As we’re stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s normal to experience waves of emotions. You’re probably wondering how to be productive in a time like this.
And while it’s tempting to “procrasti-clean” or start (yet) another load of laundry, consider these productivity hacks that you may want to keep up with once we get through this and get back into a “new normal.”
(If these aren’t resonating right now – that’s okay too. We’re all dealing with this on a collective level and it’s okay to also just “be.”)
It’s easy to lose focus these days, and who isn’t feeling a little off? (Sanitized hand raised over here!) So while we may not have control over what’s happening all around us, we do have control over how to be productive in our daily routines.
Read on for 12 productivity hacks that top executives and business leaders use in their daily lives to maintain their productivity.
How to Be Productive During Quarantine? Here Are 12 Tried-and-True Productivity Hacks That Work:
Here’s a guide filled with the best productivity hacks that c-suite leaders use to conquer their days and be their best.
1. Set an Intention for the Day
This can be what you want the day to look like, how you want to show up, what you hope to accomplish, an outcome you hope to achieve or even one word like: calm, peace, focused. Get creative. Allow whatever comes to you to come and trust what emerges.
2. Identify Your Top Priorities That Must Happen
Now is not the time for perfectionism, keeping a mile-long list, and being a hero. Please give yourself compassion and focus on the top two to three things that need to happen.
It may just be one thing. What’s your one goal for how to be productive today? Write it down in your journal, sticky note, planner – whatever system works for you.
Keep it simple. Set micro-goals. And give yourself some slack if you’re not super efficient or productive – move it to the next day. One. Day. At. A. Time.
Consider using the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer. Focus on that one task for a set period of time. Once the timer goes off, that’s it. Come back to it later or tomorrow.
4. Take Something Off Your List
Now is not the time to play superhero. Look at your list of to-do’s for work and life.
Prioritize your top three things. Can it be handled now? Is it easy? Okay, great – do it. If not, focus on your top three things. From there, what can be delegated or moved to tomorrow? Does it need to happen now, this week, or later?
Look at what’s essential and not so much. Can you take something off? Keep prioritizing and looking for the wins in your daily and weekly schedule. And see where you can LET GO. Letting go of something nonessential right now is part of the process of how to be productive.
We’re all a bit “off our game” and it’s going to be okay. Let some things go and know that they will be there, when the time is right.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Notice what’s coming up for you and stay mindful of the one task at hand. Washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning, cooking – whatever it is.
Are you drifting off? Or are you doing it with single-pointed focus and what kind of energy are you bringing? Maybe a bit more love? Compassion? Gratitude? Perspective? What’s a shift you can make to make it meaningful right now?
Want to bring more mindfulness into your daily life? Read: How Mindfulness Actually Works + A Practice You Should Try The Next Time You’re Feeling Off
Notice how much we might be trying to “control” things right now that we ultimately can’t control. So, accept. Accept where we’re all at, collectively. Accept and breathe deeply. And allow yourself to take a full inhale and exhale.
Maybe notice when you feel frustrated or (insert emotion here) – consider a few deep inhales and exhales. And maybe a mini mantra: “I allow and accept.” And see if you can find a bit more ease in your being.
This does not mean to sugarcoat and pretend everything is fine. This is more about accepting that life is not normal and then making a conscious choice: Focusing on what you can control – your perspective, attitude, gratitude, and compassion.
Once you notice what you can control and accept the current reality, you might notice a little more peace in your day.
Need a little help? Find Peace Anytime With This Simple Pranayama Exercise
7. Bookend Your Day With Gratitude
There’s a lot going on right now. And it might seem hard to find something to be grateful for. However, gratitude consciously rewires the brain. So start a new habit of reflecting at the start and end of each day looking for a few things that you’re most grateful for.
Ask yourself: What am I grateful for today? Start your day with two to three things you’re grateful for. And then wrap your day in gratitude. What are two to three things that went well today? What am I most grateful for?
Keep perspective of how lucky and blessed we are.
Notice the little things (a healthy home-cooked meal, hugging a partner, your loving cat or dog) and keep perspective of how lucky and blessed we are to have each other, our health, and our communities right now.
You may start to notice you have so much more to be grateful for and it starts to grow in your heart. Let it pour out and consider journaling on it as well too!
8. Take Mini Breaks Like an Athlete
You wouldn’t exercise for three hours without a break, so why would you do that to your brain on a laptop working remotely? Take a tea/coffee/water/stretch break.
