How to be Productive Working from Home

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy.

Here in Kansas City, businesses and retailers are starting to reopen as the city eases its coronavirus restrictions, but like many of you I am not rushing to return to a shared office space just yet.

Working from home is great for reducing your daily commute and is obviously ideal in terms of practicing proper social distancing, but it can also be challenging to remain focused and connected to your work when the lines between your personal home life and your work life are so blurred.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a few tips with you that help me maintain my focus and more importantly my mental health while navigating these new workplace dynamics.

Set up a Designated Workspace

Whether you have a home office or not, make sure you have a space in your house where you can spread out and concentrate without disturbing other members of your family or letting them disturb you. Going to this same space everyday ensures that your mind will associate this space with work and not the personal tasks that are so temptingly close.

Dress Up (Sort Of)

As much as most of us are living in sweatpants right now, it’s still important to maintain some aspects of your morning routine to get you in the work mindset. No need to commit to putting on a suit or heels, but at least change out of your pajamas, brush your teeth, and go through any other steps to make you feel ready and awake for the day.

Take Breaks

Part of being productive is learning to step away from work to refocus when you’re in a funk and can’t seem to be making any progress. Get away from your screen and take a walk outside, talk to a friend or family member, or even do some spring cleaning. When you return to your desk with a refreshed attitude, you’ll be more prepared to maximize the time you do have to work.

Stay Connected with your Coworkers

When working from home, it’s easy to feel isolated or disconnected from your office. Make sure you’re utilizing instant messaging and videoconferencing tools to stay connected to coworkers both for your own personal health and the greater health of the company.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if you feel that you aren’t being heard – sometimes words can be misinterpreted over text. And remember to share the occasional funny email with coworkers to lighten the mood.

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There are plenty of other strategies for maximizing your time when working from home, but these are a few that I have found to be the most helpful for me. Ultimately, I would suggest using trial and error to figure out what functions best for you, since every person works differently.

I would also love to hear from you about how you work best from home. Out of the box strategies are especially encouraged.

Please continue to make smart decisions both for your own health and the health of others. I know it is difficult to picture a life after the pandemic right now, but I am confident that together we can carry each other through this difficult period.

Talk Soon,

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Coronavirus Vaccine Before 2021?

Hi Everyone,

As many of you are aware, there’s a race going on worldwide to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Before I share my thoughts with you, I want to make clear that I am not a scientist nor a medical professional. I am just a concerned citizen like all of you, hoping to return safely to our pre-pandemic lives as soon as possible.

Status of Vaccine Development

There are currently over 100 vaccines in development globally, giving people a sense of optimism at a time when many feel completely helpless, especially when considering that recent statistics have shown that more than 5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and over 300,000 people have died.

Pharmaceutical companies and researchers have approached the development of a COVID-19 vaccine through a variety of methods. Some are relying on cutting edge technology using mRNA, others are using more traditional methods to study fragments of coronavirus protein, and one team of researchers is conducting a trial on monkeys to show how a prototype vaccine could protect them from infection.

Phase 1 trials of some of these vaccines have recently produced positive and encouraging results: test subjects developed antibodies similar to those found in people who had recovered from COVID-19. Some scientists consider coronavirus to be a stable pathogen, meaning that it is less likely to have significant mutations and therefore will respond well to a vaccine – however, there have also been studies to suggest otherwise. We are still very much in the research phase of this novel virus.

Possible Good News

However far off we are from understanding COVID-19, there seems to be a feeling of optimism in the air regarding the future of the pandemic. According to a Pew Research study, 73% of adults believe there will be a COVID-19 vaccine within the next 12 months, and 72% of adults say they would get the vaccine if available today.

And while this is certainly optimistic – vaccines typically take years or even decades to develop, so developing a vaccine in such a condensed period is practically unheard of. That is not to say that it is not possible, but rather that we should manage our own expectations to realize that a return to “normal” life won’t be immediate.

One thing I do think is fascinating to see is how the world has mobilized to fight this virus on a united front. Scientists and medical researchers across the globe have joined forces to share information, test theories and work together to develop treatments and find a possible vaccine. That is a reason to be as optimistic as any, especially when you consider the history of pandemics and how past generations have had to simply live with dangerous illnesses as a normal way of life.

While we wait for the world’s brightest minds to develop a reliable treatment or vaccine, we should all do our best to follow guidelines and best practices as recommended by our leaders and experts. Even if we do not fully understand the virus, we should behave responsibly to avoid passing it along to a vulnerable party.

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What are your thoughts on a potential COVID-19 vaccine? I’m sure many of you, myself included, want this period of uncertainty and isolation to be over sooner rather than later. I hope sharing some of my thoughts will give you a perspective you might not have considered.

Also, try to remember when talking with friends and family about coronavirus that having different opinions is okay – everyone is trying to do what they feel is necessary to keep themselves and others safe and sane.

Take Care,

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Maintaining Health and Avoiding the “Quarantine 15”


Hi gang – Michael Gortenburg here, checking in from Kansas City.

I recently shared my list of favorite tech items to have on hand during this time when many of us are stuck at home. And while they certainly help to keep you occupied at home, it is important to also spend time maintaining your health.

As such, I thought I would share some tips that you can use to stay healthy and fit while the gym and public spaces are closed.

It All Starts with Optimal Nutrition

One of the biggest factors in staying healthy is the nutrition and vitamins that your body takes in on a regular basis. A body with access to high-quality foods and supplements is one that is infinitely more prepared to ward off viruses and ailments. Luckily, these are readily available at any health food or grocery stores (provided they are still in stock).

