Staying Productive and Positive During a Pandemic
I started writing this article on a Thursday. Remember Thursdays? I used to look forward to Thursdays as this would be one of the most constructive and enjoyable days of the week. Thursdays usually meant a productive day moving projects along and everyone on the team working hard as the weekend approached with the promise of sleeping in, relaxing, and spending more time with family and friends.
Now, things are a bit different. Thursdays kind of feel like Tuesdays, which feel like Mondays, which feel like…you get the picture.
So a new reality has set in, not only for our team at Legacy79 but for everyone – all agencies and design shops in the city, state and quite possibly all over the world. Some shops have worked remotely for years, but even virtual agencies have to adapt to the unprecedented aspects of what we are collectively dealing with. Staying productive while working from home is one thing, staying productive and working from home during a pandemic is completely different.
So I want to share some ways the Legacy79 team adapted to not only working remotely but also navigating the strange new reality of work during a pandemic.
Have some structure to your day
You should stick to a daily routine, just like you did before. Michael Morales, Top Creative Artisan at Legacy79, likes to begin the day with a morning run. Genaro Rivero, Master Ideator and coffee snob, prefers a good cup of coffee (or three) before starting the day. Whatever it is, keep a “new normal” morning routine. Working from home now affords us some leeway with schedules since you may not have to deal with a commute, but try and stick to a set time to start the workday.
Staying productive while working from home is one thing, staying productive and working from home during a pandemic is completely different. You add kids to that and well…L79 PROVERB
Find your focus
It may be tempting to stay up later than normal and sleep in, but you should get up at the same time every morning and treat the start of your day with some purpose and positivity. Legacy79 Captain & Chief Creator, Juan Barrera, recommends making a list of 3-5 specific tasks to accomplish each day. For me, I like focusing on the most difficult or challenging task, first. Even if I cannot complete it in the morning, there is a sense of accomplishment I get as I progress on the task and it provides a springboard on other items on my to-do list.
Most all the team requires some music to help motivate them and focus during the day. Juan is known to select a specific soundtrack or genre for a specific task. Genaro recommends investing in a good set of noise-canceling headphones. Michael finds that a good podcast playing in the background helps him focus even more, even when his new puppy needs attention.
Get up and move
While you try to optimize your productivity, it’s important to break the routine and enjoy some random activities that you may not have been able to do before. Michael takes a break to go outside and get some fresh air while he gets to play with his young daughter. Juan likes to take a spontaneous walk with his kids. I try and move my work area depending on the task, as it allows me to find an optimal environment for the type of focus I need. For example, I’ll move to the patio for more creative work or find a semi-quite area around the house for more analytical tasks.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity
Understand that everyone is dealing with this situation, and things are going to move at a much slower pace than usual. Working during this unprecedented time in our modern history affords us a chance to define productivity a little differently than in the past. Take advantage of the time to focus on internal tasks typically neglected. Self-promotion work, like updating content on your website, reviewing workflow processes, even working on a strategy for how your business is positioned once we regain some sense of normalcy in a post COVID-19 world.
This is also a time to do your part for the greater good. By brainstorming on opportunities to leverage your experience or talents, you can offer help to those in real need during the crisis.
Genaro suggests taking this opportunity to readjust your priorities. For him, it will always be family first, but he’s also using downtime to catch up on some reading. As a lecturer at Texas State University, this new reality affords him an opportunity to “homeschool” his students through distance learning. While the adjustment is challenging, he is able to get by with the help of an afternoon Espresso and the recharged feeling he gets from teaching his graphic design students.
No matter how challenging these times are for us, it’s important to try and stay positive. While the situation can seem bleak, it does no good to worry about things that are out of our control. But we can control how we react to them. Once a day, I try to do something that brings a smile to my face. It can be checking in with friends, sharing funny memes with the team or even taking a break to watch YouTube but avoid the rabbit hole!
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