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How to Boost Your Productivity during a Pandemic

Here we are, nearly a month into quarantine life, and maybe you’re beginning to wonder: how do I boost my productivity during this pandemic? I feel like I’m drowning under kids and housework!

If you’ve been sitting on the couch watching Netflix for so long that you keep getting the “Are you still watching?” message or are tired of wearing your pajamas all day everyday, you are in the right place, my friend! 

4 Simple Tips

At a glance, here are my 4 simple tips for how to boost your productivity during a pandemic: 

  1. Take on one big project at a time
  2. Wake up early
  3. Dedicate time for rest and play
  4. Find ways to connect with others

Let’s get down to business, shall we? It’s my goal to give you some quick wins so you can increase your productivity TODAY! 

To help you get started with a splash, I’ve created an awesome 20+ page guide to help you be more productive as a mom! Full of printable meal planning systems, laundry and cleaning schedules, habit trackers, etc – this thing is GOLD for any mom who wants to get more done everyday!

the productivity printable pack will help you live your mom life on purpose

How to Boost Your Productivity Tip #1: Take on 1 big project at a time.

Have you ever started a big project only to end up with three additional big projects spawning from the first one?

I used to be the queen of this. I’d start decluttering the kids’ bedrooms, which would lead to repainting the girls’ dresser which would lead to buying all their new spring clothes which would lead to figuring out our family Easter outifts. Anybody else?

It is no surprise that having so many projects open and unfinished at once leads to serious overwhelm!

The Zeigarnik Effect

Have you ever heard of the Zeigarnik effect? It’s based on a 1927 study by Bluma Zeigarnik that comes to the simple conclusion that our brains are much more likely to recall uncompleted tasks over things that have been finished.

That’s why those dishes in the sink or the overflowing laundry basket drive us bonkers, my friend! Our brain just can’t let them go. Instead, it is wired to keep sending us messages that we’ve left something unfinished. Ugh. 

Take a moment to identify how many jobs you have open at once. Because it is so much better to take on ONE big project at at time, make it a priority to tie up as many open jobs as you can ASAP! 

Microproductivity

I love the term microproductivity. I recently found it on Trello’s blog. Microproductivity is simply breaking down a large project into smaller tasks that we can accomplish one step at a time. As we focus on little jobs, we are much more likely to actually make headway towards the overall goal.  

Microproductivity is at its finest when we have a written plan instead of keeping a list of smaller tasks in our minds.

How to Increase Your Productivity Tip #2: Wake up early

Girl, I know how easy it can be to stay up late and sleep in. Trust me, I know. 

For several DECADES it was my jam to stay up until all hours of the night so I could actually “get things done.” I told myself that the only way I could be productive was to sacrifice sleep at night.

But here’s the thing: I never tried waking up early to see if it made a difference. I just assumed my late night hours of work would be equal in productivity if I was to wake up early and get things done. 

That assumption was totally wrong. 

In his book, The Morning Mind, Robert Carter, PhD, writes that less than 1% of people are genetically programmed to be night-owls. Instead, people who believe themselves to be night-owls are most likely suffering from sleep deprivation, which results in lower levels of cognitive performance, emotional regulation and productivity. 

You can boost your productivity by choosing one big project at a time

 

Benefits of Early Rising

When we wake up early – which most researchers define as anytime before 7am – we allow our brains time to warm up and prep for the day ahead. For moms at home (which many of us are that this point!) this is a total game changer. 

Waking up 2-3 hours before my kids allows me to workout, shower, study scripture, meditate, and get to work on my business. Before I greet my kids, my proverbial cup is already full. I really am able to be a happier, more productive mom throughout the day. 

To get my specific tips on how I wake up early everyday, read this post here. It has loads of actionable ideas to help you start waking up early. I cannot wait to hear how waking up early helps you to boost your productivity, my friend!

