7 ways to pass your (COVID-19) time productively

Editor’s note: In response to the enormous disruption caused by COVID-19, Naphtali is offering a free, two-part webinar series this week for educators on the topic of mindset. Details in his bio.

As with folks in many other industries, educators have been deeply impacted by COVID-19. Many are stuck at home with little to do while they wait for the other coronavirus shoe to drop. 

Sure, we’ve been asked to prepare and deliver online classes, and have done so admirably, even if it’s far from our first choice. But still, there likely is a lot of time left in our days where we could be doing things that will make the best use of our time, curb cabin fever, and position ourselves for immediate success as soon as the storm passes. 

Here are some strategies for what to do with your newfound time:

  1. Work on that neglected project. We all have things that we’ve wanted to FOREVER, such as craft that intricate lesson, write that article or book, organize that event, whatever it is. Use the newfound time at your disposal to do that thing as if it was your actual job. Schedule it with meaningful time blocks and pursue it as if you have a deadline. Divide the job into chunks (such as X number of words typed per day) and stay focused on your goal until it is achieved. Set SMART goals to keep you on track.

  2. Read that book and/or take that course. Now is a great time to do that learning that you’ve been putting off. Whether the information you seek is tactical, like a new skill or how to use a tool, something in self-development, or a curiosity that has long interested you, go ahead and add new content and skills to your toolkit. 

  3. Rewrite your resume and LinkedIn profile. No one knows how this crazy situation will end. If you’ve been let go, worry that you might be, or just want to use this time to explore different opportunities, now would be as good a time as any to review and enhance your CV and LinkedIn profile. Prioritize the skills that are most valuable and transferable and make sure to emphasize the qualities, such as creativity, industriousness, collaboration and leadership skills, that most employers seek.

  4. Network like crazy. Use the time to make new connections and to get to know them. Send personalized invitations and, where appropriate, request time (virtually or perhaps in-person) to become better acquainted. There are many people out there like you -- leaders, teachers, even introverts -- with lots of time on their hands that will be more open than usual to connecting and going deeper than the standard online “handshake.” Get out there! 

  5. Add value. Whether you’re already connected with someone or want to become so, focus on adding value. This could be in the form of liking, commenting on and sharing their content. It could also include sharing your own, such as a lesson plan or effective teaching technique, in a way that improves others’ conditions. Doing this is a great way of demonstrating the usefulness of your connection and demonstrating why a deeper relationship would be mutually beneficial.  

  6. Find a mentor. If you want to take your life and career to the next level, get with someone who is ten steps ahead of you and can shorten your learning curve, point you in the right direction and make connections that will open up new opportunities for you. 

  7. Get organized. Many of us struggle with cluttered workplaces, especially if they were developed ad hoc as we scurried to get our new virtual workspaces set up. Use the time at your disposal to better organize your things, because a messy, disorganized workspace will lead to a messy, disorganized workflow and limit output.

No one knows when and how this craziness will end. But if you use the present gift of time to your advantage, you’ll be able to look back at it with added comfort knowing that you did your best to use the time wisely and position yourself for future success.

Naphtali Hoff, PsyD and president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting, is launching a series of free webinars for educators. The series kicks off March 17 at 11 AM ET with a discussion on mindset. Future sessions will focus on active learning and engagement techniques, clarifying learning objectives and classroom management skills. Learn more about Naphtali and his work by connecting with him on Twitter or at his website

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