Productivity in the Face of Coronavirus Isolation

Monday, March 23, 2020

I've been working from home for well over a week now.  Cooped up with the kids, trying to make the best of a tough situation.  Today we started doing something that resembles homeschooling.  Sort of.  There's definitely room for improvement.

I'm finding that it's tough to loosen up my productivity ideals.  Last week I started seeing detailed, colored schedules all over the place, designed to maximize children's enrichment while home.  And, certainly, to minimize screen time.  I admire the moms who can put together something so comprehensive, and even more the moms who actually implement it successfully.  But I knew that would not, could not be me.

It was our spring break, so I didn't push much.  Instead, I put together a few daily goals, same ones for each of us while home.  You can see the sheet HERE.  It basically boils down to some categories, where each person gets to choose tasks that will satisfy the goal for each category.  Just one thing, at least, from each:

Do something for the BRAIN:  Engage your brain with something educational.  Read.  Do some brain teazers or logic puzzles.  Work a crossword or soduku.  It's a great time to write a journal.  At the end of the day, won't you feel better if you know that your stretched your brain a bit?

Do something for the BODY:  Get some exercise, move your body.  Run.  Do yoga.  Stretch.  Find an exercise video and surprise yourself with how much you can do.  Start a Couch to 5K program.  I promise you will feel better about your time at home if you spent some of it being active.

Do something CREATIVE:  Make something, work with your hands, create.  Draw.  Color.  Write poetry.  Make crafts.  Sew.  Play music.  Build something with legos.  You don't have to be skilled at this.  The point is to use your hands, direct your focus, give you an outlet and another way to channel energy and feelings

Do something for the HOME:  Clean, help out.  With more bodies in the home all day, the messes add up.  Do some laundry, fold clothes.  Wash dishes, put clean dishes away.  Sweep floors.  Straighten up messes.  It's so important to stay on top of this; we'll all feel better about time spent at home if the home is in good shape.

Find something to ORGANIZE:  Obviously, this overlaps a lot with the previous category.  But I think of the other (home) as the maintenance category and this (organize) as the get-ahead category.  The idea is to find ways to use our space efficiently and cut down on clutter.  During a stressful time, reduced clutter will help us keep a calm head.  So tackle those drawers, closets, cabinets that could use some attention.  Don't get overwhelmed though.  Just one little project a day.

Do something for your SPIRIT:  This all boils down to self-care and self-compassion.  Be kind to yourself and spend some time doing what your soul needs, something comforting.  Meditation.  Face mask.  Nails.  Video games.  YouTube.  Reaching out to loved ones.  Pray.  Do something to help others.  We all need this, and now more than ever we need to make time for it.

Wouldn't you agree that you'd sleep better knowing that you put something in each of those box that day?  No matter your age, I think these are great things to shoot for while cooped up at home.

I will admit that my kids didn't take to it quite as fully as I'd hoped.  Maybe I should have offered ice cream or some other reward.  I do think I saw a bit more motivation than I would have otherwise, and I think it at least got them thinking about the fact that they are making decisions about how to spend their time.

I find that with my kids, and with myself, I'm having to redefine what productivity looks like.  I'm only half kidding when I say that everybody wearing pants feels like a real achievement at this point.  And if they're not pajama pants, then we're really winning.

If you don't check all the boxes on any given day, it's okay.  Truly.  Think about what you did do -- you survived it. 


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