cannot focus - not productive

How to Stay Productive Amidst the Deadly COVID-19 Second Wave

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India is about to reach half a million reported COVID19 cases a day.

Your Whatsapp is beeping every minute.

Every single group – work, friends, hobbies – is full of SOS messages.

There’s no oxygen, there are no beds, there are no medicines.

Most likely there are people in your family/ extended family, close friends who are down with Covid19 (If you/ immediate family have been infected, you can skip reading this article for now. Ensure you have consulted a doctor and are following the prescribed medication/ next steps)

It’s a working day. How do you focus and stay productive while working from home between all this mayhem?

There are a few ways that have worked for me.

1. Stop watching TV more than twice a day

Once in the morning and once in the evening.

You do not require most of the information being shown on TV. If there is something really important (lockdown extended etc.), the news will reach you before you reach the news through social media, family members.

This is an interesting article – 11 Reasons You Should Stop Watching Television Now

2. Turn off app notifications

This is similar to the previous point. You do not need Facebook, Twitter, and news channel apps to bombard you with Covid19 news while you’re trying to work. You can check these apps when you are taking a break. This will ensure your concentration is not broken while you’re trying to get things done.

3. Mute Whatsapp groups

I have received 331 Whatsapp messages in the groups I am part of in the last one hour.

Barring a few groups (parents, family, etc), you can mute the groups and reply in batches every 2-3 hours (again while you are taking a work break). In case you do have some information that will help (e.g. sources of oxygen, bed vacancy, plasma donors, etc), please do share it in the relevant groups.

Here’s a short video on how you can mute Whatsapp group notifications

As I mentioned in the beginning – if you have a family member infected, you must support in whichever way possible – consider taking the day off from work.

4. Communicate your availability in your house

These are challenging times and you will be required to multitask while you’re working from home. To be honest, true multitasking is really ineffective – you lose the flow and end up taking much longer with each of the tasks.

What can you do?

Communicate your work schedule for the week – to your spouse, children, parents, housemates .. whichever is applicable.

“This week, I will be available from 1230 to 1400 and 1600 to 1630”

Block these time slots on your work calendar.

This will help your house members plan the day better around you and not bother you in an ad-hoc manner unless there is an emergency. If the aircon stopped working at 1500 and you are the person responsible to fix it, they know that you will be available at 1600 to book the repair service.

Personally I have found this to be a great way to stay productive.

5. Sleep every night for 7-8 hours

It has proven by multiple sleep scientists that a good 7-8h sleep improves information retention and helps you stay productive. Sleep throws away irrelevant pieces of information to empty the short-term storage space in your brain so that it is ready to receive more information. Further on, during sleep, your brain shuts down your rational center. As a result, it is able to process emotional events while you are sleeping. That way you are calmer about the same things the next morning.

Here, you can read about many more benefits of sleep.

Almost all activity trackers allow you to track your sleep with relatively good accuracy. I have the Garmin Forerunner 735 XT and it’s pretty accurate. There are some basic trackers (<$70/ INR 5000) you can order online.

6. Avoid “over-mixing” the pandemic with the current government

This will be controversial. But I will still pen my thoughts.

India failed to prevent the deadly second wave.

Narendra Modi was called a “vaccine guru” – A bit too early?

The cricket board allowed for more than 130,000 fans to watch matches in a stadium.

Election authorities finalised key elections in five states where almost 200 million people are eligible to vote.

Kumbh mela was allowed. Millions of devotees gathered on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar.

The sad part is that everyone is spending a lot of their valuable time discussing this failure. The same time can be used to fight this pandemic – ensure the correct dissemination of information, educating people on how to save themselves from getting infected, debunking myths and helping senior citizens to get vaccinated.

These are some of the currently trending twitter hashtags




Millions of valuable hours is going into this.

A Facebook post asking for an oxygen cylinder ended up having 150 messages discussing the Government but the cylinder couldn’t be arranged.

On another post, an avid Modi follower asked the one who posted (anti-Modi) to remove any anti Modi post from his wall, and only then he will provide the information about vacant beds.

This is not the time for this.

This can wait.

And if the country really thinks as a majority that Modi has failed, the results will show in the next elections. We don’t need to waste time right now. Logical thinking and getting through this phase is the need of the hour.

If you have any tip that is helping you to stay productive, please share it in the comments section below.

This too shall pass.

Stay strong.

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Alakananda Bhattacharya
Alakananda Bhattacharya
3 years ago

Arijit, I can’t stress enough on the fact, how much I appreciate this article. The sheer positivity and productivity of your blog speaks for itself. This, is what the world needs right now. Positivity. Logical thinking. Unity. More than ever. This is beyond you or me. And I really hope everyone gets the gist of tye bigger problem!! Thank you for writing this.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alakananda Bhattacharya