Welcome to AidanBooth.com!
I write this month’s post from the confines of mandatory hotel isolation in New Zealand. We’re 10 days into our 14 day isolation period… it’s been an interesting experience, more on this shortly.
First though, today’s content is about ways to get more out of your day, specifically, how to turbo-charge your productivity (don’t forget to download the productivity planner, you can get that by clicking below).
One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How do I get so much done?”. The video I’ve got for you today should go a long way to answering that question.
In the video I discuss:
- High-Value vs Low-Value activities, and the kinds of things you need to be focused on to grow your business
- Planning versus Working, and how to turn your activities into action that moves the needle
- Forcing Delivery, and how you can use deadlines and milestones to accelerate progress
- The Productivity Mindset, and how to create a resourceful state of mind that fosters action and results
- Productivity Hacks to help you get more done each day, including the 55-55-25 as well as other tricks
- And a lot more!
14 Days In A 300 Square Foot Hotel Room (With a 1-Year Old & a 3-Year Old)
My September blog post was about the ‘Pandemic World’, and explored new trends, stats and behaviors as well as my own experiences in dealing with 161 days of lockdown in Argentina. Today, 30 days on, my family and I are in our 10th day (of 14) of isolation in a hotel in New Zealand.
29 Hours Of Flying
The story begins with three long-haul flights… Buenos Aires to New York (11 hours), New York to Los Angeles (5 hours), and finally Los Angeles to Auckland (13 hours).
Normally we could fly direct from Argentina to New Zealand in 12 hours, but these are not normal times, so we psyched ourselves up, planned an assortment of in-flight entertainment activities for our kids, and embarked on the 29 hours of travel (and mask wearing!) that lay ahead of us.
The flight from Buenos Aires to NYC was jam-packed. We flew business because we wanted the extra space (and I’m glad we did). From NYC to NZ, the flights were about 80% EMPTY, this was our first big win of the trip, it meant we had plenty of space to stretch out, and less contact with people.
SIDENOTE: Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. More here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html
Food and in-flight service was pretty limited on the first two flights (no hot meals or beverage service), but with Air New Zealand (from LA to Auckland) it seemed to be completely normal.
New Zealand Hotel Isolation
Upon arrival in NZ, we were told which hotel we’d be doing our isolation in, and taken there on a bus, in our case, we stayed at The Rydges Hotel in Auckland CBD.
Up until now, costs associated with hotel isolation in NZ are covered by the NZ government (for NZ residents). For non-residents the cost is about US$2000 per person. I’ve heard rumours that isolation costs will soon need to be paid for by the person using it, but in my case we were covered by the government.
SIDENOTE: There’s a debate in NZ about whether the government should cover the cost of isolation for returning residents. Without going off on a tangent too much, here’s my 2 cents worth… As someone who has paid taxes in New Zealand my whole life (even though I haven’t lived here for the past 15 years), and as a NZ family returning home, I feel it is RIGHT that the government pays for the isolation. I don’t think it should pay for non-residents, but if isolation is being forced on returnees (which I do think is the right thing to do), then it should be covered by the NZ government.
Prior to landing in New Zealand, we didn’t know if the isolation hotel would be in Auckland or in another city in New Zealand… thankfully it was in Auckland which meant we didn’t need to be flown or bused off to another location.
Upon arrival at the hotel, I was told we would be in one room with two double beds… this was NOT the news I wanted to hear, so I pleaded my case.
The hotel staff were compassionate and eventually gave us two rooms next to one another (but not adjoined). This meant we had more space for sleeping, kids naps, and survival with two kids in general. I don’t know how we would have handled being in a single room… two small rooms is FAR better than one!
The hotel provided us with accommodation and all the food we could possibly consume (in fact more than we could consume), and it was all fantastic.
I’ve read horror stories about some of the hotels and food provided in New Zealand isolation facilities, but in our experience, the service has been incredible.
We’re served three meals of restaurant-grade food each day, food that we can select from a menu in advance. Our kids have kids menus, and the kitchen staff has been wonderful in making sure it’s healthy and fit for young children.
