Are you struggling with ‘Covid Productivity Guilt’?

Are you comparing yourself to others and feeling that everyone else is more productive than you?  If so, you’re not alone.  Last week, I sent out an email to many of my contacts asking them a variety of questions about how they’re coping during lockdown.

Several of them reported that they are feeling guilty for not being as productive as everyone else.  There is a lot of information out there at the moment on social media with endless suggestions about how to use this time more “wisely”. There are a whole range of posts about how we ‘should’ use this time to organise our homes, learn a new instrument, take up painting, learn a new language, do an online course, write a book … the list goes on and on….  This pressure to be super productive can be exhausting for many!  It’s also important to be aware that creating this level of distractions can often be a way of masking anxiety.

If things have been brought to a stop for you or you find yourself with lots of spare time on your hands, then maybe this is a good time to get creative.  It may be the perfect time to upskill or learn something new.  We are all trying to adjust to a very different reality now, one that looks completely unique for each of us.  You may be working from home and trying to adjust to that or perhaps you have been laid off.  You may be a frontline worker dealing with the everyday challenges that this virus has brought. Perhaps you have children at home which has left you trying to manage a whole new set of demands like juggling work, home-schooling, exercise and everyone’s overall wellbeing.  Everyone’s situation is different, therefore the way each person deals with this crisis will also be different so there is no one size fits all approach.

Based on the feedback that I received from my family, friends and clients, along with my own experiences, I have developed 5 tips to help you to take the pressure off during lockdown:

  1. Set your own pace

This pace is different for everyone.  Some have more time on their hands right now than others so go at the pace that works for you and your family.

  1. Establish your own routine

Don’t get me wrong, routines are really important. The key is to create a new routine that will work for you but also not to be too rigid with your routine.

  1. Look at what you can control

There is so much we can’t control right now.  It’s important to establish what you can and can’t control; making a daily list of each. Accepting the things that you can’t control will help to reduce stress.

  1. Stop comparing to others

Getting through this very challenging time with the best mindset possible is so important so please give yourself a break and stop comparing to others!  Remember what works for one person might not work for another, so if you find that baking that sourdough works for you, then that’s great, get baking. If you feel motivated to write that book then go for it but bear in mind that we are all different, each with a unique set of circumstances so what works for each of us will also be different.

  1. Limit social media

Whilst these inspirational posts that ask to be the best versions of ourselves are great, just know that what the best version of ourselves is right now is different for everyone.  If, for you that means learning a new language that’s great, however if you have days where just getting through the day in one piece is the best you can muster up, then be kind to yourself and allow yourself that during these strange times.

Who cares if you’re not ‘home schooler of the year’, you haven’t mastered the perfect sourdough bread or learnt how to speak Spanish!  Remember we are all doing our best and what that means right now is different for everyone.  What’s most important at the moment is to look after your own mental health and wellbeing so please stop beating yourself up for not being superhuman!




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