“I’m going through a slump.” “I feel alone.” “I am worried about the future.” “I can’t stand this anymore.”

“Okay covid, you win.”

I don’t think I am the only one who has thought these thoughts this year.

It feels like 2020 has knocked the wind out of all of us and we are left gasping for breath and struggling to stand on our own two feet. I remember thinking that the first initial 2 week lockdown back in March was going to be “it,” and then back to normal. With the resurgence of cases, it looks like Ireland is going back into another lockdown and feels like the opposite of progress.

Sometimes it’s damn near impossible to keep a positive mindset in what feels like a never-ending gloomy situation. I live in a semi-basement flat and some days I can FEEL the weight of the other flats above mine pressing down on me. Something has to change. I need to change. I need to DO SOMETHING.

I need to change. I need to DO SOMETHING.

I’m beginning to realize, in these past few weeks, that I have not been setting myself up for success. I haven’t made adequate changes to my personal life (and the way I evaluate it) in response to how our lives have changed this year.

One of the most frustrating things for me has been my productivity. I have been disappointed in myself for not being as productive as I thought I should have been throughout this year. I have actually been working more hours while getting less done.

This lack of productivity I initially thought was my fault for ‘being lazy’ and ‘not working hard enough.’ I realize though that the biggest mistake I have made is in not changing how I evaluate my productivity.

Everything about my work life has changed astronomically. Working in my bedroom, no in-person meetings, no more idle chit-chat with co-workers, no energy from a lively office environment. Everything has changed.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is my own internal self-evaluation of my productivity.

I realize this isn’t setting me up for success. Changing literally everything about my work life while expecting the exact same level of output is a completely ridiculous expectation.

I love rugby. I love to play and I love to watch. The most exciting matches are when the sun is shining, the conditions are perfect, the ball is flying through the players hands and every inch of width is needed to score a try. That’s champagne rugby. It’s exciting to watch and even more thrilling to play.

But you don’t see that every match. Especially in Ireland where weather oftentimes doesn’t allow for a 10 meter skip pass. Any good rugby team will change their strategy with the changing weather conditions. When it’s raining and the pitch is muddy, champagne rugby is out. Play slow, keep possession, and just win the match; it doesn’t have to be pretty.

After making this comparison, I saw the flaw in my thought process about my lack of productivity. The conditions of the workplace have changed drastically, and I need to respond to these changes. Starting now, I’m going to start emphasizing my consistency of effort, rather than consistency of outcome.

“ ̶I̶’̶m̶ ̶g̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶r̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶l̶u̶m̶p̶.̶” — “It’s ok to feel bad sometimes.

̶I̶ ̶f̶e̶e̶l̶ ̶a̶l̶o̶n̶e̶.̶” — “How many people have I reached out to this week?

̶I̶ ̶a̶m̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶r̶i̶e̶d̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶u̶t̶u̶r̶e̶.̶” — “What am I worried about that is in my control?”

̶I̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶m̶o̶r̶e̶.̶” — “What can I do to improve myself?”

“ ̶O̶k̶a̶y̶ ̶c̶o̶v̶i̶d̶,̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶w̶i̶n̶.̶ — “I won’t give up.”

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