With everything that’s going on right now I wanted to make the blog this week something that can apply to the situation. A lot of us are finding that we have a lot more free time for the next week or so all of a sudden. I’ve noticed two initial reactions to this being either “I’m stuck at home for 2 weeks! What am I going to do?”, or “This will be a great time to get stuff done around the house, and get stuff done I’ve been putting off.” Both totally normal reactions, and more than likely everyone will flip back and forth from one to the other several times. I want to help give some advice for how to make the most out of this mild “quarantine” we find ourselves in, but also things that can be great habits in ordinary daily life also.
The thought of being productive in a day is a great one, but the problem is there’s about 12 streaming services and 20 social media platforms that tend to get in the way. Combine those things with them feeling like the only interaction you can have with the outside world and the fact that humans are very easily distracted, and suddenly you find yourself in a group chat about the 3 seasons of the new show you just binged on Netflix.
The first thing you have to establish is what you’re going to consider “being productive” for the day. Perhaps you are totally off work, working from home, or it’s the weekend, so in all these cases, and from day to day, what constitutes productivity is different. Taking time the night before or in the morning while you’re sitting down with your coffee to plot out the tasks you want to accomplish for that day is hugely helpful. Also, you need to write them down. It says something about the human brain with how satisfying crossing something off a list is, and you should use that to your advantage.
Now that you have a list simply start doing the stuff on it and don’t stop. It’s that last part, not stopping, that I can’t stress enough. It’s Newton’s first law of motion, “An object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will remain at rest; unless acted upon by an external source.” That may be physics, but I relate it to people constantly. For example; dishes aren’t hard to do, you can probably do them in 10 minutes even if you don’t have a dishwasher to put them in, but you will almost certainly sit on the couch for an hour before you finally get up and do them. Perhaps you’re working from home now and you have to get an online presentation ready for work. You can probably knock it out in an hour, but uh-oh, your phone just went off (external source). Now you’ve wasted the same hour of time scrolling through Instagram after you replied to a text for fifteen seconds.
Obviously it’s not realistic for me to say ignore the world for 5 hours straight, but you can for 45 minutes. So set a timer on your phone and put it in the other room while you get done what you wanted to. If you’re somebody that easily falls down a rabbit hole on your phone too, most devices have a way to limit your screen time on any given app. This will tell you when you’ve hit your limit for that day or time period, and can be your cue to go check off the next task on your list.