6 Tips For Pandemic Productivity ????
I cannot be alone in feeling as if the start of lockdown became a productivity contest with who could share the most home workouts, bake the best banana bread and bend the rules to go on 12 walks in one afternoon, start writing a book then take a second language course later that day.
In reality, rather than being motivated by the excessive achievements of others and striving to do more ourselves, the opposite can happen as we feel we aren’t ever doing ‘enough’. Stress literally drains your energy resources so it’s natural to have a little less oomph amongst the same-ness, cancelled plans and isolation.
Having come out the other side of my brief ‘funk’ I want to share how I’ve managed to get my own productivity back up, getting the most out of each day without burning out.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
I’ve read a lot about the various ‘ways of working’ and thought I’d trial one of the simplest methods that even has over ten dedicated apps to make the timings even easier.
You work for 25 minutes and break for 5 minutes before a long break after four rounds. I find I get more tasks done by trying to fit them into each 25 minute block or two and can postpone responding to any emails or texts until the break.
2. Working with your own body clock
Late night powerhouse or up before the sun? Granted, meetings tend to fall between 9 and 5 but if you have the opportunity – why not try working with your own focus levels?
I have so much more energy in the morning until about 1pm so started trialling a super early start which means I can finish client work between 1pm and 2pm then have the afternoon to myself or to take calls while energy is low and my work wouldn’t be at its best. Productivity hack achieved.
3. Get a dog (or borrow someone else’s)
Following from the afternoon energy dips – it is extremely common to get the infamous after lunch slump. A perfect time to get outside for a quick run or walk with a four legged friend. I used Borrow My Doggy to source a really wonderful Alsatian just down the road that needs a lunchtime stroll just as much as me.
Pets are also proven to reduce workplace stress so if this is a serious consideration and you’d be able to provide ample care should you need to return to the office then I’d highly recommend the RSPCA – I’m an acting hospice for a terminally ill foster cat and the company makes all the difference!
Talking to psychologist Emma Garrick, the best way to change your emotional state instantly is to change your physical state. I like to do handstands in various rooms of the house to get the blood literally flowing to my brain in a creative block.
You don’t need to be an acrobat this could also simply be a quick hot or cold shower, spritzing a perfume, lighting candles, a cold compress, a five minute wander in the rain or simply standing outside.
5. Block time out for literally nothing
Caught up in the pandemic productivity palaver I coped through rigorous scheduling and hobby acquisition – taking on more work, online yoga classes and ‘zoom quizzes’ than ever before. Needless to say this quickly ended in a harsh burnout I wouldn’t even wish on my neighbours relentless barking staffie.
The way I’ve managed the need to constantly ‘do’ is by scheduling time to ‘be’. I block out an afternoon and a couple of evenings a week for doing literally NOTHING. No self-development, lead generation, social scrolling or planning. Just lying there listening to audible or TED talks on outer space has been invaluable.
6. Be kind to yourself for Christs’s sake
We are in a global pandemic, it’s emotionally and financially difficult for a lot of us suffering isolation, job losses, business closures, and excess anxiety naturally uses up more brainpower leaving us increasingly exhausted. Don’t feel guilty for spending a full day in bed watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race covered in biscuit crumbs (unless you’re supposed to be working), we all need to recharge in our own way.
You don’t need to do everything or even appear to be through the watchful lense of Instagram stories, nobody actually cares how many sourdough loaves have gone through your kitchen since March. Mine would be one hideous attempt nobody on the Internet needs to see.
Recognise we are human beings, not human doings.
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