Productivity, a usual strength of mine. Something I would have once put into the “ I can do this shit with no effort” category.
But, this week, it has been a struggle, I’m sure you’re feeling it too. Maybe it’s because the stay-in-place order has been extended, ( I fully support this as a necessary means, just hard to swallow in regards to the secondary effect of my day-to-day), or maybe the monotony of the days are starting to get to me.
Somehow, the days all blur together. They simultaneously feel endless, and fast. How do they accomplish such a feat? That’s a question for another day.
But, let me tell you today has not been my day. While I got all “mandatory” tasks done for work and life, my productivity was stalling. Every new task I started felt insurmountable and fizzled after 15 minutes of placid effort.
So, I’ve actually had this post in my back pocket for a while… Because productivity (both maximum efforts and lack thereof) can be the crux of quarantine.
It’s easy to say, I deserve a vacation, I’ve worked so hard, let me enjoy the simpler things. And, if that’s what you’ve been doing- great, go for it.
But, for me, the thought of relaxing for that many days in a row is like a bad nightmare creeping in on me, so instead, I just stay busy… Note I said busy, not productive.
To be honest, I’m not sure anything I’m doing is the “right” move or the most productive for ROI.
Maybe it’s worse that I’m expelling so much energy with an outcome marked “ to be determined”.
But, I think most businesses feel that way. Do we re-open? Do we take an opportunity given to us? Do we sell to our consumers?
And, as influencers, do we show the nitty-gritty content or accept our engagement rates will be all over the place this month and resign to keeping up appearances. Or, maybe like me, we skirt both lines. Like a child who wants both vanilla and chocolate, only to find them melted together in an underwhelming flavor cleverly unnamed (because no one wants indiscernible flavors that don’t pack a punch or know what side of the line they stand).
In the process of finding what you, the reader wants, I’ve done tons of research on what my fellow industry people are presenting. And, while you may note this post is actually a flier, having no scientific backing behind and probably no reason to be written. Again, busy but maybe not productive.
But, the industry and the world is split. And not a hard line split, like you choose a side and then you’re done. But like a small crack, that everyone keeps jumping from one side to the other, akin to a perilous hop-scotch.
What do I mean? I mean what are we supposed to be creating in a time of crisis? Isn’t that when magical, life-altering ideas are supposed to come to life? We all have the time, shouldn’t we be EXTRA—- something?
But instead, myself included, we flip back and forth from “business as usual” to “crisis response”.
There isn’t an answer to what strategy is “right” or more appropriate. There isn’t really even a point to this article, but please keep reading anyway.
Instead, I think our productive efforts will have clarity after this has been relegated to a more distant memory. When we can sit and evaluate the impact of our flighty choices re: business and life.
So I can’t tell you that watching tv for weeks on end and baking sourdough is the wrong choice, and I can’t say continuing to work 10 hours a day is the right one.
Perhaps the person relaxing will come back to work with so much creativity and pent up enthusiasm that they will have a breakthrough moment.
Or perhaps the dedicated overachiever will find their efforts paled in the larger scope of things.
The only reality is, this is a weird time. One spent overanalyzing produce consumption, constant conservation of interaction, and a weird mix of both the most amazingly generous human beings and the most idiotic.
So to get a little clarity, I made a nifty little goal sheet. I’m a perfectionist by nature and I like to have some order to my experiences.
Maybe this will help you too.
( you can save as by right-clicking on the image, or just sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send the image directly to you)
But, if that falls too far along the line of quarantine productivity, feel free to pass.
So do we need to be productive during quarantine?
I think there is a better question to answer and that is: what will make us survive this with a positive and healthy mind and body? So before you go baking bread, or watching tv that has been on your dvr for months….
What do you need to make yourself feel happy?
If its work- go for it. If its a new hobby- try some out. Figure out what will serve your best self each day and do it.
Personally, I can’t take that many days off, it stresses me out. But, without any friendly excursions to look forward to, I’ve found myself looking for other “breaks” in my workday.
These things have helped me:
(some links are affiliate, for full policy click here)
Reading, you can find my book list here.
Man Repeller Thoughtline. If no one else texts me, at least I get daily texts from Man Repeller.
Productivity is a dangerous word. There are tons of people who expel almost no effort and have an extremely high return. While others work so hard and pale to find the same results because they don’t work smart.
So let’s not think of quarantine as productive or not productive. Instead, let’s imagine that we are in battery-conserving mode. Focus on what needs to be done to preserve yourself, and let the background extras be on mute.
Quarantine = preservation.
Pin this to share that productivity in quarantine is a myth.