10 Ways to Increase Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday April 23, 2020

By: Brian Thompson
(Owner and Lead Designer, Gauntlet Creative)

The world is currently working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone’s day to day lives have been greatly affected. I hope you all stay safe, positive, and productive during this. With that said, I wanted to share some ways that i’ve been staying productive during these times. Hopefully you’ll find some of these tips helpful for you and your families.

10. Utilize timeblocking

I’m a huge advocate for timeblocking hours on my Google Calendar. I have strict hours blocked on my daily calendar for business projects, personal projects, reoccurring chores, socializing, eating, and even sleeping!

These timeblocks are simply calendar appointments (with myself) to ensure maximum calendar usage and minimal wasted time. Proper timeblocking requires willpower to yourself and communication for anyone that tries to add timeblocks to your calendar… but once you’re committed to this timeblocking process, your productivity will go through the roof.


09. Take daily walks

Try to timeblock two, 10 minute walking breaks (morning and afternoon) on your daily calendar. I know this is easier said than done with a busy calendar / families / priorities, but giving yourself a chance to take a walk outside in your neighborhood can really clear your head.

You don’t have to break a sweat and it can literally be just walking up and down your own street. The fresh air and distraction may even give your brain a chance to solve a background problem. Obviously be sure to maintain social distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic to ensure safety.


08. Wear your work clothes

If you find yourself working at home, wearing your pajamas or sweatpants all day is certainly enticing! But, hear me out… try to wear your regular work/office clothes instead.

Dressing professionally will put you in a productive state of mind. There’s something about looking good in the mirror that increases your willpower to be more productive. After the pandemic, it will be challenging to get out out your pajama habit… and plus the feeling of “getting into your pajamas” at night just feels better at the end of a productive day.

07. Host fun virtual calls

Try to schedule weekly (or even biweekly) virtual calls with your family and friends. Google Meet, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, and many other platforms offer great, free video chat options for cross-platform users.

Meeting with your family and friends will increase your happiness, and in turn increase your productivity.


06. Stay hydrated

Try to have a full glass of water on your desk/table at all times. Water is obviously great for your health and it will help curb some of your appetite too.

I have a large glass water bottle on my desk with AM/PM times printed on the side. These hourly marks challenge me to keep drinking water and keep me on track. Staying hydrated is incredibly healthy for you and will thus help you complete your other daily projects.


05. Make your bed

Nobody enjoys making their bed, I get it! But try to start the habit in the morning as soon as you roll out.

It only takes a minute, it counts as an immediate completed project for the day, and at the end of the day you’ll get to sleep in a comfortable, made bed.


04. Plan your weekly meals

This ties into my earlier timeblocking tip. Once a week, take some time to plan out your meals for each day. Start by looking in your fridge / freezer / cabinets to see what meals you can enjoy this week. Why buy extra groceries if you already have in-stock meals?

Now add the in-stock meals to your calendar as breakfasts / lunches / dinners. If you’re missing any meals for your days this week, then you can decide your grocery shopping list to fill the meal gaps. Planning out your meals for the week will cost some upfront time, but in the end it will save you some daily stress. And now that your stress is reduced, you’ll be able to focus on your other priorities.

03. Order local food delivery

This can tie-in to my previous tip. If you can afford to, support a local takeout restaurant once a week… especially during these trying times with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive restaurant, but take the time to support the staff and give yourself a treat for your past week’s worth of productivity. If you want to double up on productivity, take care of some freelancing work or other chores while the food is being prepared and delivered.

02. Focus on neglected projects

Before the pandemic, I’m sure you had a list of creative things that you’ll “get to sometime”… today is that day! Record that song you’ve been practicing, start that podcast you’ve been putting off, build that website for your side hustle, design some t-shirts, digitize that pile of VHS tapes in your basement, read that book you’ve been putting off, or even play that video game that you haven’t touched in months.

You’re getting a rare chance to take a breather and stay in… take full advantage of these times and allow yourself to be as productive (or as lazy!) as you want to be. Stay productive, but go easy on yourself too.

And… 01. Stay positive!

The media is bombarding you with negative news and outlooks. It can be challenging when you’re surrounded with negativity… but do your best to stay positive. Your smile, persistence, and common sense will help those around you (and yourself) remain safe, positive, and productive.

We’re all going through this together and we’ll all get through this together. Enjoy the extra time with your family, take in some fresh air, catch up on some neglected projects, and if the mood is right… smile.

Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson is the lead designer at Gauntlet Creative. He loves professional wrestling, heavy metal, and productivity.