How to stay productive during a crisis

It’s April 2020. The way the world is changing around us is affecting all of us in different ways.

There is anxiety, fear, sadness, frustration, and many different feelings coming to visit us. This happens not only during a global health crisis but during any personal life crisis we face. 

This post is about staying focused and productive during any life crisis, not only the current one. 

A note about productivity

We live in a world that promotes constant “do, do, do” culture rather than “be”. If we are to take a break for one hour, we feel guilty about not doing “something productive”.

I used to fall into this category. If I didn’t fill every hour of my day with work, learning, or any activity that I consider productive, I would feel restless. 

There would be a nagging feeling that I am wasting my time. 

But after learning that being productive doesn’t mean filling every waking hour with work, I learned to slow down. 

There should be a right balance between working and taking rest. 

Take an evening off if your body asks for rest. Stay connected to your body and listen to what it tells you. It’s the best way to avoid a breakdown later, where you will be forced to take rest and recover when you really don’t want to. 


It is possible to stay focused during such times even though it might require more willpower on some days. But with a certain amount of planning and self-discipline, we can make it possible. 

Let’s see what are some strategies to stay productive during a crisis.

Begin your day with intention

If you have been around for long, you must have heard me telling this many times. But I will say it again.

The way you begin your day has a huge impact on how productive the day is. 

If you start your day after a night of poor sleep, most probably you will feel lethargic and in a bad mood.

So try to start your day with a positive intention, so that you know exactly what to do and therefore you can stay focused.

How can you start your day with intention?

Plan your day in advance. 

Considering the fact you are facing a crisis, you may not always have the mental energy to do a lot in a day. 

But still, you need to get things done. In such times, it can help to ask yourself this question.

“What is the one task that if I can complete today, I can call it a win?”

That would be the most important task of the day. This task should be the one that helps to push the needle further. 

You can also fix a time to do this task so that you don’t procrastinate on it. 

When you are feeling low, it’s sometimes hard to get started, especially if you are a solopreneur because you are dependent on yourself to get things done. But that doesn’t mean everyone else has it easy. I know how hard it is to get out of bed on the worst days. 

But once you gather the strength to get started, you gain momentum and then you may feel motivated to move onto other “low priority tasks”.

So plan your day the day before or in the morning. During the face of a crisis, you may have to accommodate extra time for personal matters. So when planning your day, make sure you allow time for professional life accordingly. 

Related: Here’s why weekly planning is a surefire way to increase productivity

A businesswoman planning her day

Do endorphin-boosting activities

Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that are released in the brain to relieve pain and stress. 

Doing endorphin-releasing activities in the morning will help you to get started on a positive note. They are called feel-good chemicals because when these chemicals are released into our body, we feel energetic and happy. 

According to Medical News Today, people who have lower levels of endorphin in the body are likely to experience depression and fibromyalgia(more research is required in this area).

Depression can be seen in individuals who go through major life crises. So in order to boost your mood, engage in endorphin-releasing activities, especially in the morning. 

Because if you can manage your energy, your day will flow better. 

Here are some ways to boost endorphins.

Seek positivity

No matter what happens in our external world, we can always choose to keep our internal world positive. 

But how do you stay positive when there is so much chaos going on in your external world?

By turning your focus inward!

Your mind is the tool through which you view the world. 

You can find positives in any negative event if you learn to view your life events from a different perspective. 

Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. No matter what is going on outside, you can learn to remain centered if you learn to calm the inner chaos. 

Hope and positivity are always available inside if you learn to look for it. 

There are some tools I use to try to stay positive when things don’t go as planned in life. 


  • Meditation

I love my daily meditation practice because it helps me to control my thoughts. Meditation helps you to feel the consciousness that resides in you. When you become aware of this consciousness, it helps you to see your thoughts passively, as an observer who is watching from outside. This helps you to master your mind rather than becoming its slave.

Our minds have the power to overthink and make any problem seem worse than it is. We make the problem bigger than it is by thinking unhelpful thoughts. But when you can catch your thoughts right then and there, you learn to catch it before it escalates into a big source of stress.

