You have probably seen different opinions on social media whether one should be productive during the coronavirus quarantine. Some people cite an example that Isaac Newton invented differential and integral calculus, explored optics as well as discovered a theory of universal gravitation in the year when he stayed away from college during the Great plague of 1665-1666.
Other people point out that Isaac Newton did not have kids to take care of. Also, being stuck at home does not automatically give you free time, energy, focus, and motivation. Dealing with all the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic can be draining, and it is ok to give yourself a break and cut yourself some slack.
When NYC got locked down in March, I expected I would have more free time to complete some of the projects on my to-do list. Within a couple of weeks, I got the feeling that time was flying by, and many of the things I planned to do never got done. I felt guilty and disappointed about not living up to my expectations.
Gradually, I adjusted my approach to productivity during the coronavirus. Instead of setting ambitious goals in April, I decided to do at least one thing every day that positively affects each of three major areas of my life: fitness/wellness, family/friends, and my job/coaching business. I tried to stay consistent, but some days were better than others.
As some US states begin to ease lockdowns, I am changing my approach to productivity again. While I do not know how long the lockdown could last in NYC, which was hit hardest by the coronavirus, I have started thinking about how I want to feel and what I want to have accomplished by the time the NYC quarantine is over.
Keeping those points in mind as I am setting my goals for May, I have put together the list of daily habits I would like to practice every day and three main goals I would like to accomplish this upcoming month.
My list of daily habits includes getting up before 8 am, doing meditation for 10 minutes, journaling, reading for at least 30 minutes, working out, getting outside, connecting with at least one friend or family member, and going to sleep before midnight.
I do not expect to get everything on that list done every day – although it would be nice – but I commit to practicing three-four habits per day.
As I decided on the three main goals in May, I wanted to ensure that these goals are challenging but realistic. At the beginning of each week, I am going to write specific action steps I need to take during the week to accomplish my monthly goals.
For example, one of my monthly goals is to do at least 15 hours of indoor cycling and 10 hours of running. That would translate into a weekly sub-goal of about six-seven hours of cycling and running workouts.
As you set your goals, keep in mind a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. approach, which includes the below seven characteristics.
Specific: your goal should be detailed and precise for you to be able to focus your efforts and energy. In addition to deciding what you want to achieve, you need to quantify your goal if possible and figure out what resources are necessary to accomplish it.
Meaningful: you need to decide why this goal is relevant and significant to you and why you want to accomplish it.
Achievable: your goal also needs to be realistic and achievable. It needs to be challenging but remain within your reach. If you set a goal with unrealistic expectations, it is easy to lose motivation and give up.
Relevant: your goal should align with your life goals and core values.
Time-bound: your goals must be limited by time. Make it urgent. Select a realistic but challenging deadline. If it is a long-term goal, such as two or three years, break it down into smaller parts, with minor goals or benchmarks every 30 to 60 days.
Evaluated: make sure to set up a system for assessing your goal on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The consistent evaluation will serve you as an accountability reminder and will keep you on track.
Readjusted: if you are unable to make progress, you need to adjust your approach and figure out different ways to get closer to your goal.
Setting achievable goals and pursuing them can give you a sense of accomplishment and progress. Research also shows that personal goals improve emotional well-being and make people happier.
While it is understandable and expected that your productivity is lower during a global pandemic and there are some days when you need to take it easy, adding several self-care habits to your daily routine and setting a realistic goal or two can help you get through these challenging times and have no regrets when the quarantine is over.
Here’s a couple questions for you to consider:
What daily habits can help you improve your life?
What goals would you like to accomplish in May?
How do you want to feel when the quarantine is over?
What do you want to have accomplished by then?
Ready to start your journey to a happier life?
If you would like to learn how to add self-care to your daily routine and upgrade your life, grab a free copy of my Ultimate Self-Care Guide!