12 May Pandemic Productivity with a Pinch of Pop Culture and Personality
Time is an interesting thing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just ask Spiderman. Days run together,we’re trying to keep our anxiety in check,many things are at a standstill,we’re dedicating time to making sure our basic needs are metand we have extra jobs, like teacher and TikTok star. We have memes and others on social media telling us what we should be doing. If it has never been easier to save lives, then how come some of us are having a hard time with it? If there are so many things we could and should be doing, what does it really mean to be productive during this pandemic?
Well…that depends. What your pandemic environment looks like will determine your mental health needs and therefore what’s productive for you. Each of our personalities and preferences make our pandemic productivities different. So, let’s use a variety of approaches to think through it!
If you are a fan of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method™, you might ask yourself what sparks joy. People of the Enneagram persuasion might explore what moves them toward integration and security. If you’re interested in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), you might look at where you focus your attention and how you deal with the world: Are you more of an extrovert, focused on the outer world of people and things? Or are you more of an introvert, focused on the inner world of ideas and impressions? Are you more judging, taking a planned, organized approach? Or are you more perceiving, taking a flexible, spontaneous approach? If none of those appeal to you, you might ask yourself: What energizes me? What rejuvenates me? What helps my body feel its best? What helps my mind feel clearer? What helps me experience acceptance, security, and attentiveness? Maybe those questions aren’t your jam either. You might try reflecting on your memories and experiences. If so, you could think about the aspects that made a difference during a time you felt your best and/or were so in the zone you lost track of time. And some of you out there may choose option E: All of the above.
Reflections like these can help us each identify the activities, environments, and people that address our needs and bring satisfaction. With this information, we can determine our pandemic productivity combination. So, if writing the next great play or novel is productive for you, go for it! If using your creativity to keep your usual routine satisfies you, great! If sitting on the couch addresses some of your needs, do it! Things that bring fulfillment and align with our way of being can help reduce our anxiety, boost our mood, and give us more energy for the demands of this unique time. This is why personalized pandemic productivity matters!
My pandemic productivity involves communicating with friends and family, taking social and physically active breaks at work, watching my favorite shows, and checking things off my to-do list. What does your pandemic productivity look like? (Bonus points if there’s a meme for part of it!)
Janay Whittaker, APC, is a counselor at CHRIS Counseling Center – DeKalb. For an appointment contact intakeccdekalb@CHRIS180.org.