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How to stay productive during a global pandemic

As the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading at a rapid pace, governments across the globe start full or partial lockdowns and many of us are now stuck in our homes with little to do. While it may be easy to binge-watch, we need to avoid the urge and use our time as productively as possible

As the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading at a rapid pace, governments across the globe are enacting drastic (but necessary) measures to slow the spread of the virus. In many countries this has resulted in a full or partial lockdown nationwide, restricting movement on the streets and forcing all but essential work to take place at home or not at all. This has meant that many of us are now stuck in our homes with little to do. While it may be easy (and admittedly tempting!) to get into a habit of binge-watching tv and junk food, we need to avoid this urge and use our time as productively as possible, so we can get back to our work ready and eager. Here are just a few tips to make this easier on us hospitalians.

Get into a quarantine routine

In quarantine, the exact specifics of your schedule will depend on the nature of your position, as the hospitality industry has such a diverse workforce, there are a number of situations that you may find yourself in. Whether it's working from home, continuing to work in a government permitted role (such as in the kitchen) or not working at all, there is one thing in common: you will have more free time. Whether it is time you would normally spend working or time you would spend doing activities you are no longer permitted to do (such as socializing or doing sports) you will have a lot of extra time that you may not know what to do with.

Now, depending on how you use this time it can either be a blessing or a curse. The most surefire way to ensure that you get the best out of it is by creating a quarantine schedule and sticking to it! Not only will a schedule help with allocating your time wisely, it will also help with your own life’s stability, which is something that we all desperately need right now.

There are numerous ways you can create your schedule, either by hand or on microsoft word or using a template (there are a number of great free options available online

Your schedule will most likely vary greatly from mine or anyone else’s (as it would vary hugely with your personal responsibilities, timing preferences, etc.), but there are a few things to remember about creating any schedule:

  • Fit in activities necessary for your own physical and mental health, such as exercising and self maintenance (now more than ever it is important not to neglect this) 

  • Plan your meals, both when and what you’ll be having! This will help avoid wasting time choosing what to eat and if you plan your week’s meals, it will reduce waste by making sure you don’t buy anything unnecessary.

  • Make a note to include a few hours of productivity, even if you don’t have any tasks that need to be done, you can always make some! (I’ll speak a little more about that below)

  • Ensure that you schedule your fun/relaxing time as well as your productive time (such as tv, leisure reading, social media, video games, etc.). This means that you will not overload yourself but also will not overindulge either!

Overall, you should find that scheduling your time will return a lot of the normality into your life and will also ensure that you are spending enough time being productive towards your hospitality career.

Take Care of Yourself

This should go without saying, but I am going to say it again anyway: your health is important!! Now more than ever it should be a time when we put the most energy into keeping healthy for your own sake and everyone else’s.

Physically, it is important that you maintain a healthy diet and continue (or start!) doing exercise as much as possible. Not only will this ensure that you do not get sick (which is something we should all be aiming for given that most hospitals are extremely overworked right now), but it will also greatly increase your mood, productivity and work ethic! All in all, the WHO recommends that you spend at least 150 minutes a week doing moderately intense exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can find a full list of their advice on how to maintain this here.

On top of physical health, mental health is equally important to both getting through quarantine, and getting the best out of it. As mentioned above, a good place to start with this is through healthy living, but there are multiple other ways to help you on your way:

  • Stay connected to your friends and family, use apps such as Skype, Zoom and House Party so you can have group chats together and even have access to games!

  • Limit your time reading the news- I know this can be counter intuitive as the news can seem extremely important right now, but it is also much more saturated with fear-mongering and negativity. Constantly checking news apps (or even worse: social media) can have some seriously negative effects on your mental health. So try to limit screen time as much as possible.

Don’t be afraid to reach out! Mental health is a serious issue that has become even more critical in the past few weeks. If you are feeling overwhelmed or just need someone to speak to, reach out to a family member or friend. Odds are they will have a pretty similar feeling to you. If this is not an option then look into the resources available by your government or any local NGO, in either case just remember that you are not alone and there is never a bad time to look for support.

Plan your future career

Remember all of those small things you have been meaning to do to boost your career, but never had time for? Not obvious things like learning hard skills, gaining experience or getting an education (we will get to some of that though!). I’m talking about the menial small things like: researching hotels/restaurants, looking into the trends of your industry, reading up on the big names in hospitality, tweaking your CV… now is the time to make them necessary!

Get on Linkedin and Gmail and start checking up on your connections. Don’t have any? Then find some! The online world has always been at your disposal, and you now have opportunity to really utilize it. Maybe your past classmate at Glion is starting a business and has been looking for a partner? Maybe there is an opening at a luxury hotel in your area that needs to be filled when the quarantine is lifted? Or maybe you can find an opportunity in the hospitality industry of another country? Whatever the opportunity, now you have time to find it!

As you no longer are able to put as much time into your current life, you can instead invest into your future. This means reading through reputable magazines (such as The Economist) and getting immersed in reputable blogs relating to the industry (here is a useful list to get you started!). You can also make time during this lull to pick up the autobiography of any inspirational figure who may be beneficial to your career.

In addition,  can also take this opportunity to update your various professional profiles. 

Starting with your linkedin profile, double check that the information is up to date and make it stand out as much as possible! You can use these tips for starters.

In addition, your CV is a tool that is extremely useful but often neglected until it is really needed. Whether you are currently working or not, there is never a bad time to update your CV, especially now that free time is in abundance. So, update all of the information in your CV, make it neat and presentable (Tip: use a template! There are multiple free sites that let you do this, for example Canva)

Lastly, during this time, it’s a good idea to develop your skills, either to gain new knowledge or stop yourself from getting “rusty” which is why I advise you to…

Take online classes

At this point in time there are most likely some gaps in your CV, because of course there are, nobody is perfect and no one has an infinite amount of time to constantly learn new skills. However, now you may have been given the perfect opportunity to!

Online Classes are a perfect way for you to start collecting new skills on your resume or even just to refine your old ones without exposing yourself to COVID-19 and/or breaking the law. Below are a couple of ways you can learn with examples and some free options to get you started:

  • Focus on the skills you already have: If there is a skill that you use in your daily life that you would like to improve (e.g. English) find some intermediate classes either free or paid (or better, both!) so you can update your level in your CV and/or impress your boss when you get back to work. Duolingo, is a good starting point for this.
  • Learn new skills in your industry: If you are wanting to use your extra time to study for an all-encompassing course to try and break into a new hospitality industry after the pandemic, then you might want to try Placement International’s cruises program. Online courses, mandatory for all sea-fearers are not available to you from the comfort of your own home! Just apply here and a member of our team will help you start your journey.
  • Learn something entirely new: Maybe you found yourself in a front office job but your dream has always been to work in a kitchen? You now have the time to learn more about your dream job so you can make the career U-turn when the quarantine  ends. Free classes are an inexpensive way to get into a field that you may have only previously glanced at, a good example of a consistent and reliable course provider is Massimo Bottura, who hosts daily, free live cooking classes and Q and A’s on his personal Instagram account.

Now that you read my tips, you are very welcome to start your own ones little routines. Big or small, whatever makes you feel productive! Most importantly - take care, plan, and think ahead in your future - if you have these covered, then no global pandemic will affect your everyday life!

 

 

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