How to Boost Your Productivity Tip #3: Dedicate Time for Rest and Play

As a society, we often view rest as the opposite of productivity.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Researcher Alex Soojung-Kim Pang writes in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, “Rest is not an optional leftover activity. Work and rest are actually partners … the better you are at resting, the better you will be at working.

While everyone in my family (and every family) is missing their normal activities, like gymnastics, homeschool choir, and church, I must admit that it has been wonderful to put my chauffeur service on hold for a bit. 

It is crazy how much time we spend pick up our kids or dropping them off to different places, isn’t it? I did a quick calculation, and I was shocked to learn that I spend 400 minutes a week in my minivan taking my people to their various activities. Seriously!

With everything cancelled everywhere, I now have almost 1 hour everyday that is completely free!

Intention Matters

Instead of spending that time scrolling through social media, I am taking that hour to spend intentionally resting and playing. We’ve played board games, read countless books, painted, played catch, gone for walks, planted flowers, experimented with new recipes and tried to fly kites. (It was a disaster. Just picture 5 kites all tangled together. That was us. But at least it was fun!). 

We enjoy playing board games as a family
Board games are a big hit at our house
Sidewalk chalk mosaic success!
Everyone really got into creating this sidewalk chalk mosaic.
Getting outside as a family is usually lots of fun
On our way to the disastrous kite-flying episode

The key for moms to remember is that rest MUST be intentional. (read: social media scrolling or binge watching TV don’t count as intentional rest. I know, I know!)

Do something a few times a week that feeds your soul. Maybe that’s a home pedicure, journaling, working a crossword puzzle, or reading. For a list of great self-care ideas, read this post here.

Whatever you choose to do, remind yourself that intentional rest and play will have a positive impact on your productivity!

And while we’re talking about things that can have a positive impact on your productivity – be sure to grab your Productivity Printable Pack for Moms right here! 

 

this productivity printable pack will help you be more productive everyday

How to Increase Your Productivity Tip #4: Find ways to connect with others

 

Are you missing your friends? I know I am.

Although I’m a major introvert, I do miss seeing my friends in person. I missed singing the Easter Sunday hymns with our church congregation (in part because my vocal stylings leave much to be desired! Ha!).

It is interesting to me that connection with others in a meaningful way actually causes our productivity to increase.

In a recent Forbes article, leadership strategist Jeff Boss writes that the impact of loneliness and disconnection can have the same impact on our mortality rate as smoking 15 cigarettes per day! He says, “Loneliness increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety. When we’re lonely we’re less engaged, less productive and less creative.”

Take Advantage of Technology

We are definitely blessed to have the technology that we do at this time. I was grateful that a friend of mine texted me and asked if we could actually talk on phone instead of texting. Hearing each other’s voices for 30 minutes brought real happiness to my heart.

FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom are easy and convenient ways to see others face to face.

Another platform to consider is Marco Polo. It’s a fun app where you can leave a video message for one person or a group to view at their own leisure.

My family of origin has been super active on Marco Polo lately. Not only do I enjoy seeing my siblings there, but my kids have a chance to see their cousins from time to time, which helps them feel some connection too.

Don’t feel weird about asking a friend to talk on the phone or do a video call – it is likely she is missing you as much as you miss her.

Do you have other productivity tips? Let me know what they are!

 

Related articles about productivity tips for moms: 

-How to Create the Best Stay at Home Mom Schedule

-How to Be More Productive as a Mom

-Insider Secrets to Waking Up Before Your Kids

 

 

Jen Bradley is the creator of The Confident Closet

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom of five kids who is trying to live a stylishly intentional life and help other moms do the same. Read More …

 

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54 thoughts on “How to Boost Your Productivity during a Pandemic”

    1. Thanks, Kinzy! Yes, without rest, productivity can become a grind … and then we end up less productive. Such an interesting cycle!

  1. I totally believe that that effect is true! Piles of laundry make me crazy. Thanks for all the tips. I’ve been looking for ways to be productive but it can be hard with little ones who are thrown off their routine.

