Days starting to blur together? Conversation at home running dry? Has procrastination replaced productivity? You’re not alone.

Staying productive while we’re essentially locked up in our homes, away from our workspace and our people is challenging. But, to guarantee the safety of our friends and relatives who may be vulnerable to the virus, and to prevent overburdening our healthcare infrastructure, COVID-19 has made social distancing essential for everyone to practice.

With this in mind, we consulted experts in welfare, productivity and health over steps we can take to take care of ourselves, our capacity to be productive, and our relationships during this time.

1. Do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.

This is the minimum amount of exercise recommended by WHO on a general basis, but also with the restrictions COVID-19 has brought about. These recommendations can still be achieved even at home, with no special equipment and with limited space. You can follow an online exercise tutorial on youtube and other media platforms, or you can go for a walk (but keep your distance from others).

If you find yourself sitting at your desk (or on the couch) tapping away on a laptop or tablet for most of the day, seriously consider getting a heigh-adjustable standing desk. Minimising the amount of time you spend ‘sedentary’ (sitting, lying down), makes a drastic difference for your health. With a standing desk, you can quickly raise or lower your desk to alternate between sitting and standing throughout your workday, as our experts recommend.

2. Get back to basics: A good night’s sleep, an early rise

If you need a reason to shut off your screens for a night, consider your waistline, your working life, and ability to empathise. Health correspondent Jane E. Brody reports for the New York Times that more and more research shows how our sleeping habits affect just about every phase of our lives–be it life expectancy, decision making, or ability to learn. In other words, if your attitude is that you’ll sleep when you’re dead, you’ll soon be dead.

3. Write down your goals for the day
Make these goals as visible to you as possible. Write them down on your phone calendar, in a notebook, on sticky notes you can attach wherever you spend most of your time. For the overachievers: Try getting up super early (like 4 a.m. early)–it can do wonders for your productivity.

Remember: The key to success is the freedom to fail.

4. Spend time away from smart gadgets and play a board game with your family
“We don’t have anything to talk about” is a good excuse, but who cares about talking when you can play games and then fight over who should win! Not only is it incredibly fun, it’s very healthy for our minds, our chemistry, and also helps relationships (yes, even when it all ends up in a fight). Read here for a closer look at the dramatic benefits of playing games. 

One final tip before we conclude? Make that call. If a friend or a relative comes to mind, go ahead and check up on them. If you can, opt for a video call to keep those expressions alive and communicate more holistically, so take advantage of it! To conclude, we’d like to insist that you do not underestimate the virus and the effect that it can have on you and on our loved ones. Physical distance now helps us ensure that we can still all enjoy each other once this is over, We all have a part to play to get this over as quick as possible!

Maybe you are just looking for a part-time gig to supplement your income, or  maybe you are one step closer to your dream job. It is true: Without relevant qualifications – be that a diploma or a degree – it’s unlikely that an employer will actually consider you, much less invite you to an interview.

However, to stand out and land a job, what’s written on your CV isn’t going to cut it.

 

Here’s three things you need to start working on today:

 

1. Your appearance

 

Almost everyone knows the idiom: “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Our response? Tell that to Instagram.

 

It is a truth – not universally acknowledged – that people’s perception of you will be based on what kind of experience you offer to them. That means how you look, sound, act, your choice of clothes, hygiene as well as what you say, and how much you say, is going to build their impression of you. And that’s not evil or shallow, it’s human nature.

This is true everywhere, but especially true for employers. Employers must make important value judgments based on the information they get from a 10-20 minute interview. The wrong choice can mean thousands of euros go down the drain. That raises the stakes, and it reminds us: We don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.

We’re not suggesting you go ahead and start investing in botox, appearance is a lot more about what you do than how you look. Here’s some tips:

  • Give your body more of your time: that means paying attention to dental hygiene, clearing nails and using a deodorant.
  • Invest in your wardrobe. An easy way to do this is to find one colour you enjoy and then build your wardrobe around it. If you have a green jacket, complement with other green hues, or complement with a yellow-mustard sweater.
  • Add a fitness routine to your schedule. That can mean hitting the gym five times a week, it can also just mean going for power walks every couple of days. Exercise – whatever form it takes – allows us to release built-up aggression and pent-up frustrations, this will make you naturally more predisposed to good body language.

 

2. Your ability to hold up a conversation

Researching the company’s history and taking a look at their social pages is a great first step, but also take a look at news about the industry itself. We’re not saying you should go through 20 pages of google news, but having a general understanding of recent advancements, new technologies and rising challenges equips you with the material you need to ask insightful questions and provide impressive answers.

 

3. Your body language

 First tip? Stand tall. Judy Jernudd, globally-renowned leadership coach, recommends honing certain psychological behaviors, like walking upright and with confidence, which will make you seem taller than someone who is slouched over or walking with her head down.

Likewise, avoid folding arms, pursing lips, and tapping away with your fingers. Poor body language, such as playing with a pen, chewing gum, slouching, and even brushing back hair, can be a distraction. Make a conscious effort to adapt positive body language, this includes nodding, eye contact, smiling, and solid posture.

“As social creatures, we are programmed to notice the body language of others and scan for cues of safety and welcome,” relationship therapist, educator, and author Shadeen Francis told INSIDER. “Smiling is a universal signal for warmth, approachability, and attractiveness.” Need practice? Start by making your smile work for you. Go infront of the mirror and give yourself a smile.

Here’s two more tips from us:

 

The first person you should be giving your attention to is you

Attention is an exercise in intentional focus, take time to actively notice positive qualities about yourself, whether external characteristics or internal skills and qualities. When you spend time acknowledging these traits, you can experience them more fully and make them a stronger part of the experience you give to others.

It may seem silly, but repeating positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror or saying things that you like about yourself will help you validate those traits and value them in yourself. Acknowledging your best traits is as important as acknowledging your worst.

 

Accept, acknowledge and poke fun at your vulnerabilities

We all have stuff that we are sensitive about. For some, it’s a physical or speech impediment, for others, it’s a past event or recent problem they’re still getting over, and for many, it’s a habit they can’t quite stop. Instead of letting these things get under your skin, take some pressure off of yourself and remind yourself: don’t take life too seriously. Let yourself be honest and upfront about them, and explore ways you can make fun out of these vulnerabilities, and that’s where you hit gold.