Productivity During the Pandemic
I recently read an interesting article about the power of “low-stakes” productivity and how we seldom take the time to celebrate our small successes. Productivity during the pandemic looks very different from our standard vision. Our inability to create big successes convinces us that “if we haven’t perfected homemade sourdough, read three new books and written the next great American novel, we have failed quarantine.” A quote from Smarter Living, a publication from the New York Times. I had to laugh at that because it’s certainly true!
At the beginning of the lockdown phase this spring, I felt like a failure when I heard about all the ladies who had cleaned out their closets (and found joy!) a la Marie Kondo, organized their homes from top to bottom, and keep a diary of their daily pandemic life. For me, I simply couldn’t get motivated to do all that.
This quote kind of says it all in terms of putting this time in perspective:
“During this extraordinary time, we have to realize that everyone now has an additional part-time job that might be called Citizen of the Covid-19 Pandemic.” (Smarter Living, the New York Times)
Have we ever thought of that? How just working our way through this time is an accomplishment. That we’ve all made some fairly major and minor adjustments every single day. When put like that, I think we all have to give ourselves credit for the many “small wins” we’ve made. We have to celebrate that we made it, that we are able to change and grow.
Productivity in Gardening and Bread
So after reading this and other articles about productivity during the pandemic, I realized I had accomplished some small wins. I tried–and gave up on my sourdough starter. (Though I did make some incredible sourdough pancakes with the discarded sourdough batter!) I felt like my life revolved around cleaning up the flour in the kitchen and it was becoming WAY too hard to even find flour in the stores!
For the first time, I harvested strawberries from my raised bed garden. In the past, I picked them and we used some but they were often wasted. This year, however, I found a low sugar recipe for jam online and have made several jars. It’s the best jam we’ve ever had! I had to give myself permission to NOT take on canning with the strawberries but to enjoy the jam now. Canning is another one of those guilt trips brought on by the pandemic and fear of the future.
True, we ate a bit too much. On toast, on fresh bread, on ice cream (yum!), and while we didn’t gain the infamous “quarantine 15,” there is some work to be done for those few extra pounds!
Speaking of fresh bread, I did try a new easy no-knead bread recipe. It’s super easy, although a bit time-consuming, and is WAY too good to make very often! Lol!
Productivity and a Change of Pace
Probably the biggest win for me was slowing down a bit. After 30+ years of working in education, moving fast, putting in long hours, constantly dealing with crises, it has been a challenge for me to take it slow. I continue to do some consulting work in that field and have decided that that is plenty to keep my head in the game.
Right now, with the number of cases way too high in our state, we’re all sticking close to home. The occasional restaurant visit–outside, of course!–lots of walks, and trips to the grocery store and other small errand trips continue to be the norm in terms of “going out.”
For the first time, boredom has hit me hard. I want to travel. I want to shop. I want to go anywhere I want to go. I want to put on cute outfits and meet with people in person–not via Zoom. In other words, dress the whole body, not just the top half! Lol!
Can you relate?
Finally, I have to acknowledge the fact that my sacrifice is very small in the face of others dealing with COVID19. Folks who have lost their lives or a loved one to this horrible disease, front line workers who see the horror every day, our minority population who are dealing disproportionately with the virus…the list goes on. I realize that my boredom is nothing in the face of the hardships others have faced.
I’m working hard to stay busy and to enjoy the little things, and it is a struggle. If this is indeed the new normal, then I know I will have to make peace with it and take pride in my new vision of productivity during the pandemic. For now, I’ll continue to focus on appreciating the little things, the “small wins.” I hope you will, too.
Low Sugar Jam with Natural Pectin (Download the Free Jam and Jelly eBook)
Watch for future posts featuring summer-to-fall transitional outfits and fall fashion trends!