Monday 20th April 2020

There’s a lot of discussion about productivity of late.  It’s been argued that lockdown is a perfect time to create, and there’s evidence of historical creators using lockdowns to create great works of art.  There’s also the backlash to this, that people are under a lot of stress, and adding expectation to that stress is not a good idea.

But the argument seems too black and white to me,  especially when my own experience is a little more grey.

On the isolation aspect, I’m doing pretty well.  There’s part of me that ‘enjoys’ the restriction that isolation puts on me as it helps keeping me from being so easily distracted.

However, I have friends and family that are at risk from Covid and as a result, I’m doing a lot of emotional heavy lifting trying to keep them calm, safe and well.  That wears on me but does so via a low level anxiety that goes almost unnoticed.

As a result, my productivity is a little all over the place.  I’ve started doing a weekly review process, and whilst I’m still getting used to it, I am seeing the benefit.  It allows me to unemotionally look at the prior week and detail my wins and losses.  I often find I feel I’m all win or all loss based on my emotional state, so this introduces a sense of balance and allows me to see that bad weeks weren’t all bad.

Take last week for example.  I had a tough week last week.  I felt The Climb was a little all over the place.  My nicely constructed content framework went out the window, and I even had a couple of days where content went up late.

But at the same time, it did go up eventually.  My content schedule might not have been followed, but I got something up.  The schedule was always a guide aimed at never leaving me with nothing to write, but I’ve put up some significant posts.

My food has been terrible.  I’m eating way too many carbs which in turn impacts my energy levels.  I need to do some serious work on my lockdown fitness – I’ve been suffering a really bad back this past week from certain muscles weakening / locking up.

But at the same time, I’ve made progress on the novel rewrite.  I can see the result of a couple of weeks of research improve my storytelling craft.

I think the key here is best summed up by the phrase “given the circumstances”.  We live in a unique time.  History is literally happening around us.  And whilst it is scary and could go on for some time, it’ll pass.  As a result, things are not meant to be perfect.  Instead it’s about doing the best you can given the circumstances.

It’s OK if you are super-productive on some things.  For some people, the distraction of doing is what they need to get them through each day.  But for others, it’s too much.  That’s OK also.  Some days are easier than others.  Some tasks are easier than others, and that may differ from person to person.  That’s OK as well.

I do think it’s important to celebrate your successes.  If you’re being super-productive in one aspect of your life, I think it’s important to celebrate that.  But likewise, there shouldn’t be any guilt if you’re not productive.

I read something a few months ago which said you shouldn’t beat yourself up over your failings.  They’re in the past and you can’t change them, all you can do is move forwards.  I can aim this next week to be better on my food and fitness.  I can aim to get The Climb out on time.  I have enough stress that I don’t have any to spare for what didn’t go to plan in the last week.

I’m very much reminded of the time I went storm chasing and filmed a daily vlog.  It was difficult and fraught with problems.  I even lost a ton of footage one day.  There were other days where I didn’t have the time or WiFi to edit and upload.  It was rough, raw, but looking back at it…  damn, I love that I have that document of my travels  (especially where I now currently can’t travel).  History will be the judge of whether I was really productive or not.

Next week will have wins.  It will also have losses.  Some will be the same as this last week, some will be different.  The important thing is that I understand, and have given myself permission not to be productive if I can’t be.

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