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Four Questions

Thanks to everyone who responded after my previous post about recording life on the ground. Lots of people had ideas about which questions would be useful to ask on an ongoing basis about life under quarantine; lots of people also told me that 10 questions was far too many.

Most people were circling around the same questions, so I've decided to make these my core. And then there will be optional questions that you might choose to add onto any day's report.

The core questions:

1. What did you do today? Purely tactical: what did the day look like? It might seem obvious to us right now, as we're in the moment, but once the pandemic passes it likely won't. It'll also most probably differ from country to country.

2. What did you enjoy? This and the next question could have been condensed into "how are you feeling?", but the more direct prompt is more likely to elicit more specific answers. It's also a prompt to remember what has been good about the day; in difficult times, there's an importance to that.

3. What did you find difficult? Again, it's worth being specific. These two questions were inspired by Arne Rubinstein's GOLDEN framework - thanks to Erik Visser for forwarding it to me.

4. What has changed? This is deliberately ambiguous. Perhaps it's something big, like a policy change or a government reshuffle. Perhaps it's something small, like a change in personal routine to find healthier ways to adapt. But change is a constant, and it's worth recording the delta between one day and the next.

And then, the stretch questions:

5. What are you grateful for? A suggestion from Nick Doty. Maintaining a gratitude practice yields all sorts of benefits, but it can be more beneficial if you do it on a longer timescale - weekly, not daily. So it's an optional question here.

6. Which changes do you want to keep? A suggestion from Sonia Virdi. Not all of the changes are bad - for example, more flexible work from home policies, a stronger social safety net for some workers, and cleaner air. What is worth holding onto?

7. What are you scared of? It's not always productive to give voice to our fears, but sometimes they need to be written down.

8. What has stayed the same? A suggestion from Ben Seymour. Not everything is in flux. Some things are constants, but everyone's constants are different. What are they for you?

9. When did you last laugh? A suggestion from Edith Speller. Think back to the last time you laughed - it was probaby in an intimate moment that says a lot about your life and your current situation. Where you find humor and light tells a whole story.

I'm still interested in feedback - you can always email me at My new commitment is to get a prototype up and running by next week. (Of course, if you're a blogger, you can get started with posting your answers to these questions without any extra tools.) Look for an update on Tuesday, April 21st.


Photo by Grianghraf on Unsplash