When the country shut down because of the coronavirus now known as COVID-19, many of us were forced to shut down as well. Instead of going to work every day, we were told to stay home. Our mile-long to-do lists were instantly put on hold as life as we knew it suddenly ceased to exist.
Even though some areas are starting to reopen, the process is going to be slow. Then there are the areas still seeing too many confirmed coronavirus cases and, sadly, COVID-19 related deaths, to begin this process at all. This means that you’re going to be on hold for quite some time.
The question is: how do we stay productive when we continue to be told to hunker down? How do continue to move forward when we are asked to stop dead in our tracks? Fortunately, there are a few options.
Develop a routine. One of the worst things you can do for your productivity is to “wing it.” When you don’t have a daily routine, it’s incredibly easy to put things off until tomorrow, almost ensuring that they never get done. You don’t necessarily have to be super rigid with your time during the pandemic, but getting up at the same time every day and having dedicated productivity hours is a great place to start.
Limit your media time. Most of us are already aware that it’s easy to let our time on social media get away from us. The same can happen with other types of media as well. Maybe you’re spending a large portion of your day watching news broadcasts or binging on Netflix. While these types of media are okay in moderation, you’ll get more done if you make it a point to limit your time.
Set daily and weekly goals. If you don’t want to lose the traction you had pre-pandemic—or, better yet, want to emerge from coronavirus in a better position than when it began—set both daily and weekly goals. This motivates you to take the steps needed to get where you want to be. It also reduces the likelihood that you’ll spend your days sitting around feeling lost.
Take online classes. Some people are able to continue to work full-time through COVID-19 restrictions. If you are not, use the time that is now available to you to pick up a new skill. There are several online platforms that offer trainings, some of them at no cost. For example, Coursera offers more than 1,500 free classes in most any topic you can imagine.
Help others. Your to-do list can only be so long when you’re facing multiple restrictions about what you can and can’t do. Once you’ve done all you can, reach out to others around you and see if they need help with something (while continuing to honor social distancing guidelines, of course). Helping others makes you feel good, which makes it even easier to continue to stay productive, despite the coronavirus.