By Jeremy Kaufman
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed life in many ways for most of us. For each person, the pandemic’s challenges have often appeared in similar ways, such as separation from family and friends or disruptions in daily activities. How each of us responded to the pandemic, however, depends on the individual. For example, it has taken me quite a while to adjust, but I have learned how to thrive and be productive in these circumstances.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the days and nights seemed to blend together. Even when I was attending college, I often forgot what day of the week it was. While this may not appear relevant, it put a dent on my productivity. It caused me to lose an idea of what my goals were and slowly forget what I wanted to do. Soon, grades mattered less and my business idea for a new app was just some words on a sheet of paper. I’m sure that many other people had a similar problem where they found themselves just watching Netflix or sleeping because the pandemic made life itself seem asleep. In fact, according to Reuters, “Netflix added a record 15.8 million customers as the pandemic forced people around the world to stay home.”
However, all of this eventually changed when I changed my mindset. I realized why I wasn’t being productive and why so many people were suffering, too. We can’t let externalities determine how we think. How we think determines everything else. So, I started to think positively. This is when I started being productive again.
A major part of being productive is adapting to the external factors in life. For example, according to goremotely.net, by January 2021, almost a year into the pandemic, “more than two-thirds of employers have seen increased productivity among their remote workers.” I too had to learn to adapt to the pandemic. The first way I adapted was by creating a schedule for myself. I bought a planner and a notebook. In the planner, I have my goals for each day and in my notebook I can plan each day. I highly recommend that everyone do this to avoid getting lost in the confusion of the pandemic like in the early days. I set up a routine to help me become productive again. Part of this routine is a six-day “work week.” For me, work is anything college- or business-related or that has to do with careers in general. On Saturdays, I avoid all work-related activities and focus on relaxation. This is important for maintaining mental health and avoiding fatigue from overworking oneself. On Saturday nights, I can go over work-related goals for the week and write down and plan how I will accomplish them.
Another major part of my routine is taking breaks while working. This means that while I’m doing coursework or career-related work, I will take a break to use social media or surf the internet. This serves a similar function to the weekly break on Saturday as it helps me recover from work fatigue and stay motivated. I have found that the pandemic ruined my ability to be productive early on. A major factor in this was the fact that everything has changed and everyone has supposedly changed. All of us have been hit hard by the negativity and suffering of the pandemic, which can lead to a fear that we cannot cope with the new normal.
Every day, I say affirmations that life will get better and that I will be successful in every way. Ever since I have started saying these affirmations, I have not only become more productive, I have also become happier in general. Happiness is the key to productivity and I have learned that one must always be happy. During a pandemic, happiness and maintaining a routine and a daily schedule are especially important.