Thursday, September 3, 2020

Do productivity and pandemic go together?

I considered starting this fall's blog reboot with ideas about how to weather the pandemic. And the myriad other "troubles" of the day.

But I decided to pass. I wasn't sure I could add anything to the excellent articles I have been reading on this topic.

So I decided to stick with what I know: sharing techniques you can use to improve your productivity. And my aim, for now, is to focus on simple methods with short learning curves that you can use immediately.

So far, these include making a daily MIT list, using a Done List, and starting a journaling practice

And there are more to come!

But this week I feel the need to make sure you have access to some of those excellent articles I mentioned.

Because, well, you are very busy doing what you do and you may not have seen them.

So here I offer "best posts I have read about living and working during the pandemic."

I picked posts that are relevant to "being productive," and grouped them by 3 big messages.

You are not supposed to be "taking this all in stride."

You may be dealing with grief, anger, frustration, anxiety, and fear for the future, or all these at once.

These feelings need to be acknowledged, and there are things you can do to help get through.

Tara Haelle, a science journalist, enumerates these feelings in "Our Brains Struggle to Process This Much Stress."

Aisha Ahmad, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education about "Productivity and Happiness Under Sustained Disaster Conditions."

Cut back on the news, opinion pieces, and social media.

For myself, I have taken to skimming the headlines and then moving directly to the food section of the daily papers...

Cal Newport, computer science professor and productivity icon, suggests how to cut back in "Give your Brain Some Breathing Room."

"Go small."

Focus on what is important right now, and not so much on long term goals. 

Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile recommends celebrating every accomplishment, no matter how small. 

Kerry Ann Rockquemore, the founder of The National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, describes how to make a short term writing plan in "Let's Get Ready for Summer Writing." (I know it's about "summer academic writing," but the advice works for any type of project work any time of the year.)

Finally, the Harvard Business Review has compiled its COVID-related blog posts here (and made them free for all).

I hope you find some ideas that help.

I'll be back soon with a riveting look at how to create MIT's that you can't resist doing!