The first day of the iGaming Next Online conference has come to an end, and it provided an entirely different look at how the gambling industry will battle through this COVID-19 pandemic. Each speaker gave tips on how we can not only be better during this time of crisis, but how we can also be better coming out of it.
The day began with a welcome message from Pierre Lindh, Managing Director and cofounder of iGaming Next. He gave a broad overview of the current moment for the gambling industry, but cautioned that “Life will not go back to normal before there is a vaccine.” Ultimately though, as the industry matures, he noted that we should be looking for the opportunities that come over the horizon.
Next up was a talk from Dragan Donkov, Manager Learning and Development Team at the Richmond Foundation – Malta. He spoke to how we can manage our emotional well being as the world seems to fall apart around us. While everyone deals with crisis differently, he noted that it’s normal to feel fear.
More than ever, people are feeling isolated, bored, and anxious about getting sick, losing their job and security. We’re currently feeling a collective and individual sense of grief for what we’ve lost. And most of us have gone through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and finally acceptance.
He pointed to statistics that we must reckon with at these current times. 1 out of 100 people have thought of self-harm or suicide, with this number increasing in 16-24 year olds to 3 out of 100. 47% of all people are feeling depressed at some times during this crisis, and employees are certainly having a difficult time. Expats living alone, parents with lots of commitments.
He cautioned that managers should be looking for employees that exhibit signs of anxiety or worry, lack of sleep or more sleep, as these are tell-tale signs of burnout. He cited a study that showed those working from home have trouble unplugging, feel lonely, and feel a lack of communication overall.
Leaders can help these employees by keep expectations realistic. Leaders need to show that they are human and having these feelings to. And while it’s great to be positive, be realistically positive, because an over positive leader loses a bit of credibility when everything seems to be going wrong..
He ended with a few tips:
“My advice is, don’t push things. Discuss with people. See their personal situation…Make sure that you’re as flexible as you can, but at the same time, you put certain measurable things, that people still deliver, that people still have their targets.”
Next up was an inspiration message from Christopher Kiefert, a professional poker player and motivation speaker. He spoke about how he rose to success from the poker table, but took those lessons to be a success in other parts of his life.
Throughout his talk, Kiefert spoke about how he had no interest in academics, but realized his passions were in aviation, and eventually poker. While he could never apply himself to school books, he realized that he could devote countless hours to learning how to fly, and then how to master the game of poker.
“What is your desires?” he asked. “What is your passion? If you had to spend 16 hours a day and not get paid for it, what would it be?”
That’s the first step to realizing a life changing direction in this time of pandemic. In six steps, he suggested finding the thing that motivates you, and becoming a master of it.
Once that passion is found, build the belief that you can do it very well. Manage your ego and emotions so as to realistically assess how well you are doing it. Develop a strategy to become a master of it. Stick to that strategy with self-discipline, by taking bite sized steps towards being great at it. And finally, keep studying it, because the process of being great means always learning.
Finally, Karolina Pelc, Owner at Basic Strategy, spoke to how gambling industry employees and executives can increase their productivity during C-times. But as she noted right off the bat, if anxiety and pressure is getting you down, not to worry: “This is not the time to stress about increasing your productivity and putting pressure on yourself.”
She first suggested finding order in the chaos, by collecting the tasks in front of you, clarifying them, organizing them, reviewing, and then engaging. Sounds easy, but keeping that process requires a lot of self discipline.
So how do you do it? First, she suggested following the 2 minute rule, or accomplishing tasks that would only take 2 minutes or less right away. Then, make yourself lists for “someday maybe,” meaning good ideas that don’t need to be done yet, and a highlight to work on for the day. Finally, she preached the Inbox Zero philosophy, and suggested all the audience should go out and study it.
On that note, she suggested several books and resources to learn better ways of staying productive. Besides the usual best sellers, she noted that Youtube, Audible and Four minute books are great ways to learn things on the fly.
She also looked at productivity tools that can help keep you in order, with her favorite being Todoist. Of course, the best way to do it is to have several tools that work together, so she suggested many of the top options in their fields, including several Google products, Zoom, and Evernote.
She also noted that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Several automation tools are available to help get things done more quickly, and if you have no talent for the task at all, several ways of outsourcing jobs.
But managing your time can be equally as difficult. For that, she noted that 80% of our productive work comes from 20% of our time spent working. So she advocated for tactical hiding, suggesting that we give ourselves set periods of day where we turn off all distractions, and remove ourselves from areas we can be reached by others.
All of these tips hit home in one way or another. While they didn’t all apply to specifics of the gambling industry, if everyone follows them, they feel like they would really make a difference in how productive our industry can be as the world tries to find the new normal.