consultant-turned-entrepreneur recommends keeping a schedule.

The consultant-turned-entrepreneur recommends keeping a schedule

Self-proclaimed digital marketing junkie Erica Hakonson founded Maven Collective Marketing after her side hustle became more than full-time and she needed more flexibility as a working mom. Now Hakonson runs a digital marketing agency with an international consulting team and a growing client base.

Through the Squamish-based company, she instated the annual Maven Collective Marketing Pay-It-Forward Initiative, which supports organizations involved in female entrepreneurship, women’s health and microlending. 

Hakonson has also recently co-founded a new venture, Orchestry, a software outfit that makes work simple during this time of over-digitalization.

Here’s what Hakonson is doing to stay sane during these uncertain times.

1. Set your intentions and schedule the day before

As a virtual marketing agency, we are fairly accustomed to working from home at the best of times, but staying sane during a pandemic definitely kicks it up a notch. As a mom of two wee ones (and two fur babies!), a wife of an active first responder and the owner of a business with a team that relies on me, I always set my intentions, schedule and expectations for the day to come by planning it out the day before.

Besides work, this includes prioritizing everything that needs to happen in the household, since we are all at home these days, planning out meal times, and activities for my kids to keep them stimulated and occupied throughout the day. Making a list of priorities and setting a schedule ensures that everyone in the household stays on track and makes progress toward meeting our goals. 

2. Use project management tools to stay organized and on-track

At Maven Collective Marketing, we use Asana as our preferred project management tool, but anything from Microsoft Planner to Trello to Basecamp will help you and your team stay on track. There are many great tools out there to organize your projects, your staff and your time—especially in times of higher stress.

3. Be present, and savour the moment

As a parent, I witness my children living in the moment each day—in fascination and awe at the world around them. Often, working at home presents different challenges and can feel like all sorts of chaos. But this much time spent at home also provides a unique opportunity to seek out and participate in those moments of delight, inspiration and wonder more often. It is a daily bliss for me to slow down and take a break from the seemingly constant pandemic-related news that surrounds us.

4. Practise gratitude both inward and outward

We have a habit with our children to name at least three things they are thankful for at the end of each day, and I have also taken up this practice and started journalling my own gratitude as a quiet moment to start my day. This helps set my mind in a place of hope and thankfulness before the business of the day overtakes. Beyond this, expressing gratitude to my team members by sending postcards of encouragement or simply being more mindful by taking the time to check in daily is a great way to keep morale high and your team members motivated in times of uncertainty.

5. Make the time to stay connected, even while social distancing

Sadly, while this pandemic was unfolding, my family also experienced a personal tragedy we have all been trying to cope with. I live in what feels like a world away from my parents and siblings, and it feels even farther away since the border to reach them in the U.S. has also closed. Like many others in a similar situation, it is difficult to not be able to be physically present during this time.

Still, it’s important to find ways to stay present in each other’s lives. Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever, with video calls, emails, text messages, video and photo messages, or social media. Mindfully staying well connected with family has also carried into business with my consultants and my clients, as we all find ourselves in the same boat. It can be easy to feel disconnected, fearful and weary, but utilizing technology—like conferencing software such as Zoom—to help us stay connected with each other is extremely uplifting. Even just seeing your loved ones healthy and well virtually makes a huge difference in your mental well-being and overall wellness during a time when self-isolation can be so consuming.