I promise I’m not going to make the coronavirus the topic of every email for the next few months lol. But right now, so much is happening so fast, that I want to offer help and support when I think I have something of value to share.
I live in New York and we got the news that our governor put the entire state on lockdown. Basically, we can go out for groceries, gas, healthcare, the vet, anything essential. The rest of the businesses are shut down.
I am fully, 100% behind that. I am super impressed in our local government for being so aggressive and proactive.
And you would think that spending more time at home would just give you more time to be productive, but it doesn’t really work that way. If anything, I am probably getting less done now than I ever did before. And I don’t have kids – so I know those of you who are parents have it a lot worse than me.
Why is it so hard to be productive? The news. Stress. Anxiety. This all takes away your ability to focus. It consumes your mind the more you absorb it. It has taken me about a week to get used to what the new way of life is going to be like for a little bit, so I have been slowly adjusting my own schedule to make sure I am still getting work done.
And I want to share those tips with you!
Tips for Staying Productive in the Middle of a Pandemic
It took me several days to figure out a routine that allowed me to stay informed without going crazy (well, crazier), and get a little work done. I am still remaining flexible and adjusting things as needed, but these tips are what has been helping me so far.
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself. This is the most important thing to remember right now. You need to give yourself a break, some grace during this time. We are all just trying our best. Try to take it easy and give yourself a break when your mind needs it. Now is not the time to be rigid and beat yourself up over not getting everything done.
Have a Plan for Getting Your News. I, like most people, spent the first few days of this pandemic just watching the news and scrolling social media. Literally HOURS spent just absorbing the same information from like 10 different news outlets. And why? I think there was some anxious part of me that felt like I was going to miss something important. That I needed to know immediately what was going on, how many new cases there were, what was being shut down. Just obsessive about it.
My poor anxious brain was in a permanent state of panic near the beginning of this week, so I knew I had to do something. I changed how I get my news. Here are a few tips I highly recommend:
- Pick ONE News Outlet – You don’t need to have CNN on the TV while watching a live press conference on NBC on your computer, and scrolling Twitter on your phone for updates. Yes, I was doing this. They are all going to give you the exact same information. Pick one way to get your news, and turn off all notifications that aren’t essential.
- Don’t Check the News in the Morning – Try to start your day positively, even if it’s just for the first 10 minutes. Don’t check your phone or turn on the news until you have gone through some sort of morning routine. Write in a journal, go for a walk, make your kids breakfast, it doesn’t matter what it is. Just try to do something good for your mental health before you start to feel the doom and gloom from the news.
- Have “No News” Time Blocks – You don’t have to work during these time blocks, but keep the news off, including avoiding any social media that is throwing Coronavirus updates at you every 5 seconds.
Use Time Blocks or a Pomodoro Timer. Yeah.. my normal work routine is basically laughing at me right now. Don’t stress yourself out because your sleep schedule is off, and you can’t seem to keep up with your normal routine. Most of us are feeling it.
Instead of trying to force it, I am kind of just working with what I have, and what I know helps me. My biggest problem right now is not being able to focus, because my thoughts are just all over the damn place. I personally am using a Pomodoro timer, since it’s only 25 minutes of work, followed by a 5-10 minute break. It’s enough of a break to help me kind of regroup, but I can still get a lot done during each 25-minute work increment if ALL I am focusing on is work.
If you have more time to work, you might prefer time blocks. This is when you choose a block of maybe 1-2 hours, where you focus on one type of work task for that time, without breaks, and just power through it. It’s an awesome way not only to get more done, but to break up your day if you have multiple tasks you need to get to.
Focus on Your MITs (most important tasks). I started focusing more on my MITs shortly before the pandemic craziness, but it has been incredibly helpful during this time. These are your most important tasks – the ones you NEED to get done. The ones you should be working on first, before you even think about anything else.
What you choose as your MITs, and how many you have each day, is completely up to you. For me, I have 3 categories of MITs:
1. Writing – The main MIT I have is writing for product launches and bonuses.
2. Brainstorming and Planning – Coming up with new bundles, outlining launches, research, product pages, etc.
3. Communication – sending out emails, responding to emails, etc.
This isn’t even close to everything I want to get done in a day, but I have to start here. And I even order my MITs each day based on priority. Typically, since I know writing takes the most focus, I do that first thing in the morning.
Get Up and Do Something Else. This last tip is for when you are struggling with focusing and concentrating on your work tasks, but you also don’t want to just sit and watch the news, or waste your time watching Netflix (it’s not always a waste of time! You need breaks too).
Typically, when I notice i am just staring at a blank screen for a while, or I keep opening the same social media sites just to scroll mindlessly, I need to get up and do something else.
It is when I get away from my computer, and find another activity. I walk my dogs, I read a book, I walk on the treadmill or do an indoor workout, I organize a cabinet. Literally anything but sit at my computer or watch the news.
You need to get your energy up with a good distraction. The change of pace does seem to work tremendously for me, so try to do this when you find yourself getting stressed or just completely unable to concentrate. When you come back to your work, I bet you will have a much better mindset.
Okay, that’s all. I’m around if you want or need to talk about anything. I am also busy working behind the scenes on my next launch, as well as some other packs that I think will be great for what everyone is dealing with right now.