Life is very different now given the COVID-19 pandemic. As most organizations are shifting towards online based learning, it has become difficult to find ways to focus within the comforts of our homes. With family members also stuck at home under the stay-at-home orders, plenty of distractions are available to decrease our productivity. Fortunately, human beings are extremely adaptable and flexible to the curve balls life throws at us. Here are a couple of helpful tips that guarantee a productive corona-cation!
Defining your workspace at home is crucial in getting work done. When you are searching for your space, try to avoid places that correspond to relaxation or sleep, such as your bed or couch. Find a decent sized desk/table with a chair that has good lumbar support to help you work for long hours without straining your back.
An ideal workspace consists of a room with plenty of natural light to help you to stay awake while working. Further, make sure to have plenty of outlets nearby or a power strip so you can plug in your laptop/chargers when needed. Additionally, to avoid losing focus by making multiple trips to retrieve blank papers or pencils, keep your supplies within reach. Remove any distractions from sight, such as video games, phones, and food. Most importantly, a clutter free desk helps keep the mind clear when working. As a result, you can divert all your attention to your tasks. Lastly, to prevent family members/roommates from using your workspace at their convenience, be sure to verbally communicate your workspace to people you live with.
Pro-Tip: Don’t be afraid to change your workspace after awhile. Studies have shown that a change in environment can be refreshing for the brain and helps maximize productivity.
It is easy to lose track of time at home during quarantine, and it’s even harder to stay motivated while working at home. Having a solid routine is the best method to tackle these issues. Build a schedule that lists the exact times you will be waking up, eating, working, and sleeping. Try to wake up and sleep at the same time every day to ensure maximum efficiency throughout the day. Disturbing your sleep schedule could result in excessive amounts of napping or fatigue during the day.
Okay, so how does one exactly build a practical schedule? Dividing your day up into blocks will assist in building a more realistic schedule. For instance, I split my day up into three blocks: morning, afternoon, and evening. Try to aim to complete one task before lunch time in the morning block, and do the same with your afternoon and evening blocks. Personally, I use my morning and afternoon blocks for school related coursework. I dedicate my evening block to personal time, where I read, exercise, catch up on the phone with loved ones, or watch movies with my family. Don’t forget to include recreational and fitness time in your schedule. While being productive during quarantine is important, exercising and reaching out to loved ones during these uncertain times is equally as important.
Whether you are studying for online classes or prepping for the MCAT, it always helps to have a friend in the same boat. Reach out to your friends and ask them if they would be interested in virtually studying with you. Google hangouts, iPhone Facetime, Facebook messenger, Skype, or even Zoom can be utilized as online platforms to connect with a friend while studying.
When I was studying for my USMLE STEP 1 exam during quarantine, I had a friend who I called every morning at 8 AM to begin our studying for the day. Having an accountability partner made my studying significantly more efficient and enjoyable. Grateful is an understatement to what I felt about my friend during this stressful time period. Remember to take some time out and appreciate your partner for their support.
We are all going through some unprecedented times right now, and we should not neglect our mental health while trying to be as efficient as possible. Investing time in mental health will not only boost your energy but will also fortify your momentum. Sitting back at home and losing this precious time will bite us in the future. I know it feels as if time has stopped, but it hasn’t! Time is flying so go ahead, build your schedules, find your workspace, call up your accountability partner, and conquer your goals. If you have questions about specific circumstances, you are most welcome to contact us! For more Covid-19 Edition blog posts, check out our blog page!
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