David Quinlan
4 min readMay 21, 2020

COVID got you down? Here are four ways to help you re-energize your day

Over it.

Don’t get me wrong — I am incredibly grateful for my family, health and employment — but I am completely over the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are days when I feel like every ounce of energy has been sucked dry. Finding the motivation to workout, complete a home project, or write a blog requires some serious self-discipline and drive. And when you’re not motivated, good luck.

So how do you get over the rut?

I found four ways that helped me break out of the day-to-day drag and lead to better habits and increased productivity. The best part is that each method takes less than 30 minutes!

Do a mind sweep

If the days are starting to blend together and your tasks and responsibilities are adding up — odds are you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and unmotivated. A mind sweep is a great first step to alleviate the pressure and help clear your head.

First introduced to me by veteran business coach and New York Times best selling author David Allen, the mind sweep is a critical first step in the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology for stress-free productivity. Simply grab a pen and paper or open your Evernote and start writing down, rapid-fire, any task or must-do on your mind. This could be assignments at schools, tasks at work, phone calls to make, emails to answer, errands to run, goals to set, articles to read — write it all down and capture it one place. You can organize later, but the simple process of capturing everything that’s on your mind will help you gain control and find relief in your head.

To learn more about the GTD methodology and the mind sweep, checkout my interview with David Allen on YouTube.

Meditate

Trust me, this works and can help with sleep. I’ve started meditating for 10-minuites each day including some mornings. There’s a ton of free apps out there that can help get you started. I’ve used Head Space and Calm and both have free seven-day trials. You can browse different topics like combatting stress, dealing with anxiety, or peaceful piano.

Meditation can give you clarity, add a sense of calm to your day and help decrease anxiety. I’m not religious about how often I meditate, but I do find immediate mental relief after a ten-minute session. My partner uses the same technique before going to bed which helps him clear his head for a more restful sleep.

Journal

I started keeping a journal in business school to help capture those ‘aha’ moments and ideas during lectures and readings. It turned out to be one of my favorite habits as I often reflect on those moments to help find motivation and discover ideas. Typically, I journal 3–5 times a week using my Remarkable device or in a notebook.

When I journal, I try and capture ideas, thoughts, and emotions that I can reflect on including positive and negative experiences. I found that writing down my daily ‘aha’ moments not only alleviates stress, but it also helps with productivity by building upon ideas that I’ve had captured. There’s been tons of studies on how writing can help with mental health and I find that during this pandemic, it’s been one of my go-to techniques to help light that inner fire and get me off the couch.

Organize today, tomorrow

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to productivity. That being said — I’m also pretty lousy at it. I really do love the idea of being organized and productive, but so many times I fall off the wagon.

When I read Organize Today Tomorrow by Dr. Jason Selk, Tom Bartow and Matthew Rudy, I was able to stay the course a bit longer. In the book the authors reveal eight ways to help you stay focused and productive. The most helpful strategy is what the authors call OTT or organize today, tomorrow.

At the end of each day I spend a max of 15-minutes organizing what I need to get done the next day. I list three items including one ‘I must’ and make a note of it in my calendar. The goal is to complete my ‘I must’ task and at least attempt to tackle the other two items. What I like about this strategy is that it forces me to focus on the one thing I need to get done each day. This is a great way to attack a goal or prioritize your day.

Feeling better?

At the end of the day it’s about finding what works best for you. I don’t suggest doing all four methods the same day because that can become overwhelming and seem like a chore. The key is to find something easy to do and provides the greatest return. Try one method for a week and see if you can put your mind at ease and find that inner drive to help you attack the next day.

Finally — it helps to have an accountability partner to help pump you up. Blogger Suttida Yang motivated me to write this blog and always encourages me to write and share my experiences with others. A simple check-in text from her helps me stay on point.

So, while this coronavirus pandemic completely sucks and makes us all a bit stir-crazy, don’t let it overwhelm you. Take back your day even if it requires just a few minutes of your time.

David Quinlan

Marketing and Communications Executive. MBA. Storyteller. Brand Strategist.