COVID-19: The Productivity Pressure Cooker

This post was written by Darius Moore, copywriter, as a reflection on the impacts of COVID-19.

You never know when inspiration will strike. For example, it’s a Monday afternoon and I’m writing this post from bed in an effort to win extra points for our Office Olympics challenge. And while I’m motivated by the prospect of an office victory, I’m reminded that productivity is not always a friend of consistency. At this moment, I’m grateful for this respite from work (though I am technically working) but the guilt of enjoying a somewhat “extracurricular” activity is somehow pervading the experience. 

It’s impossible to quantify productivity during a global pandemic. And honestly, it was difficult before we were even forced into isolation. As an extrovert, I require social interaction to inspire my creativity. If I have an important project, I’ll find a busy coffee shop to write and soak in the energy of other patrons. On a nice day, I might find a spot on Chelsea Pier and gaze over the Hudson, into New Jersey, until I’m ready to draft some copy. As much as I can’t control my creativity, I can curate moments that will motivate creative energy. And… that’s almost impossible during “isolation."

The truth is that I’ve always struggled with working from home. As one of three BPC team members on the East Coast, I communicate with the majority of my coworkers electronically. And when social distancing measures were enacted in my home state, I had few concerns about moving my professional life into my home. But as rehearsed as I was in working from home, I wasn’t prepared to feel such intense lethargy. In group meetings, my enthusiasm declined. I communicated less frequently with other team members out of fear that I would be called out for submitting late work. And then, when my boss noticed a decline in my morale, I chose to take a more transparent approach to my work.

Pressure doesn’t always make diamonds. Sometimes pressure just destroys rocks, and that’s why diamonds are so rare. Not everyone is made to succeed in moments of anguish. It’s okay to crack. But I’m sure if diamonds could talk, they’d mention the difficulty of enduring such extreme pressure. Some may have never even wanted to become a stone. And after internalizing these truths, I understood the importance of communication. Talk to your team members about your work-performance anxiety. Let them know that the world is starting to weigh on you. A simple conversation will reveal that they may feel similarly, and that camaraderie may relieve some of your stress. People, more than ever, are graceful in their approach to productivity. Yes, we’re bored at home, but that doesn’t mean we’re any more willing to do work! Your value is not attached to the amount of work you can accomplish. Producing quality work means way more than the volume of your work. For me, it’s kind of like writing. Brevity is more impactful than lengthiness. Sometimes, less truly is more. Cut yourself a break. Get the good work in when you can.   

Thankfully, I’ve consistently found enough creative energy to write and submit (most of) my work on time. But without the support of my team members, and a boss who understands the importance of grace, I might have cracked under pressure. Now I’m not saying that I’m a diamond, but I do feel that my presence on this team is priceless, and that’s motivation enough to get the work done.

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