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:
- Take on one big project at a time
- Wake up early
- Dedicate time for rest and play
- 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!
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!
The Quarantine and Clean Challenge
I’ve designed a great 10-Day Quarantine and Clean Challenge that will help you to deep clean your home for spring. Throughout the 2-week challenge, there are specific tasks to be accomplished every day, such as cleaning your dishwasher (yep, it needs cleaned!), washing curtains, or cleaning the shower head.
The point of the challenge is for you to choose which of the items you most need to accomplish and see them through to completion! Ahh! That feeling of actually finishing a task feels SO good!
Join the Quarantine and Clean Challenge right here!
The challenge also teaches you how to accomplish the big project of spring cleaning by breaking it down into measurable, actionable steps every day for 10 days.
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.
In the Quarantine and Clean Challenge, I have already broken down your spring cleaning into smaller, written, measurable tasks that can be accomplished a chunk at a time. Click here to learn more or jump in to the challenge and start making your way towards the goal of having a clean and refreshed home!
Over a hundred women have joined the challenge, and here are some of their results:
I feel such a sense of accomplishment about every task I’ve done. My home is in good shape now. This challenge really motivated me to actually finish these tasks. Accountability is a good thing. – Alison B.
The Quarantine and Clean Challenge is full of simple and practical videos with cleaning tips I learned and used! The break down into “do-able” daily tasks made Deep Spring Cleaning realistic and I was able to stick with it for 10 days for the first time ever. Also, the encouraging posts helped me stay motivated because I was accountable daily to share. -Amy M.
Because the first group was so successful and enjoyed the challenge so much, I’m kicking it off again on Monday, April 20th! If you’d like to join or find out more, click here. It is completely free and will teach you how to boost your productivity during this pandemic for sure.
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.
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!
Plus, if you join the Quarantine and Clean Challenge, you’ll want some extra time to get your home in tip top shape! (wink, wink)
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!
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!).
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!
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.
Connect in the Quarantine and Clean Challenge
If you are looking for a way to create some connection for yourself, mama, jump right into the Quarantine and Clean Challenge!
Part of the challenge happens inside a private Facebook group where we meet often to keep ourselves accountable, cheer each other on, and find connection during this time of social distancing. It is seriously amazing to see women come together and support each other with a common goal in mind!
On the last day of the first challenge group, some of the ladies were commenting about how sad they were that it was ending! One sweet mama wrote this:
It was really fun to have a Facebook group of people cheering each other on in the Quarantine and Clean Challenge. Thank you for helping me feel connected to people when we are so isolated!!! – Jessieanne B., Florida
Mama, I know this is a weird time! Take heart and know that it won’t last forever. I am here to support you. And I’d love to see you soon inside the Quarantine and Clean Challenge! Let’s tackle that big project together, okay? Just click here to join the fun.
Do you have other productivity tips? Let me know what they are!