Coexisting with Covid-19

Coexisting with COVID-19 – Can We Still be Productive in 2020?

So much has happened since COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has hit us. Sorry to my blog readers for not posting for so long!

It has been a difficult time in working in the frontlines as an Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care Physician and it has been a privilege to be able to help take care of these patients in need.

In this post, I want to update you on what has been going with the site and my personal life since COVID-19 hit. I’ll show you how it’s affected me and then how I’ve been coexisting with COVID-19 while attempting to maintain productivity. Maybe some of these tips can help you stay productive during this pandemic as well.

Site Name Change to Zen Productivity

The first thing you will notice is that the website name has changed from Physician Zen to Zen Productivity (with new domain name! I was approached by many readers who were non-healthcare workers, attorneys, and even high school/college students regarding productivity techniques.

In order to generalize these productivity habits and practices to more people who may find it useful I decided to change the site name to Zen Productivity in order to help any busy professionals with productivity. Don’t worry all of the links from Physician Zen have been transferred to this site.

Going through the Mental Stages of COVID-19

Many of you may be feeling quite discouraged during these difficult times.

Here is an amazing diagram I saw on twitter that sums up the stages I was going through during COVID-19. I think many of you may find it helpful as well. I’ll go through how I felt and went through each of the COVID-19 stages/zones.

COVID-19 Stages

Initial COVID-19 Fear Zone

The Initial Scare

I definitely experienced the Fear Zone in the first 2 weeks of March as we were becoming aware of how devastating COVID-19 was going to be.

I was actually feeling really down as I’m sure many of you were. I mean the whole world was put on hold and so many people were dying!

Travel Plan Cancellations

I’m sure everyone has had to cancel many of their travel plans. We were supposed to travel to Las Vegas but got this notice from the hospital the day before traveling:

Notice I got from the Hospital on March 9th, 2020

In addition, my family finally got the southwest companion pass finally and 2020. We were excited since the kiddos were finally getting old enough to travel comfortably and enjoy it. Four trips were scheduled between March and June, of course, all of them were canceled. In fact, we are supposed to be in Cancun right now!

Productivity on HOLD

Personally, I had little enthusiasm for writing or productivity. Excercise also grinded to a halt since all the Yoga studios and gyms got shut down.

It was odd because despite being at home (in isolation for days after my hospital shifts), I could not motivate myself to be productive.

Feeling Helpless

I had a feeling of helplessness and a lot of worry about COVID-19 affecting my family, parents, and friends. I was definitely feeling tense, irritable, and concerned about everything that was going on.

It felt wrong to not have any control over what was going on, especially seeing all of the patients AND healthcare workers getting infected. The death rates around the world were haunting.

Coexisting with COVID-19 – Learning and Growth Zones

About the third week of March while being isolated and after working in the ED and ICU, I started going through the Learning and Growth Zones of COVID-19. I wanted to learn as much about it as possible to see if there was anything I could contribute to the world given my own personal skills.

How You Can Still Contribute During COVID-19

Some of you may or may not know, but I specialize in Point-of-Care Ultrasound education at my hospital. I started reading about how people are using ultrasound around the world to help detect and manage patients with COVID-19. So I decided to create another blog called POCUS 101 and write about how to perform and interpret ultrasound in COVID-19 patients.

It started gaining traction fairly quickly and so I have been putting most of my writing efforts towards that ultrasound blog since I felt that was where my skills/talents would be most helpful to the world. And hence, why there have not been as many blog posts on Zen Productivity. I’ve been thinking about starting that blog for a while now and finally had the chance to do it.

Some things to consider during COVID-19:

  • Maybe there is a special skill or knowledge that you can share with the world during this time
  • With more time at home you can start honing in on a skill you have been meaning to master
  • This might be one of the few times in your life where you have more time for deep thinking and deep work
  • Consider starting the revamping your home workspace (click here to get started)

Being Productive with Work – Efficiency of Online Meetings

I got back on track with productivity full force and realized how efficient online meetings were. It is no substitute for actual face to face meetings but it is a great alternative with many advantages.

I can be conferencing with people from any location and many different time zones. Even my kids were on Zoom with their school teachers each morning!

In addition there is no travel or commute time for online meetings which further saves time.

I’m glad that the world has found a safe way to still be productive and collaborate with each other through online meetings.

I was able to maintain my productivity with academic and blog post writing more so than I ever have in the past. Also, being at home helped me optimize my physical/digital workspaces even further.

It does get mind-numbing staying in front of a computer all day so make sure to get up, stretch, and take walks outside to reconnect with the real world.

How have you found online meetings to be? Are you still able to stay productive with your work during this time?

Self Care – Staying Healthy during COVID-19

Maintaining self-care was quite tough for me at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I started letting my diet slip and stopped exercising since all of the yoga studios and gyms had closed. The yoga studio was going to offered online sessions through Instagram and live feeds but I never enjoyed working out at home, preferring the group aspect of going to the Yoga studio. So I didn’t exercise consistently for the first few weeks giving myself the excuse that it was “just not for me.”

However, I started to feel my mind and body get significantly more sluggish.

I finally tried out the online yoga classes that were offered. It surprised me, but and I really started to enjoy working out at home.

Here are the advantage I found with working out at home:

  • Can workout on my own terms and time
  • Saves lots of time on gas and commuting
  • There is really no excuse to not workout since it is always available
  • I’ve been working out more consistently

If you haven’t done so already, try committing to a week of online workouts. You might really enjoy it. In fact, I might just convert to online/home workouts after this pandemic ends. It gives me so much more time for other things I enjoy such as more time with my kids.

Cultivating Relationships

Wearing masks and social distancing definitely puts a damper regarding social gatherings.

However, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my wife and kids at home. We’ve definitely bonded during this time. My son really like a game called Bey Blade.

It also gave me a lot of time to reflect on the relationships that mean the most to me. We’ve been able to help our parents get groceries through instacart and trying to keep them as safe as possible.

How are you maintaining your relationships during this time?

Feeling Grateful for Everything I Have

COVID-19 has really exposed to me and the world what the bare necessities are in life and what truly matters. I am grateful to be alive, I am grateful for everything I have, and I am grateful to be able to take care of these sick COVID-19 patients.

I can’t say how long COVID-19 will still be affecting our daily lives. Learning how to coexist with it has been a challenge but I have learned different ways to cope and be productive. How are you going through the different stages/zones?

What’s Next for Zen Productivity

Thanks for reading this post! It feels really good to be able to write on productivity again. Going forward here are things I am planning for on this site:

  1. Rebrand the material to make it generalizable to all busy professionals.
  2. The first draft of the Zen Productivity is done and is currently being edited by users and soon a professional editor! I’m hoping to publish it towards the end of this year.
  3. I will be creating a post on how to organize Journal Articles with an accompanying online course as well. Keep an eye out.

Hope everyone is staying safe. Looking forward to connecting with you through blog posts, social media, or just email me directly:

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Kimberly Ayers
Kimberly Ayers
3 years ago

I am so happy you are sharing your productivity blogs with everyone. They are so helpful. ??

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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