It's OK to be not very productive

Work from home

All of us are coping with the COVID related lockdowns in our own ways. While some are able to utilize this time for good and use it to improve themselves, some of us are just coping one day at a time. I have read so many accounts from people who feel that they are not able to use this downtime in the way they would have wanted to. Most people know that they should be using this time in improving themselves yet they find it hard to even start the process. I personally am going through a very mixed phase. On the one hand, my work efficiency has greatly improved ever since the work from home started, my reading habits have suffered greatly during the same period. I have read only 1 book during the entire lockdown. To put this in context, I average at approximately 1 book a week “normally”.

But you know what? That’s OK. I think it would be unfair to hope, let alone expect, to function normally when there is a life-threatening Pandemic going around in the world. This is a Black Swan event that has brought with itself grim times. You, and I, are allowed to let this all affect us and cope with it however you want. It’s not always possible to do the right thing and in this scenario - It is OK.

No post of mine is ever complete without a list. So here is a list of principles regarding work from home inspired by the guidelines provided by the Canadian federal government.

  1. You are not “working from home”. You are “sheltered at home, during a crisis, trying to work”. There is a difference between the two. Your life will become much easier the sooner you understand this difference.
  2. Your personal health - physical, mental, and emotional is the most important thing right now.
  3. Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself by comparing how you are coping vs how you see others coping. Similarly, be kind to others. Don’t judge them on how they are coping compared to how you are coping.
  4. Try not to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours. It will not help.
  5. Do not compare your productivity with pre-COVID times. Similarly do not compare others’ productivity with their pre-COVID work.
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I have helped many startups in building their products and I would be happy to have a chat with you about your idea. Catch me on twitter at @akhilrex