Staying Calm and Productive

We’ve all been juggling a lot during the pandemic. Many have written articles such as this, with ideas for staying calm, healthy, and productive, but I wanted to provide my perspective in case it can help anyone. I work on technology and manage various projects from my home office in Tucson, AZ, so I spend a large amount of time on the computer. This is the lens from which I am writing.

Balance can be hard to find.

If you work at home and are more isolated, your experience may vary drastically depending on your primary personality traits. I’m more of an “introvert – extrovert”, meaning I need social interaction and truly love it, when the time is right. Many folks I know in the technology field are similar, and have been incredibly productive during these times, with fewer distractions. But there is a flip side, as your inspiration to get a lot done might cause you to run yourself into the ground.

Others may need more constant social interaction, and more “in person” time, and find that finding their sweet spot can be more difficult to achieve. I feel bad for my purely extroverted friends and co-workers during this time, as their standard mode of operation, and love for in person interaction, has been a difficult point. Creativity is key.

One benefit of the shifts we’ve all experienced is that I’ve had more weekend phone calls with friends over the last year+! There is something refreshing about not dealing with a video feed or a laptop, after being in the zone all week.

Feeling calm, healthy, and productive can be elusive.

Don’t lose site of the basics like healthy food, walks to decompress, maintaining friendships and connections with family.

Try to find the balance between “getting things done” and listening to your inner voice and finding time to rest and recuperate. If you are feeling worn out and fried your productivity and attitude may start to suffer. Trust your gut.

Breaks can be hard to take for some to take (me included), but are very important. Your body needs time to move around and your mind needs time to unwind. For me, getting an Oura ring a few years ago has been a game changer. The tracking and analytics aren’t perfect, but reflecting on the data each morning can help me structure my day. Is this a “go for it” day that is high energy both mentally and physically? Is this a day where relaxation should be the goal?

Fun! Remember fun things you like to do, and make sure to get that “reset” feeling as much as you can. For me, it’s mountain biking or just time spent outdoors in general, anything related to music, and connecting with others. Learning something new can also be extremely resetting. Allow yourself some play time.

Focusing on ergonomics in your home office can also be very helpful. Again, everyone differs, but small changes in your positioning and the equipment you use can really help. For me, finding a laptop stand that brought it up to the level of my other monitor has been very helpful, and finding the perfect external mouse and keyboard. Optimizing my lighting, iris settings for screen glare, and bringing in enough fresh outdoor air have also been a help. Using a desk with options for sitting and standing has also been great for including some variety in body positioning.

Just a few quick thoughts, I hope they help!

Photo by Jeroen Bendeler on Unsplash

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