The Productivity Crisis During The Lockdown

Naim Ahmed
6 min readMay 2, 2020
empty desk metaphor or something deep — Image credit @lishakov

Note: I did not read this through so if there are any mistake or grammatical error or this whole thing does not make any sense at all please understand I do not care.

Majority of the world is currently in lockdown. Businesses have closed, employees that can have to work from home, those that can’t have either been laid off or on some form of a government scheme to ensure their jobs are safe. Across the globe the streets of major cities, tourist attractions have all come to a halt. We are living in a pandemic and the way which we defeat the Coronavirus is stopping the spread. This has meant the public all across the globe have been told to stay at home and only leave their house if it is absolutely necessary. We are in a lockdown.

So Much Free Time

With everyone having to stay indoors and with schools and jobs closing, a lot of people have found themselves with plenty of free time. The problem that comes with that is people need to feel like they have to make use of this time and be productive. Well, in this story I will go over ways in which they can go about being productive without needing to make sure they are making use of this free time but not feeling like they need to be doing something useful 24/7 with the time they find themselves locked indoors.


Most people have some sort of schedule in one way or another whether it is a student with times set for their lessons, lectures or labs or, an employee going to their 9–5 job during the week. Majority of the people affected will have had some sort of schedule before the pandemic hit. Schedules are something that can be hit or miss with people, some love having a schedule while others detest it. I want to explain why in my opinion you should try to implement a schedule during this lockdown

Let’s be honest, no one expects you to be productive during this lockdown. There is no need to feel down because you haven't learnt to speak Spanish, cooked 100 new dishes, read 20 books or started your own side-hustle. DO NOT LET PEOPLE MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT! These are unprecedented times for all of us. Yes, maybe the introverts are finding it easier than the extroverts but this is a scenario which most of us have never dealt with before in our lives.


Setting out a schedule even something as simple as ensuring you wake up and go to sleep at the same times is a great start. Not having to go to work doesn’t mean you should stay awake till 3 AM scrolling through Twitter. Yes. perhaps now you don’t really need to be going to bed at 10 pm to wake up at 6:30 am but you should still stick to a good sleep schedule. Maybe, going to sleep at 12 am and waking up around 8 AM/9 AM. You still get your 8 hours of sleep and still have a majority of the day to make use of. Makes a change from going to sleep at 3 AM and waking up at 2 pm. Get enough sleep but don’t stay in bed any longer than you need to.

Work Times

Like I said you do not need to be productive all 24 hours of the day or even 8 hours of the day or even 5. If you are just starting out, break it down to as little as 1 hour a day where you are doing something productive or useful in your mind. You could start as small as reading the book you bought last year for 15 mins. Perhaps watching a 30 minute documentary on Youtube/Netflix and tidying your room for 15 mins. That could the most productive things you do that day. It may not seem like a lot but being productive for 1 hour a day is better than not doing anything at all. At this point, you might want to set out times where you do things. When you wake up at 9 am you may want to incorporate a morning routine. You could set out the first hour of your day ensuring you’ve brushed your teeth, made your bed and tidied your room. Simple as that. You could allocate time each day where you do some bodyweight exercises at home. Say at 11 AM each day you decided to do 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups and 20 squats. You may allocate 30 minutes for this. The best thing you can do for yourself is making this something you do each day at the same time so it starts to become a habit where at 11 am its exercise time.

Reward Yourself in Moderation

Reward yourself for doing something productive. Watch Netflix for the next 2 hours, I mean there isn’t else going on but do not go overboard. following the previous example set out a chunk of your day say 7pm-9 pm to just watching Netflix. During these 2 hours, you can stay in bed and just binge watch Netflix to your heart's content but ensure you don’t fall into the trap of “just one more episode” and next thing you know you’ve already finished the season. This is an easy way of falling off. Take breaks. Perhaps after every 1-hour episode do something productive for the next 30 mins before starting the next episode. Start a timer for 30 mins and just find something to do like, organising your wardrobe, throwing away old stuff, reading crap medium stories like me etc.

A list of ideas:

Heres a few of the things you could do to try and be productive with your time in lockdown.

  • Learn about topics such as economics, politics — Youtube is a great resource
  • Learn a skill such as coding even if you don't actually get into it just try to understand the concepts
  • Read more, whether that it books, articles, news stories just read
  • Write, like me doing these crap medium stories. Hey, who cares if it doesn’t make any sense.
  • Journal — Maybe this is a great time you start journaling and writing down your thoughts and feeling during these crazy times.
  • Listen to podcasts — There are many great podcasts with a variety of different topics such as current events, politics, tech etc and you can listen to the podcast while also doing something else so double win.
  • Limit social media usage — you may not wanting to hear about the coronavirus 24/7 so now could be a good time to try and limit the amount of time you spend on social and try finding others things to do.
  • Self-reflecting — Now could be a great time to look back and have a good talk with yourself now that you are alone. See what you're currently doing, ask questions of yourself of where you want to be in life, what you want to be doing.

I can’t be bothered trying to think of more but there are countless things you can do with all this free time even at home from your own computer. Remember, do not feel bad because you don’t think you are being productive or making use of this time because people on the internet are. Go at your own pace. It is okay to have bad days where you just feel like shit. Take it a day at a time and know this will be over soon and hopefully, life can return back to some sort of normality.

Well, well, I have finally decided to write my first story of the new year just 5 months later. Yes, it is currently May and I was meant to have written 8 stories by but like many other things that have currently happened I am blaming the Coronavirus for me not being able to write. Though it hasn’t really affected me I am taking this opportunity to blame COVID-19. Also, I cba reading this through and I am pretty sure this story does not make sense but fuck it, I wrote some words on a page and I am taking it.