Staying Productive during the Luzon lockdown

Rather than risk spreading COVID-19, the majority of the population has been compelled to stay indoors. Learn to stay productive and prepared, even at home.


Several companies have decided to implement alternative work arrangements in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the Philippines. This is by far, one of the best things that came as a result of this pandemic. For several years now, there has been a clamor for this type of arrangement to be considered in light of the country’s worsening traffic situation. Now, it finally became a reality to some members of the workforce.

However, not all companies in the Philippines are able to adopt the same remote work systems mainly because of infrastructure preparedness issues. Also, not all businesses can be operated remotely through flexible working arrangements like work from home. It also may not be feasible depending on the nature of one’s work, therefore many are left with lots of time on their hands.

This now begs the question: What can we do with this much time? Naturally, the possibilities are almost endless; with the help of the internet and modern technology, there are a multitude of indoor activities that anyone can engage in. However, is all of it productive? Can you ensure that all those activities will help you bounce back from this crisis when normal work life has resumed?


In this article, we have compiled a list of the 7 best ways to stay productive and get through this lockdown:

1. Read

While watching movies and binging TV shows is nice (especially now that you have the time for it), we recommend that you include reading in your schedule. It has many science-backed benefits, so it’s no surprise that people have enjoyed and even romanticized this for generations. In fact, you can relieve some stress by reading for just six minutes.

Skimming headlines and scrolling through your feeds don’t count, though! That will only cause you more fear and stress for this situation. We mean reading for pleasure, or learning. Whether you read physical books, e-books, or other online resources, getting truly interested and engaged in what you are reading will give you all of the good benefits. Just make sure to insert reading goals within your 24 hours. If you don’t know where to start yet, we suggest you read some useful material that can help you learn easily and conveniently. Stay ahead of the rest with the new things you’ve learned once things begin to normalize.

2. Call Friends and Family

Too often, we use the excuse of being “too busy” to keep in touch with the people that matter. Many of us are guilty that we have to choose work over connecting with friends and family. Now that majority of us are “stuck” at home, we suddenly have so much time in our hands. Let’s use it to invest in our relationships.

We need as much moral support as we can get in this confusing and worrying situation. Connecting with loved ones creates a win-win situation of getting the much needed social interaction and communication to stay healthy for both parties.

Apart from that, strengthening relationships with loved ones can actually boost immunity, among many other health benefits. In the same way, a strained relationship or lack of communication with loved ones may also reduce one’s immunity, as one study concluded that social relationships affect a person’s health. Given the “invisible enemy” of the war in this era, good health and immunity is vital than ever. For now, it remains to be the one thing that will give us a fighting chance.

3. Clean Up or Organize

You can choose to clean or organize your room, closet, files — any cleaning or arranging that you have been putting off due to lack of time. There are no excuses left now. You have the time, and you have the energy from staying at home.

Furthermore, a clean house helps prevent the spread of diseases, and now is the best time for disinfecting your house and personal items. Staying organized also has a number of health benefits, from reduced stress and better mental health, to improved workouts from increased physical activity.

Another study has also proven that clutter may weaken one’s focus, and therefore affect productivity as well. When a space is messy and cluttered the eyes will take in many items and distract the brain, making it all the more difficult to focus. To be productive, you have to be in creation mode – where your mind is also organized and free of clutter in the form of unnecessary thoughts. If you want to stop procrastinating, you can start by organizing your workspace and other key areas at home.

4. Watch Movies and TV shows you enjoy

Of course, we still need to keep the balance. All serious work and no play makes one dull and gray. Now is the time to indulge in watching your favorite show—without guilt. If you were fortunate enough to be with your family, this would also make for a great bonding experience. But, either way, this is good for unwinding and relieving stress. Staying in creation mode is key to productivity, but to do this, the environment and setting should be free of stress as much as possible.

As long as you are engrossed in what you are watching, whether you are using the internet to stream or download, or would rather stick to TV (local channels are currently airing their classics, if you want something more nostalgic), any genre of film can work wonders on your emotions and mindset. In fact, watching films is being turned into a kind of therapy, since the story and the scenes help influence a person’s thoughts and feelings.

Just make sure you don’t use all your time mindlessly binging shows. Use it to create variety in your day, not make it the center of your whole 24 hours. As always, too much of anything is not good for you, so taking things in moderation is the best thing to do.

5. Exercise

Again, now is the time to start doing the things you know you should do but lack the time to do them before. The best part about this is that you get both long-term and short-term health benefits from exercising, and they aren’t limited to physical health. You can get what is needed for you to stay healthy – mentally and physically, while fulfilling your body goals.

Now is a good time to do it, especially with the opportunity to get the right amount of sleep. No matter if you are still starting and trying to find a routine that works for you, or if you want to try something more advanced, recovery will not be a problem! Exercise can even help you sleep better by expending the energy you have, as well as improve your sleep cycles. A combination of regular exercise and better sleep will also result in more energy, so you can do both work-related activities and workouts.

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, though! You can hit two birds with one stone, for example. As seen in #3, if you do some spring cleaning or organizing, that counts as some physical activity (depending on how long) and a way to keep your house tidy. You also don’t need to complicate your workouts. Don’t be intimidated just because you don’t have gym machines or weights – cardio and aerobics hardly require those to be effective. Often just your own body, the floor, and gravity are the essentials. With technology and the internet at your advantage, finding what works for you shouldn’t be too difficult.

6. Get enough Sleep

Everyone seemed to be sleep deprived for the longest time. For all of those times you didn’t get enough sleep – especially to wake up early the next day to try to avoid traffic, now is a great opportunity to catch up with much needed rest. Remember, it’s only through sleep that our body fully repairs itself. Sleep has no substitute.

There is nothing and no one stopping you from sleeping in, but keep in mind that too much sleep can tire you out even more. Balance and moderation for everything is the key. Take note also that if you find it hard to fall asleep, winding down with your phone may do more harm than good. The blue light from smartphones can keep you awake, so you should stop using any devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Instead, read a good book, listen to some relaxing music or lullabies – anything other than using your devices. You can also choose to finish any parts of your nightly routine (like freshening up and taking any vitamins or other supplements), or make a few final preparations for the next day.

Commit to getting no less than 8 hours to put you in a better position to make a rebound once this crisis is over.

7. Meditate

Many successful people like Bill Gates find meditation as a great tool to help increase focus and have made it a part of daily routine. According to scientific research, it can help your brain stay young, help reduce stress, and improve memory.

The challenge is: How do you keep still and not think? This proves to be a burden to most busy professionals who cannot stop thinking about deadlines, problems, and other worries both at work and in life. Now is the perfect time to quiet your mind. Allow it to rest for a bit, just once in a day to free you of stress that may hinder you from productivity later on. Once you have successfully completed one meditation session where your mind is cleared up, you’ll understand just how much it helps with your work quality, and overall outlook for the rest of the day.

No matter what you choose to do, the 24 hours we get everyday will pass whether or not you are in a hurry. We are all dealt with the same cards here. It’s the decisions you make on how you play your cards that will determine your destiny in the days to come after the crisis. Time may have stopped now, but when everything falls back to normal (as much as possible given this crisis), it’s better to stay ahead.