How to: Stay productive during the lockdown! (COVID-19)

Here is my video:

[Here the transcription]


You might be this kind of person: [very productive person], or this one [lazy person eating chips on the couch] or you might be so confused, right now, that you are not really sure and keep asking yourself “What am I supposed to do now?”.

Well, whoever you are, keep watching this video, because I am going to give you 20 tips on how to stay positive and productive during these days of quarantine.

Hello U.Y.Peeps, my name is Minie and if this is your first time on my channel, welcome to Upgrade Your Performance!

Whether you are an actor, a musician, a dancer or a comedian, U.Y.P. is the online training specifically tailored around the needs of performers.

Most certainly, all of your gigs for the next few months have been cancelled because of the Coronavirus outbreak (Yeah, I can relate).

What now?

First of all: keep calm. Take it one day at a time.

Here I give you 5 steps (with 4 tips each), starting from the most self-oriented, that focuses on yourself and your basic needs, to the most outgoing one, where you reach out to the world.

You decide when you are ready to proceed to the next step, at your own pace.

Step 1: Stay healthy.

I know, I sound like an Italian grandma, but this is more important than you think, and I bet that you are missing one or more of these tips.

1. Get some fresh air. This doesn’t mean “go out”, it means: open your windows, even if it’s cold and rainy outside, let the oxygen come into those rooms, otherwise your brain will never be able to function properly.

2. Drink plenty of water. Most likely you are not moving as much in quarantine, so your tummy really needs that water to keep functioning properly. I’m not going to be more specific, otherwise, I become gross.

3. Keep your wake-up alarm on. Choose your day off, when you can relax; apart from that day, push yourself out of the bed regularly, at the same time every day.

4. Keep moving, do some workout at home. Here I link my online Zumba classes, in case you are into Zumba or want to try it. Any type of workout is better than nothing!

Step 2: Don’t let it break you.

This situation is new to all of us, and it really sucks, and whether you are aware of it or not, it does have a psychological impact on your life.

I am not a psychologist, so if you feel like you need to talk to someone, please do so. My tips will never substitute the work of a qualified professional.

But certainly, these tips helped me, in these days, coping with all this drama. So I hope they can help you too.

5. No PJs. You don’t have to dress fancy, but it’s fundamental that you do not wear your pyjamas all day long. It’s ok if it’s your day off, or if you are Bridget Jones. Otherwise, keep dressing as you do normally, keep showering, please…

6. Do not check your socials, or the news, while you are working. Use the lunch break for it, or once you finish your working day; constantly checking the updates, and the posts, and the comments, and the articles, it will just distract you, demotivate you and freak you out.

Once you start working, leave the rest of the world out.

7. Check your last year’s diary, and write down all your achievements, the big and the small ones; write down the challenges that you had to overcome to achieve those accomplishments.

Rest assured that, once this whole situation will be over, you will still be able to reach those and many more goals. You did it once, you will be able to do it again.

8. Give yourself time. It doesn’t matter if everyone else seems stronger; they might be positive on socials and keep very active. But you don’t know if they already processed the psychological effects of this pandemic, if they just pretend that they did, or if they will in the next few weeks.

The truth is: we are all different and we all react differently to the problems in front of us.

Just take your time to process the changes in your life.

Step 3: Plan.

Now that you stopped wondering around your house like a ghost, it’s time to use these days at home to create a strategy.

9. Work with blocks. Have you ever heard of block scheduling? Basically, you plan your tasks in blocks of 2 or 3 hours, instead of planning hour by hour.

Blocks are very useful if you want to be productive and get things done, without the pressure of having to complete a task within an hour. Some tasks might need less, some tasks might need more than an hour.

9 to 12, 1 to 4, 4 to 7. This is just an example on scheduling your day with blocks.

10. Set some alarms during the day, to remind you when the blocks start and finish.

This will give you a pace and it will remind you of the passing of time. Which is very useful especially if you’re not working in front of a window all the time and you don’t realise what time of the day it is.

11. Organise your material. During the quarantine you might have extra time, and this is a great opportunity to review your documents, organise the hard copies, clean up your folders, the physical and the digital ones.

12. Right now you might not be able to achieve much, but you can get a head start on future goals; if you plan your time properly, and invest this time in studying, researching and more, as soon as we will be back to normal you will achieve those future goals much faster.

Step 4: Create.

You are planning your time ahead, but you can’t go out nor socialise with others. What can you use that time for?

13. Study. Keep your technique fresh and rehearse regularly, because when you work from home is very easy to let time pass and get rusty.

14. Research. You finally have time to watch videos, read articles and books on performers you admire, on the trends of your industry, on events that will – hopefully – take place between 6 and 12 months from now.

15. This is the best time to set up a new repertoire or new arrangements of your repertoire. Get creative!

16. If you have the means, you can do some new recordings. Some studios might even allow you to get a professional recording if you go one person at a time.

Step 5: Connect.

Reach out to your community, to your fans. In this situation they might be very sad, very anxious, or very bored, and seeing what you’re up to will definitely entertain them.

Isn’t it our goal anyway?

17. Do not try to expand your network and get gigs. I repeat: do not try to get more gigs. In fact, right now venues are closed, sometimes they don’t even know if they will be able to open again. Contacting them and asking for a gig now is just pointless, and most likely very annoying.

18. Update your marketing material. Do you have business cards? Are they updated? Is your website updated? What about the descriptions and the profile pictures on your socials? If possible, try to freshen up those things, it will show that you are still active despite all.

19. Keep posting on socials. If it’s not pictures from new gigs, because we are not performing right now, you can always post pictures and videos from past performances.

20. Go live, properly. Everyone is streaming live right now, with all possible platforms…that’s good, keep going, but I recommend you do it right.

One thing is an improvised live video, another thing is a curated live video.

Lighting is crucial and seeing those yellowish videos filmed with the light of one, poor solitary ceiling light, with heavy curtains at your back, it just feels claustrophobic for those who are watching.

Set up some decent lights and if you don’t have them, buy them online now.

And if you can’t afford to buy professional lights right now (which I get!), open those curtains and put your camera in front of the window, so that you can film with the daylight.

Even if you think that filming with a curtain at your back is tidier than filming with a mess behind you, no. You’re wrong.

Lighting is crucial, and seeing those yellowish videos filmed with the light of one, poor solitary ceiling light, with heavy curtains at your back, it just feels claustrophobic for those who are watching.

And they don’t need to feel any more claustrophobic than what they already do, right?

I am going to do another video about this, because I’m seeing so many live videos, that are great initiatives, don’t get me wrong; but they could be done differently and would probably attract a lot more people as well.

Maybe I could do a series of short videos, on block scheduling, on how to do your homemade live videos, on how to organise your documents…what do you think?

Let me know in the comments below if you would like more of these videos and give this one a big thumbs up if you too want to stay active during this lockdown period.

Stay safe, ciao!

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