29 April 2020

While we're biding our time and hoping to ride out the pandemic without getting sick, we've compiled this list of ways to worry about yourself and not your productivity while you're social distancing. If you want tips on how to increase your productivity, check out our blog post on how to develop a habit of productivity. Some of these tips are on both posts, because they can work both ways.

1. Things to do:

- Color your hair. There are loads of colored hair waxes out there, so you can experiment with a different color every day. Color your family's hair, too. Match, complement, clash, whatever takes your fancy. If you find a color you like, save some so you can get a more permanent version done when the salons open up.

- paint your nails. Let your kids paint your nails. Try out youtube tutorials to see which you like best.

- take up yoga. There are apps that offer yoga sessions, or you can find them online.

- binge-watch some new shows. If you don't have a streaming service, scroll through your cable's on-demand channels. Indulge in all of your guilty pleasures. If you belong to a library, check out Kanopy to see if you can stream movies there.

- study your favorite artist's work to prepare for a future museum visit (you can also do this activity with your family) 

- learn a new skill (this can be just about anything, but if you've got a family at home, pick something you can all do together, like cooking, baking, juggling, photography)

- plan your next travel break: open communications with companies you're considering working with; research the locations (this is also something you can do with your family); check out The Career Break Site for new and interesting travel ideas.

2. Tackle a habit:

If there's a habit you've wanted to break, now's the time to try. Without being under external scrutiny, you'll be able to focus on that habit without feeling self-conscious. I'm trying to stop biting my nails. It seems to be working so far, but they're still pretty stubby. We'll see if I can get them to grow.

You can also try to create a new habit. We've got the time to focus on it, so why not try? I'm going to work on flossing my teeth more regularly. I know that might seem mundane, but I hope that if I can succeed with something simple, I'll have more confidence trying to build a more difficult, but worthy, habit.

3. Do not give up your usual fitness routine:

If you're a runner or a strength trainer, do what you can to keep that up. Run outside if you can or on the treadmill if you have one. Social distancing is fairly easy when you're running or walking. Just step aside if you happen to pass someone. If you were training for a race, keep up the training, even if the race gets canceled. There may be a virtual run instead, but even if there isn't, you can still run that distance on the day it was supposed to happen. There are apps that will guide you through workouts (be careful with the weights).

4. Use your commute time purposefully:

If you're used to commuting, why not use your newfound "extra" time to pamper yourself? Sleep in; read a book; listen to music; play with your kids; whatever you've wished you had extra time for. If you're home with family, this might be a bit more challenging (unless your commute project involves them), but you wouldn't have been spending time with them during your commute, so the only change is that you'd be home with them, but apart, using your "commute" for personal projects.

5. Schedule everything:

If you're anything like me, you find yourself working well beyond the hours required, because time seems very strange now. Contrary to expectation, time seems to be flying by. I find it helpful to set a schedule to make sure I'm not losing myself in work or even leisure activities. I set alarms on my phone and try to stick to the schedule. It even helps me to go to bed at a more reasonable hour.

Consider scheduling priority hours for each member of the household. Whosever's hour it is gets to decide what they will do during that time and whether anyone gets to join them. You could choose a relaxing bath with no-one allowed to knock on the door or an hour of family game time. Each person gets to choose whatever they want in their hour, and everyone else joins in respectfully, knowing they'll get their hour, too.

My dream* (and actual weekend) schedule:

8-9: study Italian (former commute time)

9-10: watch cartoons

10-11: social media

11-12: plan future travel (on Mondays, this means watch The Love Boat)

12-1: lunch

1-3: binge-watch The Amazing Race (if I can't travel myself, I can watch others travel)

3-4: social media

4-5: bake or make treats (I like to try new recipes)

5-6: do puzzles (paper, jigsaw, logic, etc.)

*I don't always manage this schedule, but it helps to have a guide, of sorts, even on the weekends.

6. You don't have to do it alone.

Even in a house full of people, you might need someone outside your network to help you stick to your plans. You can find an accountability partner on Focusmate. You can check in up to three times a week for free.

If you find any of these tips helpful, share with us which ones you're doing using the hashtag #makingtimeforme, including any you're doing that we haven't mentioned.