Production | 14 MIN READ

How To Stay Productive (And Sane) in COVID-19 Isolation

Living The Dream? Or the Nightmare?

This is a bit off the usual topics for us about video production, video marketing, or filmmaking, but we’re pretty much all in dystopian isolation, yay! Many of us always dreamed of working from home. If you’re like most Americans right now, COVID-19 (aka ‘The Rona’) has given you the ability to live out this long-awaited fantasy… or has it? Whether you live alone, with a spouse, a partner, children or even pets, you’re realizing this dream may not be as charming as it seemed.

With widespread school closings, many are left not only telecommuting but homeschooling their children. Two jobs, overnight, aren’t you lucky!

As Under Armour’s new 2020 campaign says “The Only Way is Through”   and the world outside is in chaos, we’re asked to stay inside.

We’re asked to “social distance.”

We’re asked to wash our hands (imagine that?).

We’re asked to quarantine for 2 weeks (although, it may in fact be much longer).

And as these are asked of citizens, we’ve realized how easy it is to be distracted, to lose focus and just find yourself sitting on the couch, binging TV, while binging on snacks, preferably Oreo cookies and not thinking about work. I think I heard someone call it the Quarantine 15 (spin off of the Freshman 15). Anyone down to quarantine and chill?

Quarantine and work?

We’ve all seen the ‘how to’ articles on working from home.

Create a workspace.

Get dressed.

Take breaks.




But until you’ve done it for a while, it’s hard to make it a routine. Heck, you’re at home, with your loved ones, your laundry, your kitchen, your vacuum, your TV.

For those of you with kids, I don’t think I have to say anything for you to get the point.

Distractions everywhere.

Our video production & animation team (at least our in-house folks) is a bit easier to manage since we’re 7 people (small but mighty). We hired someone new the day we decided to start working from home per the governments recommendation! Everyone of my team members has a different situation at home. Single, dog parent, married no kids, married with kids, spouses/partners working from home too.

How Do You Stay Focused?

So how do we stay focused? How do you keep to the norm when the world around us is telling us there is a new norm? I will not speak on those homeschooling, but here’s a peek into my day.

‘Married no kids but two dogs, so maybe that makes about one kid.’

My Routine

I wake up as I would if I were heading to the office.

That’s at 6:30am. I walk my dogs (or just open the door and let them out), put a pot o’ coffee on and jump in the shower.

I dry my hair, get dressed in real clothes, not my pjs and take a walk around the neighborhood.

(My drive to work is typically 20 minutes, plus a $4 toll ride, which I decided to still “spend” by placing it in a 5 gallon water cooler jug)

When I get back home at 9 am, I grab the bag I would normally take to the office, and take it to my new “office”, start up my laptop and check my emails. You know, the norm. The kind of stuff you might see in a movie, or the kind your uncle who’s been working from home for 15 years, talked about.

I set myself up a little office space. Table, chair, notepad plenty of writing supplies , and two paperclips stuck together, you always need one when you don’t have it. The dogs get put in their crates (those with you kids, you might want to try this trick).

I removed the TV from the space I’m in. This was crucial to set up because sometimes, it’s all about making yourself feel like you’re going to the office. I could have decided to sit at the kitchen table or set up shop on the couch. But unfortunately, that didn’t make me feel like I wasn’t at home.

I set up a space that wasn’t familiar at home. It works, give it go!

Also, change the language to reflect the new norm and calling your home your “office” will make it feel real. (What is even real anymore? I don’t know, but we carry on)

Back to my day. Every morning at 10am our team jumps on a call.

Pre-COVID, we would just call into the “scrum line.” A fancy tune would play, we would wait.

It was nice.

Now, we use video Google Hangouts to connect and see each other. The chats go a little like this:

  1. COVID – 19 update and how it can potential effect our work and our clients.
  2. Update on projects. Yes, some of them are still moving along.
  3. Any new partners or solutions that can help us elevate our ability to assist clients
  4. The teams status and what we’re working on
  5. Something funny is said, we have a laugh and we end the call.

*Pro Tip: Please mute your mic if you’re not talking. It helps a great deal.

I set my alarm to go off every 2 hrs to take a 10 minute break and then a 30min-1hr lunch at 1pm. I make sure not to take my dogs out until 5-5:30pm, the time I would normally come home if at the office. I don’t want to confuse them and honestly, I know if I take them out, I’ll be coming back in an hour or so anyway.

Cut Yourself Slack!

Of course, things happen.

You find yourself with nothing to do at 2pm.

You start roaming around the house, you find yourself on the couch and before you know it, you wake up from a nap and it’s 3pm!!

Now you panic.

You have 10 emails, 2 missed called from clients and

a missed call from your boss.

You try to pull yourself together to get back to work.

Pump the brakes. Slow down. It’s alright.

Stress drains your energy, a power nap may be exactly what you need to help your productivity.  In my case, a nap will last 3 or more hours and will do more harm than good, so I try to avoid at all cost. I haven’t quite mastered a 20 minute power nap, yet. But for many people, it’s just what the doctor ordered and might help you deal with the stress.

My go to routine when I’m unproductive or distracted is to either take a drive around the neighborhood to clear my head Or I do 20 jumping jacks to give me a burst of energy. Crazy, I know, but it works for me.

 If all fails, tomorrow is another day. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, grab your notebook, write down todays wins (what did you do successfully) , challenges (what you struggled with), and insights (what you learned, interesting things you may have read or come across). Share them with your team, perhaps they’re struggling too.

Teamwork, folks!

End each work day with a walk. Remember you’re working from home not on the moon. If you see someone, smile and wave.

Stay healthy, stay at least 6 ft away from people (I’d stick with 10ft) and wash your hands (and head, shoulders, knees and toes… knees and tooeeesssssssss.)


Niki K.

Oh, and if you need anything during this strange COVI-19 world, hit me up in the form below.

Niki Keser

About Niki Keser

Niki is the Account Manager at Early Light Media. She believes that a happy client starts with an incredible experience. Having worked with various brands such as Nike, Prada and Michael Kors, she knows the importance of understanding high-profile brands and the sensitivity of all projects. A troubleshooter by trade, she prides herself on providing solutions to ensure every project is executed with white-glove service.

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