One big tip we had in advance was to bring our own cutlery. The hotel serves food on disposable trays and with disposable (wooden) cutlery. We brought our own steel cutlery along, which has made eating a LOT easier.
The hotel has an on-site cafe (currently closed to the outside world), and we’ve used this daily for vital purchases (mainly coffee, but also alcoholic beverages!)
Room Confinement & The Outside World
We are actually allowed to leave our rooms to walk down to reception at any time. We’re not locked in our rooms.
There’s an outdoor space for smokers, and it’s possible to talk to people through the fence (there’s a 2 meter space between where we are being held, and where the public can walk). We saw a fair few families or friends socialising through the fences.
We’ve also been able to buy items online and deliver them to the hotel, and also receive packages from family (lego and books have been a godsend!)
Protocols vary from hotel to hotel based on facilities available. In this hotel, we have three options for being out of our rooms.
- Option #1 is 45 minutes of outdoor walking time at the Auckland waterfront. With this option, we jump on a bus and are driven 10 minutes to the Auckland waterfront where we’re ‘released’ into a large fenced off area and we basically walk in circles. This is in a nice picturesque part of Auckland, and has been very enjoyable on the days we’ve had nice weather. This option is available every other day for each family.
- Option #2 is 30 minutes on the hotel’s rooftop terrace. This is a semi-enclosed area with views of the city. A limited number of people (approx 15) can use the space at any given time. This can be booked once/day per family.
- Option #3 is ‘the ramp’. Nothing glorious about this… it’s an industrial delivery ramp at the hotel entrance which is fenced off, and available for private family use (one family at a time). We didn’t have very high expectations for the ramp, but it’s probably been our kids’ preferred option!
We normally combine a couple of these options to have about 60 minutes out of our rooms each day.
In New Zealand isolation hotels, COVID tests are done on day 3 and day 11 of the stay. Having never experienced a test, we didn’t really know what to expect… thankfully there wasn’t much to report, just a little tickle in the nose, and it was over in a few seconds. Results came back 48 hours later, and thankfully we were clear of the virus.
In addition to the tests, we have our temperature taken daily by nurses who come to our rooms (but never enter our rooms), and we’re always asked how we feel.
Entertainment, Exercise, and Work
My wife and I limit the amount of screen-time our kids get, and we’ve continued with that throughout our stay here.
We’ve mixed up entertainment activities as much as possible to keep things interesting. Some of the favorites include:
- Colouring books
- New surprise toys (thanks “Grandma”!)
Some of our more creative activities have included:
- 10-pin bowling
- Egg and spoon races
- Fort building using sheets
- Turning the ironing board into a slide
My wife and I have been able to get our ‘exercise fix’ by taking 60-minute breaks each day, where we’re on our own, and able to get a workout in (another benefit of having two rooms).
In terms of work, having the freedom to simply decide not to work for two weeks has been valuable. We’ve taken two weeks off work, and tried to instead focus on enjoying family time as much as possible.
All going to plan, we will be released back into the world on Monday at 5 am, exactly 14 days after our arrival in New Zealand.
I’m looking forward to…
- Socializing with my family and friends
- Enjoying restaurant and cafe dining with my wife
- Taking my kids to a playground (still not permitted in Argentina)
- A family trip to the local supermarket, without a mask or precautions (I never thought I’d get excited about this!)
- Enrolling my kids in preschool (they miss the interaction a lot!) and other activities
- Swimming… it’s been well over a decade since more than a couple of weeks passed without me getting a swim workout in, let alone 7 months!
- And once we’re settled, tourism (within New Zealand).
This pandemic (and on a different level, this 14-day isolation) has forced a new perspective of the world, and been a strong reminder of the things we enjoy and why freedom is so important.
I hope the world can learn from this pandemic experience, and figure out how to deal with the next pandemic in a more congruent, cohesive, and aligned way.
How To Turbo-Charge Your Productivity To Boost Your Earnings
What do YOU do to stay productive?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or comments about anything else.
Thanks for reading,