Let’s face it, there are some things that 2020 exposed that wouldn’t have been revealed if COVID didn’t shake us up. Some relationships were past the expiration date and some of us were sitting on gold minds but were working for the factory, (you’ll catch that later). But there are some lessons we learned that we cannot forget. Here are 21 things we learned NOT to do in 2021.

  1. The biggest lesson I learned from 2020 was to manage my time effectively. There were so many distractions like small urgent requests that prevented me from focusing on my priority at work. I thought I could multi-task so I entertained these small pieces of work while still trying to get my main priority done. It turns out that this doesn’t work for me. I managed to take back control of my time after I immediately stopped attending to these small urgent requests. Instead, I set expectations with people who were asking for help and I informed them when I’ll be available to help out. I got more done by doing this. Multi-tasking doesn’t work! Fred Blair, Founder of Awesome Hoops.
  2. This year for me was full of growth and self-knowledge. I have a lot of great things to take from 2020 and keep doing it from now on. I’m leaving behind the fear of the unknown. For a while, I’ve been wondering how would it be to be my own boss, to have my own business, but there was always something holding me back. Alejandra Marqués, Time Management and Planning Mentor
  3. Not to take anything for granted. Bracha Goetz Author of 38 children’s books
  4. In August 2020 I quit drinking alcohol. I only intended it as a one month experiment, but it unexpectedly stuck and life seems infinitely better. I just enjoyed an alcohol-free Christmas, something that would have been unimaginable not long ago. I fully intend to find out what other positive surprises await by sticking with this big life change! Ben Taylor, professional blogger, 
  5. 2020 taught me to execute ideas quickly because time passes fast. When the pandemic started, I was able to raise funds and launch One Doctor, an idea I had kept with me for many years. It suddenly made me realize what we could achieve if we had no excuses. Dr.Omiete Charles-Davies of, a health app for finding doctors near you.
  6. 2020 was very effective at teaching me that not having a clear routine and schedule is a bad choice for me. When you’re self-isolating at home, work, play, and time sort of melts together. I knew that it had to stop, so I created a designated work-area in my apartment, a place for relaxing, and used my bed only for sleeping (no scrolling out in the morning or at night). Paw Markus.
  7. The days of going to the gym after work at 5:30 pm are over. This is the time the gym is most crowded. More people are using all of the equipment which makes it difficult to get an efficient workout done and it increases potential exposure to germs/viruses. I have been going to the gym from 6 am-6:45 am and there are very few in the gym at this time. It’s great because I have my pick at the machines as well as decrease the risk of exposure to someone that is sick. Luke Smith, founder of “We Buy Property In Kentucky
  8. I started my blog in 2020 and that was the highlight of last year. Therefore I hate 2020 a little bit less than everyone else. One mistake that I did was rushed things. For example, I rushed to launch my products without proper research. That made me realize that in 2021 I am going to carefully observe things and then going to take action. Ekta Swarnkar, blogger at Tia Says.
  9. My most sobering lesson is not to take anything and most importantly ANYONE for granted. The restrictions on social interaction and travel have meant that we have all spent less time with loved ones than we would normally have liked to do. This has been particularly hard when those loved ones have been most at risk from the virus, the elderly, and other vulnerable people. My young sons have two sets of elderly grandparents. And the separation from them has been tough on us all. Thankfully, everyone is still around, and with the end of the pandemic within viewing distance, what I won’t be carrying into 2021 and thereafter is putting off visits and time spent with them. From now on, a priority will be making up for the lost time of the last year – no more taking for granted that we will all always be here. Leo Young, Optimized Family
  10. 2020 is not a year most of us want to repeat. One of the lessons I’ve learned is where there is a will, there is a way! At least as far as the versatility, adaptability, and capacity of conducting our lives online are concerned. What I won’t be taking with me into 2021 is any belief that we are limited in our technology and how to use it to our benefit. Two examples being how much of our day-to-day lives were moved successfully online. And just how quickly science and technology developed the vaccines. Tim Robertson Founder of inVPN.
  11. I don’t have to have my life 100% scheduled. At the beginning of the COVID lockdown, I was excited to have some more time to explore some new hobbies and also really focus on my business. However, I soon felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself to be productive and I almost burnt out. I realized that I can give myself permission to just step back and say “not now.” Sometimes I need a mental health day where I can just zone out and take the pressure off. The next morning I wake up refreshed and focus much better, whether I’m exploring personal or professional pursuits. Lisa Sanchez, Fashion Editor, The Nines
  12.  I don’t have to bowl alone. Even though 2021 still started in isolation, I don’t have to be by myself. I downloaded the Marco Polo app, so I can keep in touch with friends and family with video messages. I’m also going to schedule more virtual dinner dates and maybe the occasional trivia or crafting night so I can have more real-time human interaction. – Lisa Sanchez, Fashion Editor, The Nines
