With social distancing, it’s easy to start neglecting yourself and your everyday tasks. The kitchen is fully stocked with snacks, Netflix is ready for binging, and everything just seems so… dull without anywhere to go. I definitely have felt that way for the past few days, and I definitely also saw myself slipping into an unhealthy routine of simply working, eating, sleeping, and watching TV. So I am making this post to inspire me just as much as I hope it inspires you. Let’s be productive together!
1. Set limits when working.
– Mokokoma Mokhonoana
The wise rest at least as hard as they work.
One of the issues I’ve been facing is that I’ve been working overtime since I keep my work laptop on at all times. My colleagues send me this or that, and because I’m awful at saying no, and I’m also the personality type that can’t leave things unsolved – I end up fixing issues at night or over the weekend. Without overtime pay. So this just means I’m going through so much more stress for little to no actual satisfaction. Thus, I made it a point to set my work laptop on sleep mode after 5PM every weekday, and not log back online during weekends unless strictly necessary. In fact, many of my friends are also having the same issue as me. I have a hypothesis about it: since we are all working from the comfort of our homes, which is meant to be a relaxing zone, we haven’t quite figured out how to separate work from chill. Well, I am here to tell you: log off! You’ve worked hard for the day and deserve a break. Have some vanilla oat milk tea latte and chocolates. Call your friends or family. Kick back and relax. At least for a little while – you’ve earned it!
2. Give yourself 5 things to accomplish everyday.
– Atul Gawande
Good checklists, on the other hand are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.
For me, checklists are the most effective method to organize my life. There is just something so cathartic about checking things off as I go about my day. During this current time period, when my mind was fogged up with stress, lethargy, and a complete sense of unease, I decided to give myself five things to do everyday. Five things to accomplish – five goals. They needn’t be incredible lofty things either. In fact, a majority of my to-dos consists of: meal prep, laundry, clean, vacuum. Very simple day-to-day things that may even seem redundant to write down, but by completing them and checking them off, I feel motivated, productive, and energized. As a bonus, I even have a clean apartment! It may seem slightly transient, but I think we all need a bit of a boost and some encouragement. Over time, you may develop habits from the repetition of checklist items; discipline is never a bad thing. I created a free printable for that very purpose. Right click and save as the image on the left for the full-size version. Simply print it out and fill it out. I recommend sticking it to your fridge, or another easily accessible area so you know exactly where you stand each day.
3. Keep in contact with friends and family.
– Vincent van Gogh
Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.
This brings me to my last point. Keeping connected with friends and family really boosts my morale to be a better and more productive person. This point doesn’t deal with productivity directly, but rather how to cultivate it through positive energy. Anyway, most of friends/family are back home in Connecticut, so I’m honestly used to not seeing anyone physically. However, during this COVID-19 era, we’ve all become closer thanks to Discord meetups, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (lol), my more consistent presence on social media, and good ol’ texting. To the right you can see one of my Instagram stories that I whip up periodically. I like to share my creative endeavors with my friends and family, and it makes me happy when they like what I concoct. Even though we are all so far away from each other, we come up with ways to show each that we care and that we are there (and doing okay). Here are some ideas that you can try:
- Instagram story games – I love playing with Instagram story templates to make something fun/funny, and then tagging all my friends to do that same. It is an easy way to keep entertained.
- Discord movie nights – recently I watched the Season 4 finale of Boku no Hero Academia with some of my gamer friends. The animation was spectacular! Today we’re going to watch Parasite since it was just released on Hulu.
- Online board games – my favorite is Words With Friends. It is basically Facebook’s version of Scrabble (I’m sure most people know of it). You can improve your vocabulary and have fun simultaneously!
- Zoom mealtimes – My family and I use Zoom video chat during meal times so it feels like we are all eating together at the same table.
There you have it – my advice on how to stay productive in these turbulent times. Make sure you’re staying home, getting enough vitamins, eating well, sleeping well. If you need an ear to listen, I’m here for you.
Stay safe, everyone.