How to stay productive during a pandemic

Recently I have been feeling like the endless days have been merging into one, long drag. This, of course, is a result of the current pandemic we’re in. Around this time in October, I would be attending fall fashion events, product launches, or even just going to school and meeting friends. These unprecedented times we’re in have been making it increasingly hard for me to stay productive, especially with the drastic change in my usual outdoorsy lifestyle.

That being said, it’s important to know that it’s totally okay to not be okay during a global pandemic! Some days it’s going to be difficult to “make the most” of all this alleged extra time we have. You don’t HAVE to start a new business or take all the professional development courses in the world to feel accomplished. Your accomplishment is described by you and not a result of competition with those around you. So I rounded up a few tips that help me stay on track these days.

1. Making a To-Do list.

There are so many apps on the market that can help you make ingenious to-do lists to stay on top of things. I find a good old pen and paper sufficient enough. The reason being the satisfaction and accomplishment I get from striking things off that list is unmatched. To add on to that, it’s nice to take a digital detox wherever possible and “paper-izing” my events and commitments for the day has drastically reduced my screen time, which ties in well with the next point.

2. Taking a break from the news

Ah, the news. In a world of social media, it is so easy to get lost in all the new stories that constantly pop up around you. However, although the news is important, I don’t see a reason why some of us need to keep up to date with it by the minute. I find that personally, having all that information at once really wears me down. I feel preoccupied with too much information and I start to think about things way too much. This makes me lose track of certain goals I had in mind for the day. So every now and then, I find that taking a break from the news is wonderful for my productivity.

3. Spending some time doing “nothing”

Sounds controversial in an article about productivity. But honestly, doing nothing is so rewarding. I spend some of my break time just starring at my plants or looking outside the window. It’s such a low effort task that I don’t have to think into it too much and it gives me a proper break. It also gets the gears rolling on certain creative ideas. But at the end of the day, taking time to do nothing is so useful, as it prepares you to do something when you’re ready to work again.

4. Separating my workspace from my bed space

This one is so important! At the start of my work from home lifestyle, I gave myself the option to sit in bed and watch my lectures or send out emails. This was awful for me since it affected my sleep hygiene a lot to associate my bed as a workspace. It also allowed me to get way too comfortable and there would be times I would doze off. Further down the line, creating a separate workspace at my table proved to be just the thing I needed to take my procrastination down a notch. I save my bed just for sleeping and my table just for times I need to work. And that has helped me get way better at the grind.

5. Taking it one day at a time

After all, we’re in a pandemic and it’s hard to know what’s going to happen the next day. As someone who used to plan things weeks in advance, doing just that these days has made it harder to stay true to my commitments. So now, I just make to-do lists for up to two days at once. This puts all my short term goals into perspective and allows me to break it down into tiny parts, thus making it more accomplishable overall. This one’s the best advice. One day at a time.