    1. Jennifer, you are so right! I know my kids have been thrown out of their routine, so it’s a balance between helping them adjust and still being able to get the things done! And I’m so with you on the laundry. 😉

  2. The first week in isolation, I quickly fell into a bad rhytm of staying up into the next day and waking up past 9 (I obviously don’t have kids). Now it’s better. I think you’re right that waking up early gives you more energy. It works for me, now. Take care!

    1. I’m so glad to hear it, Cecilie! Staying up late can be an easy rhythm for me to fall into as well. So glad to hear that you’re feeling more energy by waking up earlier.

  3. These are great tips! I often find myself just getting so overwhelmed lately that I just give up and not do what I need to do. But then I get frustrated with myself that I am wasting a good opportunity to actually get more done since I am home. Hopefully these tips will help!

    1. Hi Laura! I know what you mean with that cycle for sure. It’s not a fun place to be. Sometimes taking the action brings the feeling of wanting to be productive … although we often think it is the other way around.

  4. I definitely agree with doing one big project at a time. I’ve been guilty of the opposite! I have my office wallpaper half ripped off, I’ve been working on my blog and also working full time at home. It’s important to prioritize what matters most.

    1. Thanks, Lindsey! I totally understand needing some more rest being only a few weeks away from having your baby! Best wishes for a safe and healthy delivery, mama!

  5. Now I know why those dirty dishes drive me nuts! I also love waking up early, before my family, and getting the day started on a productive note. Will definitely be utilizing these tips while social distancing!

    1. Faith, yes! I hear you! I’ve been so thankful for the technology that allows us to connect even in the middle of social distancing.

  6. I have found your post on productivity extremely helpful. It always bothered me that I seemed to fixate on the bad ( unfinished things) instead of the good ( finisher things), so I happy to have a name and reason to put to it, the Zeignarik effect. Thank you.

    1. That is awesome, Kimberlie. It is so interesting how our minds do that, isn’t it? I was glad to find out that there’s a reason for it too!

  7. Waking up early is a very important part of our lives. We get up and get dressed. We don’t sit around in pj’s all day. These are great tips on how to boost your productivity during a pandemic with kids at home. Thanks for putting this together!

    1. That’s so great, Amanda! I never thought I’d be a morning person, but now I wouldn’t change it for anything. The impact it makes on my day is giant!

  8. These tips are really great. Waking up early has been a lifesaver for me. The hour or two that I have before my kids get up are my most productive hours of the day! I also agree with taking on only one big project at a time. I don’t even have one going on right now and it’s kind of nice!

    1. Absolutely, Shamika! I think that is such a common thing right now – and while slowing down IS wonderful, it is also important to not let too much go! Thanks for reading!

    1. Hi Nadalie! Thanks for your comment. Although I’m an introvert, I still love being able to connect with others to boost productivity! Let me know how it goes!

  9. Michelle Hetterscheidt

    This is a great resource, even at a time like this. My daughter has quiet time everyday. I time it with my u yo out her one nap, and she watches a movie in her room (otherwise she won’t stay). Going to try your tip and wake up early.

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned quiet time, Michelle. That is an invaluable time for me too! With everything that is going on right on, I think keeping some things the same, such as morning routines, is really important. Let me know how waking up early goes!

  10. I have been thinking about getting up earlier (and going to bed earlier too). With my little one still not sleeping through the night, I have gotten into a pattern of putting everyone to bed, starting up on a work project, and working until he wakes up. Usually a little after midnight, I go to bed. I have always told myself I am a night owl. I think you’re probably right, I am not. And I am sleep deprived. Next week, I am going to try an earlier schedule for all of us and see how it works. Thanks!

  11. I have always fought the idea of turning into a morning person, but needing some alone time during the day, this has been such a game changer!

  12. These are great tips Jen! I am a morning person, so getting up early is something I always do! As a shy, introvert and retired to boot, it is important for me to stay connected to others. Technology now makes that so much easier to do than in the past! I frequently text my adult children and my best friend to stay connected at least somewhat!!

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