Coronavirus is shifting so much of our days, routines, and habits.

We're all grappling with a level of uncertainty that might feel new and strange, and that can impact your mental health and productivity.

But sometimes, building some structure into your day can help you cope with the unpredictability of the world.

In a recent Q&A with therapists about coronavirus anxiety, someone asked: All of the 'what ifs' are keeping me from being productive. How can I create structure and routine?

We turned to therapist Patricia Thompson, Ph.D., to see what she recommends. Her solution: Just ask yourself to simply Try for 5.

We'll let her explain more in her Q&A answer.


Dr. Patricia Thompson: It sounds like you’re feeling a bit stuck.

To address this, I would start by scheduling the activities you are hoping to do on your calendar. Set a reminder to go off at the designated time, and commit to yourself to at least give them a try.

When the time comes, tell yourself that you’ll commit to doing them for five minutes, with the caveat that you can stop if you don’t feel like continuing.

My guess is that a lot of times, once you get over the initial hump of starting, you’ll find that you’re enjoying the activity enough to continue.

Once you get over the initial hump of starting, you’ll find that you’re enjoying the activity enough to continue.
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But if you want to stop, after the five minutes—then do so. Congratulate yourself for giving it a shot, and schedule it again in the future.

If you decide to continue with the activity, give yourself a pat on the back for doing something productive for yourself.

This might sound like a simple strategy, but I can’t tell you how many times it's been just what I needed to get started on an exercise session or write a work-related report! By the time I got into my flow, I followed through on my commitment to myself.

By aiming for and rewarding yourself for progress instead of perfection, you’ll be well on the way to accomplishing your goals.

By aiming for and rewarding yourself for progress instead of perfection, you’ll be well on the way to accomplishing your goals.
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