Has your Instagram feed suddenly flooded with posts of sourdough loaves? Are your friends constantly telling you about the next D.I.Y. project they’ve picked up around the house? Finding a way to pass the time while staying home and social distancing, for many people, has come in the form of passion projects and quarantine hobbies.
From the outside looking in, it might feel a little strange that our friends and family members have out-of-the-blue become bakers, gardeners, or home renovators. But identifying small tasks or longer-term projects can help us maintain a sense of purpose and find a more positive focus during the pandemic. Michael Kocet, a licensed mental health counselor and professor and department chair of the Counselor Education Department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, tells CNN that baking, for example, provides a sense of accomplishment during this period of intense uncertainty and can give us “something concrete to create, control, and enjoy” as we cope with the stress and anxiety of these times.
Your project doesn’t have to involve baking — in fact, it can be anything that has a visible outcome and brings you joy along the way. You just need to start it, and then learn to stick with it. Here are three strategies to help you integrate your Microstep into your routine.
Block off time on your calendar
Treating your passion project or quarantine hobby like a meeting or appointment you can’t miss will help you stay accountable. Put time on your calendar dedicated to your project and set a reminder leading up to it. That way, time is on your side and you have no excuse not to work on it.
Use your hobby as a way to connect
Diving into a project and sharing it with the people we care about is a great way to stay connected as we continue to physical distance. Make your project a talking point during your next phone or FaceTime call, and invite your friends and family to join in. Before you know it, you’ll be sharing recipe ideas, or sending each other photos of your project-in-progress.
Ask a family member to be your accountability buddy
It’s all too easy to push a passion project to the side when juggling remote work and other responsibilities around the house. Ask your partner or another family member to hold you to it. Whether they simply ask for progress updates at dinner or leave notes around the house encouraging you to prioritize your project, a meaningful push from an accountability buddy could be just what you need to move your project to the top of your to-do list.