How to stay productive during quarantine

Working from home doesn’t have to feel like dragging your feet.

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Brianna Clark, Opinions Editor

Your bed is warm and cozy, your parents are cooking your dinner and classes seem like a distant memory. It feels like Christmas break is back already—minus the large family gatherings and the fully stocked fridge. In reality, it’s more like you’re back in high school again and you have to do homework at your childhood desk. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Even for those unable to return to their parents’ home, a living space is not always conducive to study and work. When you have begun to associate home with relaxation, it can be hard to find the motivation to continue your classes and jobs that haven’t actually ended. 

With COVID-19 on the loose and self-isolation in full force, there is simultaneously too much down time and an overload of stress and chaos. Businesses are encouraging people to stay productive during this time and Fast Company emphasizes that the only way to achieve this is to maintain a routine. Not only will a set schedule help manage your time, but it will also keep you from falling down the rabbit hole of binge-watching Netflix when you still have a paper due later this week. 

MAKE IT TANGIBLE

While in school, your schedule is set with class times, work hours and designated spaces for both. It should be the same in quarantine. People develop patterns that they like to maintain, so the key to quarantine is to keep those allotted times you had for work and class and maintain them within self-isolation. If you started your days with class at eight in the morning, then you should continue to start your days at the same time, doing the same work. 

However, it is difficult to get in the mindset of class when you’re still in your pajamas under the covers. Global News suggests finding a place in your home specifically for work and class. In the same way that being in class helps you to be in student mode, creating a makeshift “classroom” with minimal distractions in your own home will help you associate that place with schoolwork. 

In addition, your own appearance can contribute to your productivity. While you’re not going to be dressing to impress anyone for a while, The New York Times comments that lounging in your sweats is unlikely to put you in the right headspace to do your homework. Getting dressed in the morning, just as you would have for school or work, will help you to feel more like a normal student in your own home. 

DON’T OVERDO IT

Like any healthy work life, make sure it doesn’t consume you. At school, you have breaks between classes for meals and the commute time to class to clear your mind. The same applies when working from home. The Independent encourages the public to section your work and create time to step away from it—metaphorically and physically. Self-isolation does not mean you can never leave your house. In between homework assignments, take a walk around the neighborhood, grab a snack, watch an episode of that show you were binging or throw the ball for your dog in the backyard. You must only be cautious not to let a break turn into a day-long procrastination spree. 

The world may feel like it’s on pause right now, but life is never on hold. Your community, your university and your nation are all taking slow and careful steps to remain on their feet and keep things, if not running, then at the very least walking. Don’t let this new coronavirus keep you from walking with it. 

Stay home, but stay productive.