Take a brisk five-minute walk. Text a friend or loved one. Listen to a favorite song. Zone out. Doodle. Draw. Meditate for five minutes. Set a timer and do three minutes of sit-ups or jumping jacks to get your blood pumping.
Roll-out your yoga mat and stretch it out for five minutes. Consider taking a 20 to 30-minute power nap in the afternoon if you need it. By taking a break, you’ll come back refreshed and even more focused and ready to be productive.
9. Practice Compassion
We’re living a new “normal.” Give yourself compassion, loosen expectations of yourself and others. Are you “shoulding” yourself? Notice if/when you’re judging yourself or others.
Keep an open mind through all of this. We truly are living in unprecedented times. Give people the benefit of the doubt. We’re all doing our best. And you just don’t know what someone else might be going through.
We’re all doing our best.
Release judgement, let go of unrealistic expectations for yourself and others, and give yourself a break. You are doing your best. We all are. Keep showing up. And give yourself a little self-compassion and check-in with yourself.
Ask yourself – what is it that I need right now? It might be a hot shower, bubble bath, cup of tea, cat nap, or a long walk (while physically distancing) or maybe calling an old friend or grandparent.
When we give compassion to ourselves, it’s easier to give it generously to others. So start with yourself – what compassion can you give to yourself now?
10. Take It in Chunks
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed right now. So what to do when you feel anxiety creeping in? Easy tiger. Deep breaths. Take things in bite-sized chunks.
Ask yourself: What can I do? What’s one little thing that would be helpful right now? Do I need to make a list? Do I need to take a quick break? Call or text a loved one? Do I need to buckle down and focus? Do I need a little support or help? It’s okay to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need (people are not mind readers!).
Do what you can, but also know that it’s okay to ask for help or someone to talk to. And when you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and focus on: One. Thing. At. A. Time.
11. Have a Little Fun
Bring back playtime from being a kid. Is there a hobby or area of your life that could use a little attention? Maybe you’ve been meaning to read that book, ride your bike, work on a pet project, or listen to an uplifting podcast.
Or maybe it’s connecting virtually and reaching out to a friend. I’ve seen so many people take their coffee and happy hour dates to a virtual platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts! Or maybe it’s catching up on an online course. Or finding an old hobby or activity you used to love. Or moving your body – going for a brisk walk.
What sparks joy for you?
If you’re not sure . . . maybe this is the time to reflect – what sounds fun? See how you can bring back a little fun into your day. Laugh, watch a funny puppy or cat video. Laughter and play are the little joys in life. Keep bringing fun back into your day, especially right now.
12. Give Back
The reality is – there’s a lot of suffering happening right now in humanity. And if you can, no matter how small, giving back does a lot of good.
Maybe it’s volunteering your talents, donating to a local cause, sharing resources, donating food and paper goods, or finding a cause that you care about. It may also be doing one small thing a day or a random act of kindness.
Maybe it’s even virtually – like supporting a friend who lost their job and you know they’d be a great fit somewhere. Support each other! Kindness, compassion, and gratitude are also contagious. Plus, it feels so good to give back to others.
So many studios, yoga teachers, and small businesses are giving back. Ask yourself during this time: What gifts of time, talent, money, or resources can I share?
A rising tide lifts all boats.
Little acts of kindness and giving back can make a big impact. What’s one thing you can do to help your neighbors and community? We’re all in this together.
And don’t forget to support local small businesses. This is an unprecedented time. Consider shopping local and even a small gesture, purchase, takeout order, online class with a yoga teacher can make a huge difference. More than you know. So keep supporting small businesses and keep paying it forward.
You might be wondering how this makes you productive. Well, when you help others, you actually get the bigger positive psychological “boost.” So by giving back and helping others, you’re actually helping yourself. A rising tide lifts all boats.
The Takeaway on How to Be Productive During Quarantine With Productivity Hacks
Ultimately, we are all in this together and while you may continue “procrasti-cleaning” (and that’s okay!), this new set of productivity hacks may just give you a jumpstart on your baddest, best self, post-quarantine.
Being super productive right now feels like a tall order. However, if you’re open to using this time creatively and to experiment with new productivity hacks, you may just build new muscles, routines, and ways of being so you can be your best self and thrive, no matter what challenges life throws your way.