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Managing Productivity in Difficult Times

By January 27, 2021Blog

By Audrey Jaynes


The Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented change in the workplace, with 42% of Americans now working from home.[1] While this has been a welcome shift for many, others have struggled with the diminishing boundaries between work and home life.

If you are having a difficult time with productivity during the pandemic, here are some ideas that might help:


Give Yourself a Break


If you’re struggling with finding work-life balance at the moment, the most important thing you can do is give yourself a break. It has been almost a year since our world was suddenly thrown into a global pandemic, drastically shifting most aspects of our day to day lives. Since then, every member of our society has witnessed or experienced personal or global loss, political unrest, and social isolation.

The truth is, we are all surviving a collective trauma, and if you are doing just that—surviving—then that is enough.

Begin with acceptance; take time every day to acknowledge how difficult this has been and allow yourself time to grieve.

This is hard. This is scary. Times are uncertain. If you don’t feel like you’re coping well, trust me—you are not alone. Start by nurturing compassion for yourself and those around you, and let yourself off the hook.


Block Scheduling


Whether you are unemployed, working multiple jobs, or parenting during this crisis—there will always be responsibilities that need tending to. And one of the best ways to tackle your to do list is through time blocking—scheduling blocks of time to work on particular tasks throughout the day.

  1. Start by reviewing your schedule for the day the night before.
  2. Then, set aside time blocks of 20 or 30 minutes, depending on the task, to work on specific goals each day.
  3. As you move through your schedule, make sure that you focus on one task at a time and move on after you’ve finished the time allotted. That means no checking email, no social media—no distractions.

Time blocking increases your ability to do two things: focus and work efficiently.

We have all had the experience where a task that should take thirty minutes to complete ends up taking us a few hours—or days. Time blocking will help you to eliminate distractions and focus on one thing at a time, while also strengthening the boundaries between work and leisure.

Make sure that you are reasonable in how much time you allot for each task—add extra time to make sure you don’t underestimate.

Once you’ve completed the time allotted for your tasks for the day, it is important that you give yourself permission to turn off. There is no point in having down time if you spend it worrying about lingering projects or feeling guilty that you’re not doing more. Save those worries for the next time you’re scheduled to work on a particular goal. By identifying work time as “work time”, and leisure time as “leisure time”, you can fully take advantage of both.


Get Inspired


There is no better time than the present to reevaluate your goals and to reconsider your obligations.

Ask yourself the following questions: in what ways do I fill my day? Am I inspired? How do my daily activities bring my peace, or joy, or fulfillment?

Take time to discover what is important to you—what inspires you, and what peaks your interest. Then, schedule time for those things. Ultimately, you will feel better about your productivity when you are making progress on goals that are meaningful to you.


 If you are struggling with managing productivity or procrastination, we can help! Reach out today to learn more about how CBT can help you. Contact us at [email protected] or 646-650-2026

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