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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Tidd

2020: The Year I Got Absolutely Nothing Done

When I was hit with a stay-at-home order in March I, like many people, let my mind go wild with all the things I was going to accomplish. After all, I was being ordered to stay at home, with endless amounts of time at my disposal. I could do anything I wanted.

Turns out that "anything I wanted"...was nothing.

Here's a small list of the things I considered doing:

  1. Walking daily.

  2. Getting an app to learn a new language.

  3. Completing a paint-by-number at least once a month.

  4. Reading a book a week.

  5. Writing more.

  6. Game nights with the kids!

  7. Training my dog to do something that would earn me millions after we went viral.

  8. Yoga every night.

  9. Focusing on growing my business.

  10. Cleaning out my entire house and getting Pinterest-worthy organized.

So, I did knock a few things off that list. I walked a little, read a lot, and my daughter beat me at Yahtzee on a regular basis. But as for all the things that most people would count as truly productive...yeah...I didn't do any of that.

What I have managed to do is get my sleep schedule completely off (this pandemic has been a dream come true for those of us who aren't morning people), find a lower calorie alcoholic beverage that I like, and train my dog to do less than he was before 2020 (mainly because he's sleeping in with me).

I've always been one of those people who, for some reason, can't get anything done unless they're overwhelmed with tasks. It's when I have more clients than I can handle that I decide to put together a 10 section online course with downloadable PDFs and custom graphics. It's when the kids have more going on than I can possibly keep up with that I decide to join a club or be on a board. It's when I don't have enough hours in the day that I kick ass at getting everything done.

But when I have all the time in the world, I manage to train my dog to sleep more.

It turns out that being in the "wait and see" mode that the pandemic forced us all into doesn't do much for my productivity. I had deadlines at work, but felt like I had all the time in the world to get them I really did the bare minimum. Yeah, I did that initial clean out of my home like everyone else did (those poor Goodwill workers), but my house feels just as cluttered as it did before. I can honestly say that I don't have one thing to show for all this time at home, other than finishing all of Schitt's Creek and a pretty healthy "Read" list on Goodreads.

I tried researching this phenomenon a little and didn't find much, which is weird because I think a lot of people can relate to this. The best list of explanations for being more productive when you're busy came from Her Highness, Hungry Me:


1. It Helped Me Set The Right Priorities.

2. Made me find time.

3. The Deadline Effect.

4. Made me more organized.

5. Made me crave work!

6. Helped me stop overthinking.

7. Gave me new motivation.

I could relate to all of those things and they made total sense to me. I'm already thinking about when my oldest goes back to college and my younger two are back in school when I'll have that sense of urgency once again ("I have to get all this done before they come home at 3:30!"). It's kind of like when they were little and you had to fit 1000 things into a two hour nap time or when you know company is coming and you get more done in the two days before they arrive than you did the two years before.

Part of me will be sad to see this less urgent time in our lives go away, but part of me realizes that I need it. I need structure. I need deadlines. I need a plan.

But for right now, I think I'll take a nap.

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