We’re living through unprecedented times due to COVID-19 and we’re now facing additional weeks of downtime because, for many of us, the biggest contribution we can make to ending this pandemic is by staying put at home.

And navigating this will require an intentional, purposeful and disciplined mindset.

Let’s recap…

Think about the home projects you’ve put off, books you’ve wanted to read, and other initiatives you’ve postponed for lack of time!

But… how productive are you feeling these days?

In my experience, more free time rarely translates into more productivity.

As you consider your options for the additional downtime in the coming weeks, I’m offering three simple strategies to help optimize your productivity.

Last week, I discussed the benefits of scheduling your priorities. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1, then come back here for Part 2.

2. Stick to a routine.

In a 2004 interview, international bestselling author Haruki Murakami was asked about he deals with the unstructured lifestyle of a writer:

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4 a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10 kilometers or swim for 1,500 meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9 p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

While this example may seem extreme, it illustrates the value of keeping a consistent, predictable routine when there is no externally imposed structure.

I have found that sticking to my routines in the following ways has been very helpful:
– Getting up each morning at the same time
– Eating meals on the same schedule each day
– Continuing to exercise regularly (Crossfit!)
– Journaling consistently
– Calling 2-3 people per day
– Staying in regular contact with our dealership employees

I again want to note that for those who work in law enforcement, healthcare, groceries, pharmacies, postal delivery, manufacturing (hundreds of manufacturing workers around the state and country are producing ventilators and other life-saving products!) this crisis is anything but a slowdown.

If you are able to stay safe at home, there’s a temptation to shift to a vacation lifestyle–and that may be fine for a week or so, especially if you haven’t had one in a while.

But, as I shared in an earlier post on the value of a morning routine, you will be much more productive if you compress your time… and that starts with establishing repeatable daily life rhythms.

I believe that continuing to harness the power of predictability and habit by establishing and sticking to a routine, combined with scheduling your priorities, will help you be better able to navigate this downtime.

As we received the news today of the extended Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order, how are you doing? How do you feel you are managing time at home? Do you think sticking to a routine could help you feel like you have more structure and therefore more control over your days? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Stay tuned for Part 3, coming next week!