By Liesl Pretorius

Track My Mayor maintains a database of South African mayors’ promises to assist overstretched newsrooms in keeping track of what was promised and when promises are due. It distinguishes itself from other promise trackers in that it aims to achieve scale by helping journalists do their jobs.

“Understand that this is a marathon. If you sprint at the beginning, you will vomit on your shoes by the end of the month.”

This advice from Aisha Ahmad, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, has helped me navigate the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic and South Africa’s lockdown while juggling an increased workload and getting Track My Mayor off the ground.

“Emotionally prepare for this crisis to continue for 12 to 18 months, followed by a slow recovery,” writes Ahmad. “If it ends sooner, be pleasantly surprised. Right now, work toward establishing your serenity, productivity, and wellness under sustained disaster conditions.”

Once I ignored the “productivity porn” on social media and accepted an extended lockdown as the new normal, things got easier.

And now I’m starting to see the benefits of having fewer distractions.

I’ve been wrestling with Track My Mayor’s funding model for some time. This past week, I settled on a model that will ensure its sustainability. Without the noise and clutter of life before social distancing, it was suddenly clear as day.

Here’s to the long game.

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