I think we’re all just a little too hard on ourselves. A lack of productivity and motivation is only natural when in lockdown. As a student taking classes, the sheer amount of time I had to complete work somehow made it all the more overwhelming. There is no longer a clear distinction in our time. We’re not at work or in a classroom anymore. For a lot of people, everything that’s done is done at home, and that makes it difficult to distinguish between our activities. If your favorite couch is where you watch T.V., eat lunch, finish work, and take a nap, then that couch has something of an identity crisis, as funny as that sounds. It’s the same as why sleep psychologists urge people not to eat, watch shows, or do too many other things in bed; the bed is meant for sleeping, and too many other activities can confuse your mind and make sleep both harder to achieve, as well as less effective.
I think all of this naturally leads to something of a cognitive slump. It’s hard to be motivated when everything is just…that couch. The way this pandemic started is very different to how we are now, and we need to acknowledge that there is an honest difficulty in the isolation of our homes, even if we do have some company.
I wanted to share something I have been trying to do, which is the, “do one thing,” rule. When the list of things you feel like you should do is piling up, try just doing one thing at a time. In theory, you only ever need to worry about the problem directly in front of you, so if you do things one at a time you only ever need to worry about one thing in a given instance. It sounds silly, but it works for me, and if you feel similar to how I have been feeling these months, I urge you to give it a try. Take for example, a basket of clean laundry. Say it feels daunting to not only fold each individual article of clothing, but to also put each item in the correct shelf, or on the right hanger. Instead, just view the shirt you’re folding RIGHT NOW. In this instance there is nothing for you to think about other than that one shirt you are folding. In essence I am just tricking my mind to do things without worrying about their magnitude, but it has helped me a lot to do so, especially at a time when it is easier than ever to just sit on the couch and not do anything at all. If you’re struggling with starting things because of the sheer number of things you need to do, try doing one. Once you do one thing once, you can do it again and again until suddenly you look at the list of things you need to do and you’ve finished.