If you make meditation a daily habit, you learn to center your mind and stay positive no matter what happens. 

Related: How to become more mindful and reduce stress

A woman doing meditation to stay centred

  • Consuming self-development material

I like to read self-help books and listen to podcasts to keep my mind positive. It helps me to keep my hopes up and stay positive no matter what happens in my external world.


I like to give myself 90 seconds and then start expressing gratitude for whatever I see in front of my eyes. Like,

– I am thankful for this laptop that helps me to type and do the work I love

-I am thankful for the air conditioner in my room that helps me keep cool in this hot weather

-I am thankful for the bottle of water that helps me keep hydrated and energetic

-I am thankful for the cozy bed and blanket that gives me a comfortable sleep

Ok. I just described what I see in my room. I can start from here and in 90 seconds I say thanks for all the small and big things in my life. And I also say thanks for the bright future that is coming for me even though it is not here yet. 

I learned this from Kathrin Zenkina of Manifestation Babe. This practice, even though sounds simple, can immediately boost your mood and is very powerful. Try it the next time you feel low.

Give yourself time to heal

When you are facing a crisis, not every day is the same. There would be days when it’s hard to even get out of the bed. 

Acknowledge your emotions no matter what and take time to sit with them. Bottling up your emotions is not good and stuffing will only make it come out stronger later or manifest as constant anger or depression. 

Emotions come up for you to heal and move on. So please stop judging yourself for having different emotions while going through a personal crisis. 

Stop constant worrying

There is a difference between allowing emotions and constantly worrying about a problem. 

If all you can think about is your crisis from morning till night, and if this goes on for weeks and months, you have a problem. 

If you are in a situation where you can try to change things up, you can do that. But if you can do nothing about it, try to change your attitude towards it. 

Therefore, setting some limits is essential to stay focused and productive during a crisis. Give yourself a time limit to think about the problem. And don’t let yourself be consumed by it after the set time limit. 

Suffering is inevitable in life, but it depends on each person how much resilience they can develop towards suffering and bounce back from the unfortunate events in life. 

Stop overdosing on the news (which is almost negative all the time) and constant Googling of your problem. 

Your mind has immense power and therefore you can stretch your thinking as much negative or positive as possible. I used to be a slave of my mind and would think of my problems all the time in life and be miserable all the time. 

But what I learned is, problems never end and challenges come your way one after the other. If I decided to think about it all the time, I would never be happy in life.

Instead, I began embracing positive thinking and it helps me pass miserable days in a better way. 

No matter what your situation is, good times always follow bad ones. Whatever you are experiencing will pass, therefore keep your spirits up by focusing on the positive times that are coming for you. 

In the meanwhile, try to stay engaged in your work and spend quality time with family. 

Related: 15 things happy people do differently

A businesswoman worried about a deadline

Set new goals

What I like to do to stay productive during a crisis is goal-setting. I know it’s the last thing on your mind when you are worried. 

But setting small weekly or monthly goals help you to take your mind off the problem and stop over-worrying. I set my goals in a way that I try to some needle-moving activities every day.

I don’t measure my success strictly in such times, but it helps me to stop being completely stagnant and take small steps all the time. I know I won’t be moving fast but progress is progress no matter what. 

If I fail to achieve the goal, I know I gave my best and that’s what I can do while fighting another battle inside. 

Take some time off 

Sometimes to stay productive, you have to stop working. When it’s too much for you and you feel tired, take some time off and take care of yourself. 

Indulge in healthy self-care activities like,

  • Get out in the sun
  • Go for a walk
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Indulge in beauty care routine
  • Read a good book
  • Eat a healthy meal


Whatever makes you feel good at the moment and feel loved is okay to do when you take time off. Even though it can feel difficult to take time off when you want to stay productive, it’s counter-intuitive.

When you take time off and recharge yourself, you will be able to do more focused work in less time. 

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