  13. I will try to do more with my money. Rather than have money-collecting pennies in a checking account, I’m going to be a little more active and test out investing. With apps like Robinhood, I can dip a toe into the stock market. I look forward to doing research and being a little more adventurous. – Lisa Sanchez, Fashion Editor, The Nines
  14. 2020 was a year of…well…a lot! 2020 was so much all at once: so many tragedies, but also so much hope. We’ve all got some 2020 whiplash. It was hard to focus on our goals among all the goings-on, which is why in 2021 I’m leaving overwhelm in the rearview mirror and taking the road less traveled by choosing one unthinkable goal to focus on in 2021. I’m choosing constraints in my goal setting this year so that I can get in touch with my CEO Brain (aka the pre-frontal cortex) where my long-term deepest desires reside. Listening to my CEO Brain is key to achieving my one unthinkable goal. Give it a try: ask your “What ONE result do I want to have in my life on 12/31/21?” Don’t let your brain take a nap and tell you “I don’t know.” If your primitive brain (I call it my Puppy Brain) starts freaking out, that’s okay. Just notice it with love and compassion, and let it ride shotgun. Put your prefrontal cortex, AKA your CEO brain, in the driver’s seat and start building massive self-confidence. You got this! You are ready for 2021. Sarah Moody Coaching
  15. The lesson I learned from 2020 was not to doubt a life-changing decision once it’s made. Before the pandemic kicked in, I had decided to become a stay-at-home dad and develop my dad’s blog and my parenting website Like all reasonably thinking people, such a career was not taken lightly – but within weeks of the seriousness of the Covid-19 becoming clear, it turned out to be the best move I had ever made, albeit unwittingly timely. I was already at home – and working remotely – so disruption to my family’s routine and lifestyle was minimal, and of course, I was where I wanted to be at the time I needed to be there. Meanwhile, friends and ex-colleagues had their lives turned upside down by restrictions and lockdowns affecting work and play, and of course finances. So what I’ve learned from 2020, is NOT to go back to the normal office-based 9 to 5 routine. Dave Pedley
  16. One lesson I learned not to do in 2021 is to be complacent with marketing efforts. This is why I’m investing heavily in marketing this year to get my business going despite the challenges of the pandemic. I’ve realized that not even the pandemic should discourage us from pursuing our business goals. Therefore, some of my top objectives include More social media activities to drive target audiences to our website. Employ content marketing strategies to accelerate lead management. Expand brand offerings to capture more demand from future markets. Matt Satell, CEO of Prime Mailboxes
  17. First, I learned not to be so quick to judge. I’ve tried in the past to be more aware of others and their situations in life, but 2020 opened my eyes more. Both from a racial standpoint and a financial one, we all need to have more compassion for each other. You never know what someone else is going through in life and many times if you have a bad experience with someone, it isn’t personal. Many times they are struggling with something, or you are struggling with something. And in both cases, you take your anger/frustration out on the other person. Don Dulin
  18. In 2020 I learned the idea that I needed to take time to invest in every friendship I had developed in the past was false. Rather for 2021, I will spend my time investing in fewer friendships with those that reinvest in me. Meaning that I will give my time to those who mutually respect it and give back to me. We are not required or responsible to maintain relationships that are no longer positively serving us. Kate Steiner, Ph.D. , Founder, CEO, Coach, Facilitator LIFT Wellness Consulting, LLC
  19. I know that this may come across as cheesy, but I’d like to share this because it’s my truth! The greatest lesson that I learned in 2020 to NOT take with me in 2021 is my tendency to judge people. 2020 was a rough year and one in which I learned to be more empathetic, to care more, and to make a genuine effort to understand the point of view that others have. In 2021 and beyond, I want to be someone who listens and cares. Pedro Carrion, Easy Kitchen Appliances and Easy Backyards
  20. I’m feeling pretty grateful that I am letting COVID be the catalyst to turn more of my visions into reality, prioritize what matters most, and set things up for future sustainability. One of the things I learned NOT to do in 2020 (that I’m not taking into 2021) is to expect mentors, colleagues, and peers to ‘proofread’ my vision (essentially asking for permission, validation, and approval to build the business I want.) Life is short and there are no guarantees. If anything, 2020 has taught us that. Melissa Slawsky, Branding & Business Performance Strategist
  21. In 2020 I learned not to depend on going to the gym to accomplish my fitness goals. When the pandemic and shutdowns first started, I was devastated knowing that I wouldn’t be able to go to the gym anymore. Fast forward a few months and not only was I working out from home, but I found that I had more free time, better results, and overall just a better outlook on fitness. By eliminating the stress and hassle associated with driving to and from the gym every day, abiding by the gym’s set hours, dealing with others, etc., I was able to gain so much more freedom in my routine and schedule. So you can bet I will NOT be going to the gym in 2021. Tami Smith, I’m a certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Healthy Momma.

This feature was submitted by Elle Clarke

Elle Clarke is the CEO of ECM Global and the Founder of I AM QUEEN Magazine. Elle’s mission is to help leaders amplify their message to the masses.