I hated seeing motivational posts on social media when quarantine first started. Theoretically, everyone being in quarantine should mean that people have more time to be productive. However, being in quarantine takes a toll on people’s physical and mental health as well as their energy. It’s hard to be inspired while wasting away at home with unstructured days and with minimal social interactions. In these new living conditions, people are set-up for their time to simply flutter away as they struggle to combat the lethargy clouding their minds and dampening their focus. Personally, my productivity level after quarantine started was basically non-existent. Even more, the last month and a half of school online was the most painful time I ever had as a student.
I also hold feelings of uncertainty for the future for different reasons. Notably, racial dynamics changed to place blame on Asian members of the community like myself. This was the worst of my struggles. However, as quarantine keeps people indoors, domestic violence and intimate abuse rise. Therefore, the above tweet doesn’t take into account how this pandemic affects people differently. Instead, it is evidence of the insensitivity that comes out of privilege.
This should be the time to be kind to ourselves. A time to validate whatever emotions we may feel while being empathetic to others’ struggles. It shouldn’t be the time to guilt-trip people for not being on their A-game when living through a global crisis.
That being said, we can recognize the negative effects that quarantine has on us. For instance, it’s more important now than ever to listen to our mind and body and practice self-care. The conditions of quarantine make it very easy to fall deep into a seemingly perpetual slump. I think about my decreased level of productivity in the past month. Likely, it will worsen when I have less to do after my university semester ends. Days are going to blur together and that will take a toll on my physical and mental health.
To avoid this slump, I have decided to organize what I have control over.
I knew that I needed to have something to work towards with my time. Something that I’m personally invested in and something that would make me feel fulfilled during the quarantine. As a result, I turned to goal-setting and tried to figure out what really mattered to me. Then I searched for something that I needed to try to accomplish in my life. In the past two years, I’ve started to have an idea. However, admitting it and speaking it into existence is another thing altogether. Doing so means there is now space for failure and disappointment. Quarantine made me see things simply. I could either make the decision to pursue my goal or I could spend more time being indecisive.
The more the goal scares you, the better.
#2 Making A Plan
The simple desire to accomplish something probably isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. Rather, there must be smaller, more accomplishable goals that will help us get to the big goal. They are like stepping stones along the way. For example, your big goal is to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Then the smaller goal is to study physics at university.
Maybe not all of us can win Nobel Prizes, but we can finish organizing our closets. Or start reading again, one page at a time.
#3 Keeping A Schedule
Adding some sort of structure and order to a day is helpful just to make sense of time. Dividing up the hours of a day and designating it to various tasks can help with procrastination and organization. Additionally, making a weekly routine makes time feel more valuable again. This can be achieved with regularly scheduled workouts or other physical activities. As well as having set times for eating or calling family and friends. Physical activity during the day can also help improve sleeping habits and combat lethargy, therefore improving productivity.
In general, help with regaining control of our time reminds us that we don’t have an unlimited supply.
It’s important to value the process over the result. This is a difficult time for many people. We have to be forgiving of ourselves for not performing at our best. There is a purpose to our days as long as we take various efforts to improve our situation.
Maggie Lupin. (April 7, 2020) It’s Okay to Be Unproductive During Quarantine. Medium.
Annie Reneau. (April 7, 2020) A trauma psychologist weighs in on the risks of ‘motivational’ pressure during quarantine. Upworthy.