2 Apr 2020 | 4 min read
7 Ways to Stay Productive During Lockdown
It’s no secret COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we function. From simple activities like going to the grocery store, to working remotely, everyday life looks vastly different from what it did even one month ago. Life has changed. And employees in nonprofits, churches, small businesses, and social organizations are feeling the effects. The hit impacting business right now is one of the reasons we’re introducing the Volunteer U Library. A collection of the best free resources and videos from across the web to help any organization thrive. These tools improve everything from graphics to office life, leadership development to public relations, team management to communication. We’ll be adding to the library over the next few weeks, but for now, check out over 50 free resources you can start implementing in your business today.
In the meantime, here are seven ways to stay productive during the lockdown.
#1 Manage your time.
We can all agree time is our most precious commodity. And during this interval spent indoors and social distancing, time has been at the forefront of our minds more than ever before. Whether your sleep schedule was off by the hours spent in your home, or you are searching for ways to keep young children busy during the day, time has become a real factor.
One way to keep productive and not flounder around is by taking control. We are out of the power of a lot of things during this pandemic, but how we spend our time is something we can still influence.
I’ve been using Toggl, a time tracking app that allows you to capture the amount of time you spend on each activity and sort it by project or client. It’s a life savor for freelancers and small business owners, but it can help anyone monitor how much time they spend on each project. There are a ton of other free time management apps out there like Rescue Time and Clockify (to name a few). Find what works for you and take control of what you can.
#2 Take Breaks
It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but this has been my saving grace for the last three weeks. We are currently experiencing something that no one has ever been through before. The stress and pressure are real. We all have stepped into a ton of new roles, seemingly overnight. People are now working from home, teaching their children, practicing social distancing, reaching clients from their home, sanitizing everything, and learning to use new technology to keep up. It’s a lot.
Permit yourself to walk away from everything for a few minutes and take a breather. Step away from your laptop, take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes, and if you can, walk outside for a few moments. Science proves that taking several short mental breaks throughout your day can vastly improve your overall productivity.
#3 Write it down
Research has shown that writing down your to-do list can reduce the burden on your brain. If you want to operate at your most productive level, try writing out your daily task list and keeping it by your laptop while you work.
It serves two purposes. First, it can keep you on track and stop you from spending too much time on unnecessary items. Secondly, it helps you feel more accomplished as you gradually cross off items and move to the next assignment.
#4 Block out your schedule
Many of us have lost our routine, and that can lead to feelings of being unsettled or floundering. Your new program may be overwhelming because of all the uncertainty, but that is precisely why you need to create as much structure as possible.
Whether it’s digital or hand-drawn, put up a calendar, and stick to it. We’ve heard of some families scheduling a consistent dinner and a game every night at the same time. It’s a great idea because it creates a sense of familiarity and structure during a time when there is so much newness, and things are up in the air. Having programmed events will bring normalcy to your day and develop feelings of safety within your home – especially among your children. According to RaisingChildren.net, an organized and predictable home environment brings security to children and teens, particularly during stressful times.
#5 Take care of yourself
A healthy brain is a productive brain. To operate at your best despite all the external stress pounding your body, you need to take care of yourself.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Try to maintain a healthy diet. Skip munching on eating chips and cookies while you are sitting in front of your laptop working from home. Make sure you take the time to walk around or move every hour. And attempt to incorporate a workout regimen into your schedule. Scientifically speaking, consistently exercising can increase brain function, which in turn helps with vital skills such as focus, thinking, memory, and concentration.
#6 Set achievable daily goals
Setting goals is nothing new in productivity research, but as more of us spend time in isolation, it’s going to be essential to set goals we can actually deliver.
According to The Science of People, “Not all goals are created equal. Merely fantasizing about your goal is de-motivating – it actually tricks the brain into thinking you already have achieved it. Goals that aren’t set up properly can end up having the opposite effect.”
As we work from home, learn new technology, experience new distractions, and deal with the loss of constant social interaction, we need to be realistic about what we plan to accomplish. Make sure you think your goals through and set up tasks that you know you can get done.
#7 Celebrate small wins
As more of our lives are spent online in a virtual world, the more we may begin to feel a sensation of unreality. That feeling of things not being quite real or lacking weight can lead to a sense of unproductivity.
It’s important to celebrate small wins. The power of progress is fundamental to human nature. As you cross off your daily task list, take a few heartbeats to cheer yourself on for knocking out those goals. Whether that celebration involves a piece of candy, watching a funny video on YouTube, or sharing the success with a coworker or friend, take the time to do it.
Stay focused. Stay productive. Stay on mission. We’ve got this.