Our freedom has been restricted and anxiety increased since the pandemic began. However, we are blessed with necessities such as shelter, food, and health. Looking at a positive perspective, it provides us the privilege to enjoy the shift of natural environment and away from our routine obligations. Zen Habits referred to the situation as “The New Normal”.
According to Zen Habits, we have been given choices to make; either to resist this new change or take it as an opportunity for personal growth? Being an optimistic young lady, I chose the latter.
How to be productive during lockdown in 6 steps
1. Stretching and meditating
Be present, be alert of your surrounding for just a few minutes. Imagine your biggest dream in life to gives out a positive vibe in the morning. Take this opportunity to get to know the real you (what do you like to spend time on, things or activities that inspired you, how you deal with the situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, or comes up with solutions for your past mistakes to be the better you) You don’t have to list them on a paper. Just imagine. Let your mind wander.
Staying at home has been quite a challenge but I’m grateful. I took the time to slowly ponder about my future and discover my interests. Many have been busy filling up their minds with work responsibilities or assignments. Thus, giving them a slim chance to wander around.
2. Plan things to do and make sure to prioritize.
Prioritize things during the morning. You will be less likely to be distracted and fully utilize your focus and energy
Do not get frustrated or demotivated because of not following the plan. We are human beings and may not always do according to plan which is okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody cherishes you better than yourself. Don’t do it for the sake of doing it. Enjoy and appreciate every little moment of things you do.
3. Fix a period for every activity (an hour per activity).
Placing too much time on one activity reduces anticipation of doing the same routine in the future.
I tend to force myself just to get things done despite long hours of doing the same stuff which resulted badly. I felt frustrated. Now, I left it aside once it past fixed time and did something else such as cleaning the house. It makes you feel you have accomplished something. Moreover, clean space provides a better environment for productivity! Killing two birds with one stone
4. Categorize them in three aspects: career, relationship, and self
Do not put too much focus on one aspect and neglect others. For instance, being too immersed in a career may lead to identifying work as an identity that resulted in unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment in life.
I place one or two activities in each aspect a day. I would do some journaling and reading articles/blogs regarding my career. Spending time to video call my parents and having dinner with my brother, his girlfriend, and her sisters. Meditating and workout are for the ‘Me’ time. In this way, a balanced lifestyle and identity that aligned with values will be built.
It increases knowledge and literacy. I know it’s boring but try to read interesting topics which may trigger your curiosity. Again, I will emphasize don’t do it because you have to. Enjoy the moment of reading. It is tempting to just watch Netflix and chill after long hours of working from home. Trust me, spend an hour or 45 minutes to read whenever you’re free. Preferably a physical book rather than e-books because you could get distracted by swiping to other apps using handheld devices. However, if you couldn’t get physical books because you don’t read or your nearest public library is temporarily closed and you have the urge to read and be productive. Similar to my current situation, you have no choice but to read an e-book.
Free E-book site (Five free downloads per month once you signed up)
6. Keep away from your handheld devices right after you awake and before you sleep at least an hour
There’s no doubt smartphone has become an inseparable part of our daily life and we are heavily dependent on them. Therefore, set a fixed time using technologies (television/laptops/tablets/smart phones).
I have set fixed screen time on my smartphone to control the screen time and try my best to keep my phone away an hour before I sleep and after I wake up. In the beginning, it was hard for me to adjust to this new habit because the temptation of touching the phone is high. Hence, I focus on doing things that I find relaxing such as journaling, workout, and cleaning. Before I realised, my screen time has reduced dramatically.
Those are the six steps I have been practicing ever since I live away from my parents. In my opinion, the most crucial step is to be consistent. Consistency and Persistence are the main factors to make these steps into your new habits. You will be surprised how it changes your life.