One year is a long time. And this year has been a very, very long one.  

I don’t know about you, but the one-year anniversary of the start of the pandemic lockdown has been on my mind a lot this week. My memories of last March are vivid. It’s impossible to forget how frightening the beginning of lockdown was. So much was uncertain, and everything felt impossibly stressful. The following 12 months were filled with more virus-related uncertainty, to say nothing of the election and protests and everything else that made 2020 so…memorable.  

I think we’re all reflecting on our lockdown experiences right now. At the same time, there’s hope on the horizon. Vaccination rates are climbing while infection rates fall, and stories of people getting to hug their loved ones after a year apart are in the news every day.  

With all of that happening, it’s no wonder that you might feel distracted and restless right now.

Time management and productivity can be tough to navigate when you’re emotionally overwhelmed.  

But now more than ever, when a return to some sense of normalcy is within reach, I want to remind you that you can still get things taken care of. Keep moving forward with your work and your goals now so you’re able to really enjoy everything that’s coming up. By the time you can take that long-delayed beach vacation, or travel to visit the family you’ve been missing, won’t you want to be present in those experiences instead of worrying about what’s piling up in your office? 

I want you to be able to have the life you crave. The pandemic temporarily made some things unattainable for all of us, but I’m hopeful that we’ll all have more control over our lives very soon.  

So, yes, this anniversary is heavy. Give yourself space to process it. Mourn what you lost this year. And then, move forward. Take control of your time now so that when this difficult chapter is over, you’re ready for whatever comes next.  

To Boost Productivity, Break Through Procrastination and Overwhelm 

Procrastination and overwhelm have always been enemies of good time management. Stress makes them harder, so it’s natural that a lot of people have been really struggling with these challenges during this last year.  

To help you quiet all those pandemic distractions, here’s of a quick overview of my five-step system to bust through procrastination and overwhelm.  

1. Recognize what’s overwhelming you. Instead of running through an endless mental cycle of the things that are overwhelming you, write them all down. Get everything out of your head and into one place. Notice what’s most overwhelming you. 

2. Calm the inner fear. Procrastination and overwhelm are often tied up with a lot of anxiety and negative emotions. Be intentional about changing the mental conversation from “I’m never going to get this done” to “I can do the most important things, and I’m going to make a plan.” Taming that fear frees up space so you can focus on your tasks.  

3. Enable your routine and environment to support productivity. Are you surrounded by beeping electronics and noisy family members? Create a physical environment with minimal distractions that supports productivity. Also, have a flexible plan and routine for your week. Be deliberate about scheduling important tasks and time off on your calendar.  

4. Get support. None of us is an island. Asking for the support that you need is a huge part of breaking through overwhelm. This might mean asking your partner for help getting dinner on the table, or asking your team to take over certain tasks. Delegate and lean on your support system; many of the people around you are there to help. 

5. Keep restarting, as often as necessary. This process isn’t a quick fix for all your time management and productivity challenges. Things will keep coming up for you, and curveballs will keep getting thrown at you. You’ll need to fight through procrastination and overwhelm over and over, and that’s okay! As long as you have a system that includes plenty of support and restarting, you can keep moving forward with your goals no matter what life throws at you. 

I know this year has been brutal, even for those of us who have been relatively lucky.

And while better days are coming, we’re still in this thing for now. Isolation and lack of social support make everything harder. It’s easy to forget that you’re not alone with your struggles, and that others are going through the same thing.  

You can’t get too much support right now. I’m proud of the encouraging community I’m building through my True Focus Tribe Facebook group, and I hope you’ll join us if you haven’t already. You’ll find tips and strategies around time management and productivity, and be able to connect with other community members who are experiencing the same challenges you are. Join now so you don’t miss anything!  


Sarah Reiff-Hekking