As quarantine continues for many, especially for students who are in remote learning, we may have seen undesirable changes in our daily routine that no doubt hinder our productivity and academic performance.
For me, I have found it harder to focus during the short half-hour class time and frequently need to spend more time on homework and reviewing class notes. The loose structure of remote learning and work creates many productivity obstacles. Here are some tips that I found useful in mitigating some of the effects caused by a change in space.
Tip 1: Establish your routine
Since I no longer had to take the train to school (or back), I didn't have to wake up as early as I did before. This allowed me to sleep in later. However, my morning routine remains unchanged. I usually reserved mornings for studying, reading, or catching up on any schoolwork.
I set alarms for each class to simulate the bell schedule at school.
I have lunch during my scheduled lunch periods and carry my backpack around to create a ritual for myself that makes it easier to draw a line between school and non-school times. Our minds are experts at associations. I sleep on my bed every day, so unconsciously, I have associated bed with rest; that's also why it's suggested that you don't bring your work to your bed.
Devising a routine for ourselves helps to keep ourselves on track. This routine can simulate your typical workday routine or it can be altered, so long as we keep consistency.
Tip #2: Keep yourself accountable
One of the major reasons why it is much harder to focus whilst at home is because: there is no oversight!
In my Zoom classes, only teachers have their Zoom camera on and everyone else is muted, identifiable only through the various square boxes that dot the screen. This makes it easier to doze off because even if you're not paying attention, the teacher has no way of seeing you.
To mitigate that, you can choose to turn on your cameras, which will pressure you to focus, or if that's not a viable option, you can also install apps like StayFocusd and Forest to force yourself to be on track when you are supposed to. Some other actions like keeping your Zoom on full screen and moving to a distraction-free space can also help you maintain focus.
Tip #3: Organize your time
Oh, procrastination is a common enemy.
For me, managing my time is a skill I am continuously perfecting. I have a habit of being an extreme non-procrastinator and though that may sound great at first, it isn't. My problem was squeezing too many items onto a too-long to-do list that never sees an end. I wasn't delegating my workload correctly; that hindered productivity. Whenever I saw my long to-do list, I felt defeated.
Managing your to-do list is an important part of time-management. Every day, you can spend some time thinking about your priority tasks for the day and what work you must get done today. This should be reasonable. While trying to organize your day, you can also try tracking your time. It helps to be more cognizant of how you're spending your hours. Of course, a productive day includes segments of rest. If you're exhausted or feeling drowsy from hours of grind, take a break!
Quarantine is not permanent, but the poor habits we accumulate during this time can contribute to a degrade in attention-span, ability to learn, and other undesirable side effects. With that in mind, hopefully you benefitted from some of these tips.