Keeping productive during the pandemic

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on July 26, 2021
Woman on a couch with a day planner

Whether you are a permanent resident or a new immigrant to Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt taken a toll on your well-being. Thousands of people, throughout Canada and the world, have been directly or indirectly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As well, many people in the country have lost their jobs, closed their businesses, and struggled with maintaining their relationships. It’s easy to get discouraged by COVID-19 news and by the many uncertainties surrounding this time. It may seem like aspects of your life have come to a standstill. If you had plans, goals, and dreams during this time, you might have had to put them on the backburner.

Although the world is reopening, it may take some time for your life to return normal—whatever that looks like for you. You may still be experiencing hardships, but you can regain your motivation and pursue new endeavours and goals during this time of uncertainty. If you feel like you are in a rut and would like to feel more productive, below are five tips on how to get started.

1. Make a list of tasks, plans, and goals

Your list doesn’t have to be extensive. It can include learning a new recipe, cleaning your bathroom every week, reading a new book every month, going for a walk every day, composing song lyrics, learning how to play an instrument, learning a new language through free apps or videos, or starting a garden. Be creative! If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sketch, paint, dance, take wildlife photos, or harvest your own vegetables, now could be the best time to invest in those hobbies.
making goals

2. Prepare essential materials

You need to know what materials you need to reach your goals. You can’t garden without the necessary tools, seeds, and soil. Similarly, you can’t paint without paint brushes or sketch without a pencil and paper. Some tasks, like going for a run every day might not require you to buy anything, especially if you already have running shoes and athletic clothing. Other goals, like trying nature photography, would require you to make larger purchases. You can start off small by taking photos with your phone or a disposable camera, and invest in a DSLR camera later on if you enjoy the hobby.

3. Keep track of your schedule

Write down your daily and weekly tasks in an agenda or notebook, and keep track of what you complete and don’t complete. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment even when you’ve done only a few things on the list, like clean your room or water your plants. If you didn’t manage to complete a single task for one day, take some time to reflect on why that was the case. Did you overbook yourself on that day? Were you not feeling well? Or, did you spend most of your time on activities that distracted you from your goals, like watching entertaining videos or playing video games? Be honest with yourself about what you want to accomplish and the sacrifices you are willing to make, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you forget to work on tasks for a few days or decide to let go of certain goals, that’s okay. When you want to start again, you can always set new goals and try to follow through on them.
day planning

4. Seek an accountability partner

A lot of people can benefit from a person holding them accountable for their goals. If you have trouble completing tasks and working on goals, you can enlist the help of someone who willingly supports you and your endeavours. You should feel comfortable sharing your plans and goals with your accountability partner. They should be someone who can encourage you, but also call you out when you make excuses for not completing tasks. The person doesn’t have to live with you. You can reach out to your accountability partner via phone, video chat, or in person to share your victories and setbacks.
two women talking

5. Rejoice in small achievements

If one of your goals was to wake up at 6:00 AM every day, celebrate when you manage to consistently wake up at that time after a week or a month. For example, treat yourself to your favourite snack or buy yourself a small gift. Seemingly small goals can make a big difference in your life if you stick to them. They can even become healthy or productive habits. Goal setting should be an enjoyable process for you once you get used to it, and you will feel good about reaching milestones.
woman holding a smiley balloon

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