Get Things Done & Keep Moving Forward to Achieve Your Goals During Difficult Times.

Joseph Zakher
5 min readAug 30, 2020

We all know about the explosion that happened in Beirut on August 4, 2020. I’m not here to talk about how dramatic this event was for everyone, whether it’s Lebanese citizens or ex-pats. We all know how bad it was. So this post will not revolve around how to deal emotionally with the blast, but how to stay motivated during such hard times, or how to find a will to work again.

Everyone is taking a step back now. Thinking about themselves, their future. How are you feeling? Angry? Sad? What is your plan for the future? What do you want to accomplish in your life? How can you do that with the current situation?

Have you given up yet? Are you still fighting? If not why?

Your thoughts are scattered, you still see, hear, feel what happened, you haven’t moved on, who has? You give up. You don’t have a plan. You’re stuck here, stuck, it’s not safe it really isn’t, what are you gonna do? No more money, no more jobs, corruption, economical collapse, corruption, destruction, corruption, corruption, corruption.

We all have goals in life, but some situations make it very difficult to continue working on them. As Lebanese, we most of the time feel that they’re completely out of reach as we, now more than ever, have lost almost everything. Today all we have left is each other, and ourselves. Lebanese people are known for having power in their unity. The way our people rebuilt Beirut is just a small example of it!

And even if we are not united, Lebanese people find pride in how much they’ve been through, and how much they managed to come out of it stronger. But this time, it’s not just about strength, Lebanese people are scared, demotivated, lost. Their plans, jobs, and Unis are buried under ashes now.

I wrote an article more than a year ago about writing things down. I called it the Hand-Mind Strategy. I used to overthink at night a lot and stay up until 5 am (you probably do that now), so I looked for a way to escape these thoughts (whether they were good or bad, I just wanted to get some sleep). One night, I grabbed a small notebook and a pen and started writing down everything that went through my mind. I was mostly thinking about the future, anxious. I wrote on the first page Notes from my Bubble, and on the second page the purpose of the notebook:

Everything you write down will either get stuck in your head or get out of it.

Not only did it work, but it also brought me inspiration, ideas, a new mindset where I found myself to be at peace. As of this moment, I needed to be productive again and start working on my goals. Productivity follows the law of attraction — the more productive you are, the more productivity you will attract — goals aren’t enough, you need to write down a plan as well. Only when you’ll have established a plan, you’ll be able to start working to reach your goals.

Grab a notebook. A pen. Start writing anything that comes through your mind.

I recently read Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key, where he mentions that “Beauty remains, even in misfortunes”. This was written by Anne Frank in her diary during WWII. “If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.”

The trackless woods. A quiet child, lying on her belly, reading a book. The clouds cutting over the wing of an airplane, its exhausted passengers all asleep. A man reading in his seat. A woman sleeping. A flight attendant resting her feet. The rosy fingertips of dawn coming up over the mountain. A song on repeat. That song’s beat, lining up exactly with the rhythm of events. The pleasure of getting an assignment in before a deadline. The temporary quiet of an empty inbox. This is stillness.

Indeed, stillness IS the key. In order to cope with the current situation in Beirut, you must be still. Empty yourself. Try to reach this moment when you feel like you’re nothing at all — Almost nothing at all. You’ll be able to reach a state of mind where you’ll have a clearer picture of the world. Think about where you want to be. What do you want to do in your life? Do you want to make the world a better place? Find a way to do so. Start working on that.

Free your mind and focus on yourself. We all need to do that right now, no matter how difficult it is.

Illustration by Andrea Antar

Recently, I started working on Qiosk.io, a mobile app to buy local products from local online stores in Lebanon. We launched our MVP on August 3, one day before the blast! I didn’t know how to react.

We stopped working on our MVP for a while so that our team could help rebuild houses in Beirut. I wasn’t able to do that. So I stayed home, thinking about what happened, and what will happen next. A week later, I cleared my mind. I started working again, finding a way to help Lebanon by doing what I knew I was good at. It wasn’t building, or cleaning. It was me, my computer, my ideas, and my will to bring them to life, to help Lebanese stores, jobs, to help in any way I know I can.

I had found stillness, recentered my thoughts, and calmed my mind. But no, I was still grieving, my thoughts were not at peace, when I stopped working it all came back. So I kept on working, to shut them up, it gave me purpose, working gave me a reason to stay.

I was making a change. I am making a change.

Today, we’re ready to get things done as a team again. We have a clear mission. Help Lebanese online stores. Help Lebanese people.

We’re going to simplify the process for stores who want to sell with us on Instagram (our MVP), by adding a form on our website. In order to do that, I found out about a great tool called Survey Anyplace! The user experience of this website is the best among all other services. If you’re searching for such tools for your own business or startup, give it a try here!

Feel free to contact me personally for any inquiry on joey@qiosk.io, I’m here to help.

Stay strong Beirut. Stay strong.

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Joseph Zakher

Designing user interfaces for SaaS using Figma and Framer. I have built my own design framework to help founders build and grow awesome products.