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Coronavirus: 5 ways to stay productive in a pandemic

Staying engaged, productive and motivated while spending much of your time indoors is important. We've got some great ideas on how you can keep on top of things.

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So, you’re studying from home due to coronavirus, trying to stay motivated and refrain from staring out the window every 20 minutes. There are some clear advantages to working from home which include rolling out of bed for your first lecture, studying in your pyjamas and squeezing in a Netflix episode on your lunch break. However, you might also be feeling demotivated. Here we’ll give you five tips on harnessing your productivity and establishing a clear end to the working day to allow for relaxation.


You can watch our animation for a quick summary of the 5 top tips, but don't miss out on further advice in the sections below!



1) Form a routine

Pretty much every article on this topic will advise you to establish a daily routine and that’s for good reason. Now that many of us are being encouraged to stay home to avoid the spread of coronavirus, we are all having to adjust to new ways of working, studying and going about our daily lives. While it might be tempting to treat everyday like a weekend, it’s important to maintain some sort of structure. Without this, you are likely to feel demotivated.

As an example, start your day with the usual tasks of showering, brushing your teeth and getting dressed. This will prompt your brain into “work-mode” even though you’re in the same space. You might even create a new routine such as a morning yoga session or a stroll around your neighbourhood. With this extra time, treat it as an opportunity to do little things that will make you feel good that otherwise you wouldn’t have had time for.


2) Get comfortable

Have you separated your living and working spaces? While in lockdown, you may not have much room to play with but creating a comfortable environment will help you relax into this new way of working. Try to create a desk space with enough light, perhaps even near a window to get some fresh air. You might put up some photos or inspiring messages to take in throughout the day. Staring at a blank wall all day can be pretty dull.

There are many ways to improve your work setting without huge expense. You could buy yourself some flowers or a plant, light some candles and sit in a comfy chair. These are simple things that can massively improve your mood and productivity.


3) Prepare for distractions

Although we’d all like to work consistently throughout the day, it’s inevitable that at some points you may get distracted or find yourself procrastinating. This is totally natural as humans can only concentrate for so long. When you notice yourself staring into the distance or cleaning the kitchen for the third time, try to note down the time. This may be a sign that you are your least productive at this point of the day. If you start to see a pattern, you can perhaps give yourself a 20-30-minute break during this time. This will give your brain a break and will help you to concentrate when do you get back to work.

Remember to give yourself regular breaks as your day needs some structure and you can’t expect yourself to work flat-out all day. You might also discover when you are most productive, such as early in the morning or after breakfast. Harness this knowledge and complete your most urgent work in this time.


4) Plan, plan, plan

Whether you’ve got a dissertation to write or you’re in desperate need of catching up with the course reading, make sure you write out a plan for each day. This will help you set realistic goals and keep you feeling motivated. Writing a plan can also help you to compartmentalise each task into manageable chunks. Sometimes a long list can just make you feel deflated or overwhelmed. So, you could draw out your week and organise your work this way, spreading your tasks evenly instead of trying to get everything done in a day.



5) Work vs play

When you finish studying each day, what do you do to mark the occasion? If you don’t feel like the workday has truly ended, you should think about ways to separate work and “play” time. During quarantine or lockdown, it’s important to distinguish between your studies and free time. It can be easy to slip into overtime when there is no clear boundary, but this will only lead to burnout.

Try to incorporate some downtime into your weekly schedule such as painting, reading, yoga, running or watching a tv programme. This will give your mind and body a break which is vital in looking after your wellbeing. Other ways to signify the end of a day is by setting an alarm. Maybe you’ll plan to do 9am-3pm and after that time, you can do anything you want. Or you could change into different clothes, ideally comfortable lounge wear to prompt a shift in mindset from work to play.


If you’ve got your own tips and tricks to staying productive while studying from home, let us know by sending us a message on Facebook!

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