Since we have entered the brave and strange new world of COVID-19, I’ve seen many writers and speakers in my space focusing on productivity. Those of you who don’t know me might think I would also be interested in writing about how to max out every hour of the day now that we have so much more time staying at home. Right? Wrong.

I’m not writing about productivity right now we are all living through a very unpleasant equation. 

Massive change + unimaginable uncertainty = Fearful stress

‘Fearful stress’ might sound a little dramatic because we’re all doing our best to cope with an unwanted situation. And there are some fabulous examples of the creative and uplifting ways people are reaching out to support others. But within myself and through interactions with others (at a social distance!) I notice there are subtle signs that we are all feeling a bit frayed, or worse. 

During calls with groups on Zoom, sometimes I’ve noticed everyone keeps interrupting everyone else, as though we have such little social interaction, there is a torrent of words stored up, demanding release.  At home, the time it takes to get irritated at something quite trivial has shortened and talking with girlfriends, they are having the same experience.  

It’s like the underlying stress of such a radical lifestyle shift is popping up in small and sometimes comical ways as we all try to cope with isolation.

I laughed when I read about a writer who was convinced that she wasn’t suffering from an isolation related stress until she got into the shower with her glasses on and started to wash her face.  Or someone else who was getting ready to tackle the mornings tasks and absent mindedly scooped a tablespoon of baby formula into the coffee instead of creamer

Although I haven’t done anything so amusing, I’ve noticed that it’s taking me longer to do some tasks, that are mundane and mechanical.  I’m convinced just a few weeks ago when I wasn’t in isolation, I used to sail through them. 

Maybe it’s because working from home means many of us are juggling so many more tasks than we were at work out of the house. 

On top of the challenges of working remotely, trying to secure new work or applying for benefits, there’s preparing three meals a day for yourself or for the family, tech hell issues and  managing an online business unable to call someone out to fix any problems, worrying about your elderly relative in isolation, being concerned for friends in faraway places, plus stressing about your health is just a small sample of the reasons why I’m not going to write about productivity. 

Rather than stressing about how much I have got done that day and even worse, focusing on what I haven’t completed, in isolation I am celebrating what I am getting done each day.  

I love his quote from Robert H Schuller 

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.

In Covid-19 isolation, so much of what you and are doing will feel unspectacular.  Just getting through each day, the best way you can when so much choice and autonomy has been removed, is more endurance than adventure. 

But we will get there. 

Or as the Queen said, ‘We will meet again.’