According to health officials, these are some of the best options available for maintaining the immune system:

Zinc – a common mineral that is used to fight inflammation and improve your cells’ ability to function properly. It is an essential addition to your daily intake, especially if you are older, and has been found to be particularly effective at preventing respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin C – this vitamin is famous for its health properties and has been used to nurse the body back to health from the common cold for decades. It supports cells that are responsible for immune health and is a powerful antioxidant. You can get vitamin C from several foods like broccoli or kale, but I would advocate for supplementing with powder packets that you can also find at the grocery store.

Vitamin D – another common nutrient that is especially helpful in boosting your body’s immune system. Vitamin D supports white blood cells, the cells responsible for fighting pathogens like viruses, and is also an anti-inflammatory agent.

Garlic – this isn’t just a great addition to your favorite dishes; it also has many anti-viral properties to keep your immune system strong during this time.

Don’t Neglect Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is a great way to boost the body’s immune system and will help you avoid gaining the “Quarantine 15.”

Most Americans have a bad habit of neglecting physical exercise throughout the regular year as it is. But now with the quarantine, there is a real danger of gaining extra weight as we move around even less. If you fall into this camp, NOW is the perfect time to pick up a simple routine that you can do from the comfort of your home. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be complicated or require expensive, bulky equipment.

For those of you who frequent the gym, you may also find it enjoyable to switch things up with home workouts.

Push-ups – one of the simplest and perhaps most effective ways to stay in shape without going to the gym. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that men who can perform at least 40 pushups in one go have a better chance of avoiding heart disease. This exercise will help work out your chest, arms, shoulders and have many variations that you can use to target different areas.

Jump Rope / Jumping Jacks – almost everyone remembers playing with a jump rope as a kid. Well, it turns out that this activity is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to get your cardio in at home. If you don’t have a jump rope laying around at the house, you can substitute with simple jumping jacks. Aim for doing as many as you can to keep your heart rate up.

Sit-ups – a basic exercise and a perfect way to target your abs while you’re stuck at home. Sit-ups give you a chance to hit those areas that you might have neglected over the years. They also have a multitude of variations that can change the difficulty depending on your goals.

Squats – a powerful exercise for targeting your legs. You can perform these in any area of your house, but for added difficulty, find a wall to lean up against. Make sure to stand about one foot away from the wall and squat down as low as you can and hold this position for as long as you can. I guarantee you will find this a lot more difficult than you would have expected.

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There are many more exercises that you can perform while stuck at home during this pandemic, but these are a handful to start with. I would recommend loading up some of your favorite music, finding an isolated spot somewhere in the house and getting started on a daily routine.

Also, be mindful of the types of foods you are ordering online. Restaurants are great, but now would be the perfect time to focus on an overall healthier diet and finding ways to work in some of the above nutrients.

Until next time,

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Best Tech Devices to Have During a Quarantine

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well as we ride out this coronavirus pandemic. I know that this has been a difficult time for many of you, and large parts of the country are sheltering in place to practice social distancing.

Here in Kansas City, we have been under our mayor’s shelter in place order for weeks, so I thought this would be the perfect time to check in. With all of this time spent inside, it got me thinking about the perfect things to have on hand in the middle of a prolonged quarantine.

As an avid tech connoisseur, I’ve prepared a small list of essential items that might make your time at home a little easier. Check out my list below.

Firestick

With all of this time spent inside, you will definitely need a way to catch up on all of those shows everyone is talking about, including the ever famous “Tiger King.” The firestick plugs directly into your smart TV and grants the user access to thousands of apps and streaming services.

This little device will give you access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and more. With all of these options, you could last months or maybe even years without ever running out of options. And while tempting and somewhat understandable given the circumstances, I would not recommend spending more than a day or two binging on programs. It is important to maintain balance, even during a quarantine.

Ring Camera

Not everybody is staying at home during this quarantine. Criminals know that all of us are ordering products online and many of them are out patrolling neighborhoods looking for packages that sit on front porches/driveways.

Ring cameras help protect you from these predators – now during the quarantine, and throughout the rest of the year. These are tiny cameras that you fit on your front door that show a real-time feed of your front yard and record footage for later watching. Most notably, they can be linked up to your mobile phone, so you can view from anywhere you happen to be. In the event of having any packages stolen, or if you have unexpected visitors that you’d rather not greet at the door, this is a perfect option to have.

They also have a number of smart products like security cameras, smart lights and cameras you can use specifically for businesses.

WIFI Extender

Being forced to stay home doesn’t mean that you should be forced to sit in one room because of a weak WiFi signal. WiFi extenders boost your home’s internet access area so that you can get online from anywhere on your property. This is especially helpful if you have a hard time accessing your network in upstairs locations or from outside.

With a WiFi extender installed, you can move your home office to any part of the house where it might be quieter and easier to get work done. Or, you can lounge outside in your back yard and soak up some sun while still listening to your favorite music.

Kindle

How many times have you put off reading a great book because you just never had the time to sit down and read? Well, with a quarantine underway and with everything closed – all you have is time. That’s why a Kindle is the perfect companion to have with you while we ride this out.

Amazon’s Kindle gives you immediate access to digital versions of virtually any book you could want. Simply purchase them from the Amazon store and it will download onto the device for instant reading.

The Kindle has been perfected over the years to be intuitive and fun to use, so even if you enjoy physical books, this is a great option.

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Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully, you can use some of these items to make your quarantine a little easier over the next few weeks.

Please, stay home and stay safe.

Even if you don’t think you have anything to worry about, you could potentially spread something to someone who is vulnerable. Let’s all do our part to get through this together and we will return to our normal lives in no time.

Take care

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.