As I was walking down to my office downstairs, I looked outside and saw the neighbors heading to the street to retrieve his trash can. The sun was now up in the sky, you could tell that there was a soft breeze in the trees and spring had totally sprung. I made a quick turn in the hallway towards the kitchen, the room was still dark from the curtain being closed. A bright ray of sun was coming through an opening and at that point, I realized that it was 8:10 am, just 20 min before my first call of the day. I poured some water into the canister, placed in the right spot under the coffee maker and pressed play. The specific noise of the brewer reminds me: this is the new normal, this is quarantine. A little over an hour ago, I was in our basement working out and then, I am about to start work, all cleaned up and ready for the day.
Does this all sound familiar to you? Is this your new normal? Eight weeks ago, I was certain that this would have been gone by now. I was telling my colleagues that it would pass, and it would die down. I was convinced. The reality is that it didn’t happen that way. In March, many states across the united states started implementing social distancing and soon after, the quarantine was put in place. Whether you are an essential worker or not, your reality is now different. Over the past few weeks, you’ve had to adjust, to learn new skills and make major sacrifices. How is it going? Really, how are you doing?
Let me be honest with you. The first couple of weeks were not organized at all for me. In fact, I got to the point where it felt almost like I had lost and wasted an incredible amount of time of my life. I was used to a routine, I lived by my calendar, by blocks of time. Now I was trying to figure out what to do before and after I was done with work. And of course, because everything was closed, I ended up wasting time on social media, watching TV and then later, beating myself for being so unproductive. The discipline which I had built for myself overtime was rocked, and it bothered me, and I hope you can relate. If you are someone who has a routine, a schedule, someone who likes to keep things in order and not waste time, if you like to think that you are not just busy but rather productive, the quarantine has probably in some way shaken your life. However, it does not have to be that way, that is what I’m here to tell you.
After a few days of running around like a chicken with their head cut off. I needed to snap out of it; and the good news is that I did. We’ve been in this new normal for several weeks, none of us knows when it will be over and I certainly don’t want you to be where you were when it started or gone downhill, growth wise. So, how do you exactly keep productive while quarantined?
- Do not wing it!
Yes, don’t leave it up to chance. Confucius said: ‘Success depends upon preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure’. Put it this way, you cannot arrive at a destination you do not have. It’s all about preparation and taking control of your calendar. If you’re not in control, scrolling endlessly on Facebook or Instagram would override. Before the quarantine, my schedule included waking up around 5 am and working out. With our schedule changing with a new baby and the confinement, I was obviously a bit more tired and 5 am didn’t always make sense. Unfortunately, my morning workouts seemed to be fading away. So, what did I do: I marked it in my calendar, I planned. The same applies to your schedule after work. If you want something accomplished, plan for it and block the time in your calendar and most importantly, when the time arrives, DO IT!
- Take the initiative to grow
President Bill Clinton said: ‘The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change’. Whether you are now confined in your home or not, it is important to have a game plan for personal growth and improvement. This is the best time to take action if you haven’t started on a path of growth. Are there books that you’ve wanted to read but haven’t had the time to? Are there classes, training, certification that would increase your effectiveness and value in your career? If the answer is yes, this is the time to do it. It is the time to learn about yourself, learn more about the people around you, sharpen your knowledge and your skills. Trust me, you will feel better at the end of the day when you have added more to your knowledge pool than the day before.
Initiative to grow and change may involve your finances. Have you been avoiding living on a budget and being disciplined with your money? Why not take a deep dive into your finances now and see what’s missing, what is going well and what can be improved on? When the quarantine is all over and you have new habits, you will thank yourself.
- Stay active and focused
This is my personal experience. Exercising always raises my level of energy, my focus and my ability to get things done. Maybe it is the fact that I work out first thing in the morning and it raises my confidence and self-image. Nonetheless, exercising is proven to improve your mood and your energy, so why not take advantage of it; especially when you have the time. People often complain that they lack the energy to even start. I can relate, especially when you are a new parent like me or when you have an enormous amount of responsibility that drains your fuel throughout the day. Here is my advice from personal experience: your body is a machine and like any other machine, it needs to be taken care of, fixed, tuned and well oiled. Is yours in adequate condition? Whether it is a better healthier diet or adding supplements to your diet, find a way to increase your energy. I have certainly benefited from natural supplements that increased energy and focus as well as incredible multi-vitamins – I am including links to my personal favorites below-.
Obviously, gyms are closed, and you will not be able to work out in their facilities. It does not mean that you can no longer exercise. In fact, just by a simple good search, you can find tons of workout videos online to exercise while following along.
You are now well equipped to win the day while quarantined. Make this time memorable!
My favorite supplements to keep energized and focused