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8 Tips for better living and increased productivity during stressful times

Written By | Nov 8, 2020
better living, increased productivity during stressful times

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay. CC 0.0 license. In the public domain.

WASHINGTON – Nearly everyone would agree that we live in extraordinarily stressful times. Given what seems like the never-ending coronavirus crisis and related health, education and employment threats, each day can turn into a dreary slog if you let it. This, in turn, can lead to poor living habits and almost nonexistent productivity. How can you turn your personal situation around?  And how can you achieve increased productivity and better living during such times?

Start by remembering this one key rule.

  • First: Always take care of yourself.

Then, follow my 8 tips below for better living and increased productivity during stressful times. Times like the current Covid-19 pandemic.

But before we get to those 8 tips, consider this antidote for stressful times:

Any chocoholics out there? I consider myself a dark chocolate chocoholic. I once thought about giving it up. But then I decided I was not a quitter!

Here is one way you can cultivate your sweet tooth. I read about in an article in Spirituality and Health magazine. With everything going on in the world, you deserve a treat!! Just follow the trail below. You and your family can embrace the chocoholic in them!

The method
  • Select a piece of chocolate.
  • Hold it in your hand.
  • Look deeply at its rich earthy color. Feel its texture. Smell its aroma.
  • Consider the tree, the air, the dirt, the sunlight, and the water that came together to produce the cocoa bean used to make your sweet. Repeat this phrase for the tree beings: May you be sustained. May you thrive. May you be treated with gentleness.
  • Bite slowly into the chocolate. Focus on the feeling of chewing slowly.
  • As you swallow, contemplate the connection to each person that created it: the growers, packagers, truckers, shopkeepers, and so on. Each of these people made it possible for you to be nourished by this food.
  • Repeat this phrase for the human beings: “May you be sustained. May you thrive. May you be treated with gentleness.”
  • Sit silently for a few moments before returning to your day.

Then, reflect upon the following quote:

“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” ~ Unknown

We need to constructively use our time

How have you been managing your time during Covid? Most people are still working, playing, eating, celebrating different occasions and more. But they’re doing it from home. Likewise, people are becoming more comfortable with ‘everything’ and adapting to virtual platforms, both professionally and personally.

Also Read: Resilience and Flexibility can help you deal with a changing world

No one is sure what the “new normal” will look like yet. But clearly, life as we know it will be different. That is not a bad thing. It’s simply different from what we used to do. Even so, from ordering groceries to ordering almost any product you can think of, many people are still managing well.

Right now, doing something constructive with your time is important. Many of us thrive when we feel a sense of achievement and or when we’re learning something new. Currently, I have one client that is taking piano lessons, another client that is learning how to host virtual workshops and another who has joined a group that shares similar interests. As for my household, my husband (you know him – Paul Samakow) started a podcast focusing on legal issues and education..

The point we should all remember, however, is to always take baby steps forward.

8 Tips for better living and increased productivity during our stressful times:

The following 8 tips offer some things you can try both to cope with current situations and also to improve your efficiency and well-being. If you have any other ideas, please share them by contacting

Always be productive and move forward

Do one thing each day to move yourself forward. What about setting up a nice office space in your house or apartment?

De-clutter and organize your “stuff”

These days, so many people are de-cluttering and organizing their workspaces and lives that the stores selling containers and storage bins and devices have been forced to put many of these items on backorder. That said, once you can find the products that you need, de-cluttering and organizing allows you to think more clearly and feel more focused.

Spend quality time with your family

Staying in on a weekend as opposed to running errands, eating out, going to the movies, etc., can be a wonderful way to spend quality family time together. Try a board game, video game, or anything else that comes to mind. Be creative, especially with the holidays coming up. Is there something you can make, build or design together?

Maintain a positive mindset

Practice positive, productive thinking. You can look for the silver lining in all situations without becoming ‘Susie Sunshine.’ When you don’t have control over certain areas in your life, make the best of any situation anyway.

Catch up with technology

Under the current restrictions we live under today, it’s a good time to learn how to use technology, if you are not particularly skilled in this area. This can contribute significantly to increased productivity in your career.

Enjoy books and games

What about joining a virtual book club or playing games, real or virtual? And don’t forget to celebrate special occasions. Why not celebrate a virtual birthday, graduations, or any milestones? Any joy is worth celebrating, even if you have to get the hang of Zoom to do it.

Put together a home gym

Stay in shape, physically and emotionally. Being physically active is not only healthy. It can help alleviate stressful times you may be experiencing. Responding to coronavirus shutdowns, many gyms and other web sites currently offer on-line fitness classes. For example, I put some rubber flooring on the tile in one area in my home to cushion that part of the floor. I bought some weights, a Pilates ring, jump rope, bands, and mats. And now I watch and participate in a fitness class or two several times a week. This provides me with a great way to start my day. It also provides the kind of structure that I like. In short, it’s a win-win. And it was inexpensive as well!


Like everything else in life, you can make good use of your time or you can complain about your current life and our stressful times. But remember: It’s your choice. So choose well. Strive for better living and increased productivity.

Change is okay. But with a bit of effort, you can make it even better than okay!

– Headline image: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay. CC 0.0 license. In the public domain.

To learn more about this and other topics, here is a link to my book:
Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Professional Certified Coach, Facilitator, Trainer & Author
Business, Life, Leadership & Career Coaching
Positive Self-Talk/Confidence Strategies, Resilience Techniques & Transition Work
Former ICF Metro DC President
Enhanced C-IQ Coach
EFT Practitioner
Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.


Susan Samakow

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, is a Certified Business, Life and Leadership Coach. Susan focuses on life and career transition, business and leadership, and confidence and resilience strategies. Susan is also a speaker and facilitator, as well as a Community Content Producer for WUSA 9 TV. She is the former president of the ICF Metro DC Chapter, the largest in North America. Susan’s clients are individuals, any size business and the government. Visit Susan’s website: Susan is on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.