Blog Mental

Should you ignore productivity during the lockdown?


How’s the mass productiveness of your life/household taking shape?

If it’s anything like mine, not very well. My wife and I had great plans at the start of the lockdown. We’ll do this, then we’ll do this and get that and that done. We made a plan and some of it happened for a few days.  I was buoyed by the thought of being at home all day and having the opportunity to pick up things I’d been working on or start/reignite a new hobby or project.

It’s not worked out like that though. We fell into a routine of work, dinner, walk, film and bed on a weekday.  Then exercise, breakfast, food shopping, virtual drinks with friends and bed at the weekend.

I’ve written several blog posts for both this site and my Where to Run in London site. I even wrote a post about using your lockdown time! I did a couple of Polish lessons (the language, not the furniture restoration technique).  Many of my grand plans have not come to fruition. I feel guilty about it and a bit of a failure. Aside – for those homeschooling kids – I believe it doesn’t leave much time or energy to do anything else.

Go easy on yourself

As we enter Week 5 (I think) of lockdown here in the UK, I’ve reconsidered this guilt and I’m not going to be too hard on myself.

Thinking about it – the reason you didn’t do that thing on the list in the first place, is that you probably didn’t want to do it anyway. This is definitely true for some of the things on my list. Some things like learning Polish are hard, but are a necessity.

The other point is – we don’t know how long this thing is going to last. Without the end date, it’s hard to mentally prepare yourself for what might happen in the future. On top of this, the world might well have already changed.  Will it return to how it once was? Is social distancing is already an ingrained habit? Will I even return to work in an office? Have I already dropped many of the superfluous things in my life that will not return? Will my new habits I’ve built last into the new future?

As dreadful as the Coronavirus outbreak has been, some good has appeared. The community spirit, the innovation, the appreciation for the NHS, health workers, delivery drivers, warehouse staff, supermarket staff, the utility company teams on the ground and many others. Carbon footprints are minimal. I’ve spoken to my parents more in the last month than many months during the last 20 years added together.

The future and now

Maybe most of all, appreciating what you have and what’s important is a major upshot. Are you going to miss that call to your parents in the future? Are you going to miss your friend’s birthday drinks? Alternatively, are you going to say “No” to those redundant things in your life that don’t provide joy and value? I hope these good things are not forgotten and that life doesn’t just revert back to “normal” and the benefits are buried.

The important thing you can do is to look after the physical and psychological wellbeing of yourself and those around you, be it family or friends. Relationships are the most important thing right now.

Here’s a few things to avoid and help along the way.

  1. Comparison – as in Pre-Corona Life, steer clear of comparison with others. It’s the “thief of joy”. Others are on their journey. Be on yours.
  2. Lower your expectations – forgive yourself a little idleness.
  3. Take it slow – we could be in this situation for some time.
  4. Daily Routine – stay with it, especially exercise. Routine and exercise are helpful in these troubling times.
  5. Weekly schedule – the same as above, especially with the exercise side of things.
  6. Make it Sustainable – whatever routines, schedules and plans you’re making, make sure you can keep them up. See Point 2 and 3 above.
  7. Consistency – My “Do something every day” post still stands, even though it was written Pre-Corona. Some of the daily and weekly habits you make now (whatever they are) could last well into the future.
  8. Remember the two day rule “Don’t miss twice”.

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