by Kristen Westcott
I don’t think anyone could have really seen this coming. Both within my online networks and in my local community, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has forced many businesses to reallocate their time, resources, and money. My clients and I are incredibly fortunate to already be in the online space and work-from-home gurus.
However, as someone who usually encourages productivity, I hold a responsibility to my clients and to those who look to me for advice to help you understand that during a global crisis, you decide what level of productivity is appropriate for you.
The need for productivity
There have been a lot of posts circulating the internet about how your extra time during quarantine should be spent developing a new skill, building your side hustle, or obtaining new knowledge. If you don’t, “you didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline.”
As an entrepreneur, I can see many similar-minded people looking at this post and feeling guilty for not spending all their extra time on their biz. I can imagine people who haven’t yet started their business feeling like they’re behind.
I feel for you.
But in all honesty, I don’t think that the root of this post is meant to shame people who aren’t taking the time now to upskill, dive into business, or learn. I believe the need for productivity stems from a desire for normalcy. And what a better way to be normal than to engage in the hustle?
The reality is grief
The truth behind the scenario is that we’re going through a time where we’re experiencing a lot of grief. Grief for the things that we’re missing out on. Grief for things that we’ve lost. Grief for the lack of physical connection. The list goes on. At the end of the day, everyone has a different way of dealing with this grief.
For some people, the answer may in fact be productivity. This is fine. If waking up early in the morning, getting your groove on, and hacking out your to-do list helps you deal with the heavy emotions you’re experiencing, good on you! We may be the same type of person.
But for others, the last thing they want to do is get on the productivity train, and that’s fine too. We don’t want to let this experience stop us in our tracks, but we must prioritize both our physical and mental health during this period. If that means taking a break, then we should welcome this break with open arms. It’s ok to complete our regular commitments and responsibilities and not spend our extra time on being productive. It’s also ok, if your business allows it, to take a break from your work entirely. Take a day to recoup.
You don’t have to decide all at once
With that being said, you don’t have to commit to being productive or not being productive. It’s ok to take it as you go, and decide what levels of productivity are appropriate for you as you progress through the stages of grief.
The world will one day go back to “normal,” but for now we have to embrace that for a while this is going to be our normal. We have to take the time to process this and to enable that shift in our minds in order to handle this transition into our new, temporary normal. And that’s the only thing that we have to be sure about right now.
So, take the time, be kind to yourself as you are being kind to others. Decide the level of productivity that will have the most positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Cheer on those that you know who are having their productivity highs. Be empathetic toward those who are taking a break from the productivity train and in return, those around you will show the same support and compassion.
During this period when we’re dealing with high levels of grief, you may feel pressured to be productive. However, desire for productivity may be the result of a yearning for normalcy. If productivity helps you achieve normal, I encourage you to stay productive and remember your self care. But if taking a break, or only completing your regular duties is what you need to process your grief, know that that’s ok too! We are not judging you. We do not view you as any less just because you’re prioritizing your mental or physical health.
This is a time for community. Know that there are people who will support you regardless of which path of productivity you choose.
I’m Kristen Westcott, a Business Growth Strategist and Operations Consultant for online entrepreneurs.
I am the founder and CEO of Kristen Westcott Media and I have been helping others with goal setting, time management/productivity and project management for over a decade – in the legal field, education sector and as an entrepreneur. My goal is to help entrepreneurs free up time to focus on the right things, so they don’t burn out.
I do this through strategic planning, project management and managing business operations. My gift, if I can boast a little here, is helping entrepreneurs take their vision and create an action plan so that they can be successful and scale beyond what they had imagined. I help break things down into manageable pieces so there is no overwhelm or frustration and nothing gets forgotten.
I truly believe there is a better alternative to feeling burnt-out, exhausted and miserable trying to keep up with your business’s day-to-day operations and I started my company to show other entrepreneurs what is possible when the backend of your business isn’t weighing you down.