Ensuring Productivity Without Anxiety During COVID-19

| by April Anthony

We all thought things would be back to normal by now but, instead, our numbers are increasing daily. Keeping anxiety at bay is important to ensure productivity, especially when most of us are working remotely. When the body and mind are thrown into an unknown like the pandemic, we react by preparing for a temporary change in everything. Now temporary is becoming long-term and we need to again adjust to working differently and handling the anxiety and stress that comes with change.

Everyone wants to perform well professionally and be recognized for their work; this may be hard to do when working remotely or when practicing social distancing. Below are some tips and reminders that can keep you productive and less anxious:

  1. Even though you may not be commuting to the office each day, and your commute now is from the kitchen to the home office or guest bedroom, make sure you have a start time and end time to each day and, if possible, make that time the same each day. 
  2. Pick a time to stop reading and responding to emails and texts. Your mind and body need to wind down after a day of work and you need to give yourself time to spend with your family, work out, read, or do anything non-work related. Your emails and texts will be there tomorrow.
  3. Time management is even more important during COVID-19.  Make a list of tasks for each day and block out time to accomplish each. If you don’t make it through the whole list, move it into the next day’s tasks. 
  4. If possible, schedule video meetings back to back on two or three days of the week and leave the other days blocked out to carry out your work so you are not juggling between meetings and tasks. We all know each meeting needs prep time and time to address action items post-meeting, so schedule time to do both on an alternate day. We can focus better without switching back and forth.
  5. Pick two times a day to respond to emails – once in the morning and once before you end your day. Replying to everything immediately allows us to get off track and not be able to focus as well.
  6. Request a weekly check-in with your supervisor to review the work you’ve accomplished and ask them if they feel you are accomplishing what is expected. This will alleviate any anxiety that you are not performing well because you are not at the office. You are probably working harder at home.
  7. If you are a supervisor, make sure you schedule video meetings for team building. This is an excellent time to play team building games and activities to get to know each other better, build trust, and learn to communicate clearly. Video meetings are so different than in person meetings and team members can feel left out, lonely, and disconnected.
  8. As a team or an employee, be comfortable talking about your anxiety and any feelings of being overwhelmed. You are not alone and should not feel ashamed of these feelings. Just because you talk about these feelings does not mean you are not a great performer.
  9. Meditate each morning or evening (or both) to ensure balance.
  10. Share articles and exercises with your colleagues, employees, and team on tools and activities to foster better communication, spur creativity, and provide resources on topics like time management, meditation, mindfulness, ice breakers, etc.
  11. Hire a consulting firm like Armstrong McGuire to facilitate team building and mindfulness exercises with your team.

Our gift to you today is a link to a meditation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1HiLlhsr_R4RFV1Z2NZUDNLdEE/view?usp=sharing.

Our hope is that you stay healthy physically and mentally during this challenging time. Please email April at april@armstrongmcguire.com with any comments or questions. 

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