I know for me the idea of being super productive is really just an idea on most days. The reality is that my days ebb and flow. As someone who is used to being busy and constantly wishing for more time to do all of the things, having more time and being less productive has been a little unsettling for me. But what I have realized is that I am not alone. Apparently even the idea of expecting yourself or others to be overly productive right now can sound off putting.
However, in my writing class the other day a fellow writing student asked our instructor how to deal with a lack of productivity when it comes to writing. This made me realize that while all the memes are telling us what we don’t have to do, there are others like myself who are looking for tips to help them balance their productivity in the midst of this pandemic.
Surprisingly my instructor’s answer about sticking with your writing routine was similar to the same one I gave on goal setting in my book: “Break it into smaller bite sized chunks.” he said. And while my how to eat an elephant reference in Single Mom Chic hinged on the idea that not having enough time to eat the elephant meant we needed to devour it bit by bit, having too much time can also be like eating an enormous elephant. Here are a few tips to help you if you indeed want to be more productive or want to find a way to balance your productivity too.
As a side note I do want to add that there is nothing wrong with not creating, organizing or doing anything that you don’t want to do right now. The memes are right- this post is about leaning into doing a little more of what brings you joy, not about adding more anxiety or stress to your quarantine life. If you’re on the I would like to lean in a little more end of things here are a few tips that have helped me balance my productivity:
Create a new morning routine– for most of us sticking with our same morning routine may prove challenging, so create a new one. I always start my day with gratitude, hydration and a cup of jo, followed by a few minutes of reading and then a quick check in on what’s happening in the world. I also, wait for it…change out of my pj’s. Having a bit of a routine even when it isn’t tied to what time you need to leave the house gives you a little structure/comfort in the midst of uncertainty and it creates an environment that supports the idea of getting things done. Which brings me to tip number 2.
Use a planner or a to-do list– I have to admit for the first two weeks I didn’t even know where my planner was. As someone who back in my working in the office days lived by a planner and always started my work days by making my lists of things that needed to be done, not using one seemed foreign- but using one seemed unnecessary. Why did I need a to-do list if I could do whatever I wanted? The problem I ran into was that I wasn’t doing some things that I needed to do. And if i’m really getting real I wasn’t doing some of the things I thought I wanted to do either. Sure my closets were organized, but what about that letter of recommendation I was supposed to write or that book I had been meaning to read? Now to be fair my to-do list doesn’t look the way it used to. There aren’t clothes to pick up from the cleaners or a multitude of other errands that need to be run but I do write down two or three things a day that I would like to accomplish. Showing up each day and writing in my planner helps me manage my time better, and speaking of time let’s talk about number 3.
Block your time– gone are the days where I would work all day balancing both my school counseling job with my content creating duties with set reminders for breaks. I am still working on both of those things passionately but it looks very different. I block my time so that I am working for shorter periods of time but with specific goals in mind. In other words I am eating the elephant in small bites with lots of time in between to manage my own discomfort around the things going on that I can’t control. I am making sure that I allow myself time to do things like: nothing (also known as rest), binge watching a show, and of course doing number 4…
Move your body– I think the biggest saving grace for me during this quarantine, besides actually being quarantined with a couple of people I happen to like spending time with, is that I am able to get moving- which is an instant mood lifter. When I am feeling sluggish a quick walk around my neighborhood, a run or a little yoga (I use the Peloton app that I hear is now free for 90 days) instantly offers me a pick me up and it makes me feel a little better about indulging in all of those yummy quarantine snacks.
So, those are my tips for balancing productivity during the pandemic. I would love to hear what you’re doing to balance your productivity too.
Until Next Post,
Xo Tonya Parker