England has gone back into lockdown and this time it seems harder than before. The weather is colder and the evenings darker, meaning motivation can be harder to find. This is why I’ve decided change the format of my monthly money bloggers takeover to offer some lockdown lessons and productivity tips and tricks.
While this is primarily a personal finance blog, all aspects of our lives impact our finances. So as well as money tips, this lockdown lessons post will look at other aspects of your life, including: education, physical and mental health; and being mindful.
If you enjoy this lockdown lessons posts, you might like to also check out my previous money blogger takeover posts. You can find posts from July, August, September and October.
In this post I’ll cover:
- Money lessons
- Learning/education tips
- Looking after your physical health
- Being mindful and goal settings.
Not spending is not the same as saving
Back in March and April, it was widely reported that people were saving more money. This is hardly surprising as, for many people, there was much less to spend their money on as the world slowly ground to a halt.
However, since then it became clear that the amount of money put into savings and investing accounts didn’t actually increase. Instead, people simply spent more money when things began to reopen.
If your expenses have reduced again this lockdown, consider putting the extra money into a separate savings or investment accounts. Leaving the money in your current account will just tempt you to spend it when you can, particularly with Christmas just around the corner!
Black Friday and Christmas are just around the corner. With little else to distract you, it may be very easy to spend a lot more than you would like.
Jordan from A Money Thing Happened recommends doing your research now. Make a list of everything you want to buy on Black Friday and start researching the prices now. When the day comes around, check the list before you buy anything. Make sure you’re actually getting the best price available, not just the price the site wants you to see. This should also prevent you from deviating from the list and making unnecessary purchases.
The Mums Guide to Money also urged people not to get caught up in the hype of spending too much money at Christmas.
This year Christmas will be different to normal and that will be difficult for a lot of people. But, overspending won’t make Covid-19 go away. Instead, focus on what you can control and think carefully about what you need to buy.
Don’t rush decisions
This applies to spending, investing and life decisions. While we’re all a little bored and perhaps a bit down, it’s easy to make impulse decisions that we may live to regret.
Is now really the best time to quit your job or are you just missing going into the office and seeing your colleagues? Will that Peleton Bike actually make you exercise more or will it become a very expensive clothes horse?
And what about investing? The markets are up and down more times than most of us can count at the moment. It’s easy to want to make snap decisions and buy and sell. But, remember investing is for the long term. Don’t get caught up in day to day movements. For more tips, check out my top tips for investing during a recession.
Everyday is a school day. Reading, or listening to audio books if you prefer, is a great way to keep learning about whatever topic interests you.
If you’re stuck on what to read, Save Like a Bear recommends Professor Cal Newport’s books. He works in the Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University and is the author of six self-improvement books. He also writes the Study Hacks blog, which is focused on achieving academic and career success.
She said: “One of my autistic strengths is deep focus. His book Deep work explains how anyone can replicate something similar no matter your brain wiring. Achieving flow at work or in hobbies is very calming. It stops the mind racing about what you can’t control.”
Gyms may be shut and sports clubs and classes may be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect exercise.
The physical and mental health benefits of exercise are huge and it can also increase your productivity and motivation throughout the whole day.
While gyms are closed, it’s a good time to try out new forms of, potentially cheaper, exercise too. My personal favourite is running, but that’s not for everyone. There’s plenty of online workouts across a range of disciplines available – many are free on YouTube too!
One lockdown lesson I learnt is how good walking is for clearing your head and organising priorities. I often mentally go through my to-do list and organise my day, while walking my dog. You then come home energised and ready to get to work!
Keeping a journal or a diary can be a good way to track your goals and keep your goals in sight. It doesn’t have to be the fancy, perfectly decorated bulletin journals you might see on Pinterest or Instagram. A simple notebook or even the notes app on your phone will do the job.
What you put in the journal is completely up to you. Some start by writing daily gratitudes – this is a good thing if you are prone to overlook the positives and focus on the negatives. Simply write down three things your grateful for each day: these can range from small pleasures like a picturesque sunset, to much bigger things like a promotion at work.
Time in the Market recommends journaling as a way to focus your mind and think more positively. Just five minutes a day has helped change his mindset.
Another benefit of journaling is goal setting. Why not write down your goals, whether they’re for the short, medium or long term goals. Then, you can keep track of your progress at regular intervals to make sure you stay motivated to reach them.
So there you have it, my top lockdown lessons. If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please leave a comment! What are your top lockdown lessons to increase productivity and motivation? Also, please get in touch if you’d like to be included in a future post. I’d love to hear from as many different points of view as possible!