How To Beat the Quarantine Burnout

Just when 2020 campaign planning and execution were in full swing, life as we knew it was completely turned upside down. Like most agencies, our days of in-person spitballing and collaboration were replaced by quarantine Zoom sessions and sweatpants. At first, ideas that stick seemed hard to come by when our creative teams are miles apart. However, when social distancing became the name of the game, the Spitball team got a little scrappy to step up to the challenge and adjust to the ‘new normal’.

If three months of remote work has left you in writer’s block rut or simply stuck in the same old routine, here are a few ways the Spitballers are staying productive, creative, and (most importantly) sane to beat the quarantine burnout for a sizzlin’ summer of big ideas while staying safe at home.

For Productivity

Working from home is great in theory… right? With a multitude of distractions ranging from your new “coworkers” (i.e. children, pets, roommates, etc.) it may at times seem hard to sit down and focus to get the job done. If you’ve hit a plateau in your productivity over the past few months, consider incorporating the following strategies to dissuade distractions:

  • Break it down & plan it out- If you look at everything you need to do at once, you’ll do nothing. Instead, create structure each day by setting 2-3 priority tasks you wish to complete. Set aside time and add the tasks to your calendar for additional accountability. Creating a routine will help you separate your weekends from your weekdays and not get into habits of working off hours while still identifying personal time.
  • Set an office “space”- While working from your bed or couch for the first few weeks of quarantine seemed like a nice vacation from your desk, comfort isn’t necessarily the key to productivity. Blurring the lines of where you work and relax may sidetrack you from the task at hand. For times you really need to get in the zone, designate a clean and quiet “work area” that has limited distractions and shows your “coworkers” it’s time to focus and you should not be disturbed.
  • Dress up … sometimes- A surprisingly good productivity booster is switching up your wardrobe. Rather than changing into that t-shirt for the 2nd day in a row (we’ve all been there), swap the sweatpants for jeans or something you would typically wear into the office on days you need to get work done efficiently.
  • Stay connected- through industry online pubs or platforms, stay in-the-know to keep inspired, especially as the environment and consumer habits continue to change. You can even have “unplanned” calls with coworkers to keep the spirit of the office to talk about work related items in a more casual setting as well as personal chats.
For Creativity

Cultivating creativity in the comfort of your own home can be difficult, especially when Ideas that Stick often come from weeks of in-person brainstorming and collaboration. If you’re stuck in a uninspired rut, try these tactics keep the creative juices flowing at home:

  • Take a break- Trying to force a big idea in isolation will cause you more of a headache than anything else. If you find yourself endlessly staring at a blank screen, don’t be afraid to take a mid-day break. If the weather is nice, try going for a walk or setting up your workstation outside. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to get to work.
  • Video call often- Just because you are miles away from your team, does not mean you’re alone. Especially in the world of advertising, bouncing ideas back and forth is at the core of what we do. While traditional conference calls work for client meetings, consider turning that camera ‘on’ to video call your internal teams. It may seem awkward at first, video calls add an extra layer of connection where you can actually see how your co-workers respond to a sample creative or pitch point.
  • Find alternative outlets- Creativity comes when you least expect it. If you hit a spout of writer’s block, try finding inspiration in a different way whether it’s Spitball art with the kids, practicing guitar or piano, or hitting the indoor putting green. Picking up that hobby you’ve been pushing off for years may actually help you clear your mind, making room for Ideas that Stick.
For Sanity

Your health is your wealth and after spending three months in quarantine it’s more than ever to stay on top of your mental and physical well-being. To stay sane and on top of your game while working from home remember:

  • Patience is key- Is your quaren-team on your last nerve? Be patient with people in your house. You love them for a reason and there is no more important time to show that love than now.
  • Indulgence is required encouraged- at the end of a long work day take the edge off with your quarentini/quarentreat of choice. You deserve it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
  • Get outside- when you do get a free moment, step away from the screen and get reconnected with nature. Whether it’s a morning walk before work, a weekend trip to the beach, or a backyard BBQ, you’d be surprised on how spending time outside will keep you grounded.
  • Change your perspective- we are in an unprecedented time. Instead of looking at the world with fear or stress, take a step back. Cherish precious moments that you can’t get in the office like taking a conference call while watching your kids play outside.
  • Exercise (…yeah we went there)- While it may not be your favorite thing to do, remember to carve out time in your day to get active. It’s good for your state of mind and can be as simple as walking around or neighborhood or signing up for your first virtual 5k.
  • And just… SURVIVE- no further explanation needed

The best way to beat the quarantine burnout is to remember that we are all in this together. If you’re still finding creativity is hard to come by, the Spitball team is here to help. We’re dedicated to developing clutter-breaking ideas so shoot us an email (or spitball) and let’s talk!