The good news is that the pandemic is winding down. The bad news, people are going to expect a lot more from you again. Here are some simple tips to help you put the capital P’s back into Post-Pandemic Productivity.
1. Make lists. Need to get dressed? Put it on the list. Otherwise you’re likely to walk out the door in your underwear. Need to walk out the door? Put it on the list. Need gas? You got it, put it on the list. Put everything on the list, even minor stuff, like saying hello to your spouse. Trust me, if it’s not on the list, you won’t do it. Writing things down makes you accountable to a small piece of paper, so don’t rush through this whole list-making thing. Take all morning if you have to. When you’ve finished your list, have lunch. That should already be on your list, and if not, start over. If it is on your list, you now get the satisfaction of crossing something off it. After lunch, spend a few hours breaking down your master list into smaller lists. Then have dinner.
2. Wake up earlier. There are only so many hours in a day– 24 to be exact– and it takes 10,000 of them to be world-class in anything. So what are you snoozing for? 10,000 is mostly a random number from a guy who, in his whole life, has never spent more than an hour on his hair. But 10,000 is a good number because it’s round and easy to remember, just like 10,000 steps a day for good health. This is also a random number, but it sounds better than 8425 steps a day. If somebody told you you need to take 8425 steps a day, you wouldn’t even try. But 10,000! For Good Health! That’s so convincing, it’s sexy! So get up earlier, take a few steps, and get to work on your lists.
3. Multi-task, one task at a time. This is a very advanced concept, but if you’ve been getting up earlier and making lists, you’re ready for it. Science has proven, or someone once said, or maybe I saw it on the internet, that the mind can only focus on one thing at a time. So do one thing at a time, but do it as fast as you can, so you jump to another thing within seconds. Even if you haven’t finished the first thing, feel free to jump. You can jump right back whenever you like. Employers expect you to do this all the time, so you might as well start practicing because it’s gonna take around 10,000 hours to get really good at it.
4. Delegate. Need to pick up the kids from school? If it’s on your list, you do. But do YOU have to do it? EVERY day? Can you organize a carpool? What about Uber? Uber is a perfectly safe way for kids to travel these days. It’s not like they’re getting in the car with total strangers. These strangers are Uber drivers, with first names. I see kids jump into Ubers all the time after school and they manage to show up to school the next day, so delegate, delegate, delegate! Lyft acceptable also. That way you can keep multi-tasking for another hour, and your kids learn important social skills, like how to earn 5-star ratings from ride-share drivers.
5. Wear headphones. Nothing will take the “P” out of post-pandemic productivity like other people. Always there. Always wanting something, even if it’s just a moment of real human connection. Truly productive people know there’s no time for that. They embrace that reality by shutting down real human connection before it even starts. Believe me, once you start giving people what they really want, they’re going to want more. It’s human nature. So say hello to your spouse because it’s on your list, but have your headphones on when you do it so you don’t get pulled into some time-sapping conversation about what’s for dinner. Some people can sap an hour’s worth of time over that. Believe me, I know. That’s fine if you want to be world-class in the field of dinner possibilities. Otherwise that’s an hour you need to be more productive making lists and multi-tasking. So plug in those headphones and turn up the volume so people know you aren’t to be disturbed.
Post-pandemic life will be an adjustment, but these simple tips will help ease back into the life you missed so much this last year.