3 Quarantine Habits I’m Keeping to Boost Productivity

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Inc. here.

I’ve talked to lots of folks recently about how the pandemic has changed them personally and professionally. It’s no revelation that the past 18 months have been incredibly challenging, but along the way, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves. We’ve adapted. We’ve changed. And there’s no doubt that some of these behavioral changes are worth hanging onto.

Now with the U.S. squarely in its reopening phase, many of us are thinking about how to keep our best “quarantine behaviors” for the long term – whether related to wellness, productivity, or otherwise. Here are a few that I’ll be keeping myself:

Blocking my calendar for deep work

My pre-pandemic calendar was always stacked. Lots to do. Lots of travel. And never enough time in the day to stop and think.

The past 18 months have allowed me to flip the script. Now, I reserve chunks of my day for the tough stuff. To tackle the challenges that require my deepest thinking and concentration.

It’s uninterrupted bliss. It’s regularly scheduled. And it really works.

Making time for movement

Whether it’s walking one-on-ones with Drift teammates, or just stepping outside for a change of scenery, long walks have long been a regular part of my days. I’m a natural processor, and walking is one of those in-between times that spark new ideas and provide clarity.

Before the pandemic, many of you probably relied on in-person meetings, seated around a big conference table.

Over the past year+, these meetings turned into Zooms, or walking phone calls. And now I think we all sense the incredible value of simply taking a walk to think or connect – without distraction.

Turning off the news

During the pandemic, it was so easy to get swept away in the news. For me, about five or six years ago I was completely consumed with it. Death counts. Flooding. Tsunamis. Disease. Every story was terrible (I think it was the BBC that finally did me in).

I realized that it was killing me, so I gave it up.

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because now I can focus on the things I want to think about. We use a lot of cognitive resources reframing the negative news coverage into something positive. It’s a lot of work for little return, so I choose to avoid it altogether.

Learn about DC’s news fast, how it’s helped him focus on what’s most important, and why it’s the ultimate mood builder in this episode of Seeking Wisdom.

We’re all so connected – if something big happens, you’ll find out. I’m not prescribing this change for everyone. And this doesn’t mean I’m not getting my news in other ways – I’m just not consuming it directly. I listen to podcasts, like Kara Swisher’s “Pivot” and “Sway.” I read newsletters, like Shane Parrish’s Farnam Street. And I get ideas from Harvard Business Review.

There’s obviously a lot about 2020 we’d like to leave behind and never revisit again. But I urge you to think about the changes you’ve made. Why you made them, and how they may help you going forward in your work-life, and life-life.

Want more leadership lessons like this? Listen to all of the Seeking Wisdom episodes here