Most of us are under a lockdown or working from home due to this Coronavirus 新型コロナウイルス or Covid-19 pandemic. Well, a couple of days sounded fun and everybody was excited to be catching up on sleep and Netflix or working on their projects with utmost concentration at home. At least I was! However, after a while, it starts getting to you and you might feel demotivated and restless sitting at home if you are not used to it. So, for those who are stuck at home during Covid-19 and want to spend their time productively, instead of just chilling, continue to read on.

Personally, I think that productivity is a conscious decision. In fact, several purposeful decisions that you make for your own good and well-being. Plus, productivity is nothing like a one-time event that you will only practice during this home quarantine, it’s a long-term commitment in all areas of life. And nobody, except you, can force this on you!

And for people who have plenty of free time at home during Covid-19, while it might be boring or comfortable depending on person to person, but if you’re not being aware, you may lose all your precious time by indulging yourself into long hours of sleeping, games, idling, excessive TV or scrolling on social media, basically going through your day aimlessly! Therefore, managing your time and learning to be productive at home is an essential skill for all.

I am a firm believer in being productive at home, I feel bad if I haven’t achieved anything in a day. Generally, I don’t spend so much time at home, work is busy, I have a social life to maintain, I mostly eat out, I have several hobbies, plus Tokyo apartments are miniature. So, this social distancing and quarantine life is not easy for me. Tokyo is still not on lock-down but we have been given the option to work from home until Covid-19 is under control. And here are some points that help me become more productive and getting work done at home. And I hope these tips will be useful for you too.

1. Purge your clutter

Honestly, I feel so overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I own. It might have been ok if Central Tokyo apartments were a tad bigger, but unfortunately, space is limited in Tokyo! I really think I waste so much of my time looking for things, especially if I am in a hurry! Clutter is one of the biggest time wasters in homes and people might not even realize it. When our homes are congested with more than we need we spend more time on them. Everything takes longer. More to clean, more to organize, and more to maintain. So, if you are stressed because of the things you have, this is the best time to purge!

The most productive thing you can do when bored includes purging books you’ll never read, deleting the smartphone apps you never use, purging clothes or shoes you never wear – one section at a time, etc. In the end, you would have done some decluttering and it will give you that energy push to move on to bigger tasks. Marie Condo would be proud!

2. Organize your place

Research shows that we spend an average of 2.5 days each year simply looking for misplaced items, which means 60 hours a year completely wasted from our lives! And on top, it collectively annually costs households $2.7 billion in replacing those missing items. Well, my advice is to use this social distancing time to organize your space to easily find what you need and whenever you need it. You can organize your documents, collect all your bills, decide a place for keys, wallets, and coins, etc. This will help you not only save time and allow you to spend that wasted time doing more productive tasks when this Covid-19 quarantine is over.

3. Plan your day

I love making plans for my day, gives me a high like nothing else. Well, I don’t always stick to my plans, because life happens, but even if I can do 50% of what I have planned, I feel it was a day well spent! Since you’re going to spend most of your time at home, you must plan and schedule your day. Even if it is a weekend, you must plan for it too. Some people may not like the idea of planning and scheduling their weekends, but if you want to be productive and get meaningful things done, you must be organized. Having a schedule for your day will keep you from wasting away hours each day on meaningless tasks. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple to-do list on a piece of paper or your phone is perfect. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete that day. If you want, you can decide your top 3 most important tasks on the list. Complete one task before moving onto the next!

4. Get rid of quick tasks

I am sure it must be getting depressing sitting at home, every day during Covid-19. But even if you don’t have enough energy for a big task, you might have a little to do a small one. Check off items on your to-do list that can be done quickly like making a phone call or sending off an email or a text. Email or photograph de-cluttering can be the most productive thing to do in your free time. Household chores like doing the dishes or quick dusting which doesn’t require any brains are my go-to tasks in a short time!

5. Dress the part

A bad habit, I am guilty of is — wandering around in my pajamas, making my morning tea and heading straight to the computer. Nobody can see me, and I am working from home, right? I can shower later, right? Well, that is not the right way to do it. I have realized that the days I am dressed, at least not in my pajamas, I achieve more. I even can get fresh air outside my house after lunch. That is why you should force yourself to get up and get ready for a regular workday, every day. You will not be in a panic to get ready for a video call or go out for a walk. Plus, there’s just something about dressing the part that makes you feel more productive and ready for any challenge!

Lastly, let us accept that we are not a machine and there’ll be days when our brain is going to be slow. We might feel negative, hoping this pandemic will be over soon and we can start with our normal lives again! When it happens, do not hesitate to procrastinate. Go slow, catch up on your reading, cook your favorite dish, or watch a movie during this social distancing!

Stay Positive and Happy Quarantine!

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