When I retire, I’m going to take up fly fishing…

When the kids are grown and flown, I’ll start that new hobby…

When things calm down a bit, I’ll clean out that closet…


While I’m stuck in quarantine, I’ll improve my life, my business, my home, my relationships, my….


In 2018, I published a blog post called Productivity and Motivation: Do you GottaWanna to Get’erDone?


If we were all OKAY right now, I’d simply repost that article and call it done.


But, we’re not all OKAY now. We are under a global blanket of stress and uncertainty and death and fear and anger and frustration.



I am NOT OKAY. Are you?


My friend, Linda*, one of the most accomplished people I know, said that all she can do is stare at the wall and talk to the cats right now.


My friend, Cathy*, one of the most positive and upbeat people on the planet, was almost in tears about how much more difficult it is to perform her job remotely.


Even though I am worried that my business will not be solvent by the end of summer, I am spending all my time and money on a book that I’m giving away for free.


Many of us are NOT OKAY. Some of us are not behaving rationally (or productively) right now.


I should be working on that project I had planned in January that would enable me to launch a new product line.


I feel an unattainable pull, as Julie Bestry playfully put it, to “entertain and educate and dazzle your entire family, becoming a 24/7 cruise director on the Good Ship Quarantine.”


A few weeks ago, I posted a blog full of seven lovely ways to be productive during social distancing. I’ve done one of them.


Because some days I’m okay, and other days I’m just NOT OKAY.


I’m grateful to writers like Seana Turner who said, “Success will look different than it did two months ago.”


I’m grateful for Julie Bestry’s recommendations to be flexible during this “now normal”


If you’ll remember, I’m also trying to “practice gratitude” <insert sarcastic air quotes> right now. Harrumph.




What can the NOT OKAY people do right now?



Prioritize the “must-dos”


Eat. Sleep. Take your meds. Practice basic hygiene. Those who are working/studying from home must participate in Zoom meetings, answer emails, etc.


Do the things you must do to maintain existence for you and those with whom you are quarantined (be they human, furry, feathered, or scaly).


You may decide to stop here, and that’s okay.



Then, perform the “good-to-dos”


Physical activity. Laundry. House cleaning. Sunlight.


These are good things to do, but you cannot do them unless you have eaten, slept, taken your meds, and maintained what employment you can.


You may decide to stop here, and that’s okay.



Then, make some connections to other people.


Start calling friends and family members. Schedule Zoom-based happy hours with neighbors. Play a board game with your housemates. We are human beings and desire to connect with each other.


Reach out. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. They may be NOT OKAY.


You may decide to stop here, and that’s okay.



Then, see what you are motivated to do next.


I am a firm believer that action causes motivation, not the other way around. In this era of NOT OKAY, however, I think we need to be open to whatever rational or irrational actions we feel led to do (except for actions that violate social distancing and stay-at-home orders/recommendations, of course).


Leslie Josel, whose mission is to improve the lives of students, taught me a concept in one of her webinars called “attention residue.”  Here is how Leslie describes it:


Sometimes when a student heads home after school or goes to the library once the school day is over, they still have “gas in their tank” to continue at full speed to get homework and/or studying done. The attention residue is left over from being in school all day. And they can still forge ahead to keep working. ~ Leslie Josel


After performing your must-dos, good-to-dos, and have made some human connections, see what, if any, attention residue is present.


If you have some gas left in the tank, use it to do some of those keep-you-busy projects that seem to be filling our social media feeds right now. Or, clean out that closet. Or, download that free story book that I wrote. Or, watch a Captain Corona video.


If your tank is empty, that’s okay, too.


This post is done, my tank is empty. I’m going to watch many episodes of Criminal Minds on Netflix.


Be well, friends.


Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.