Staying Productive During a Pandemic


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Following these tips to help you manage your time and maximize your productivity in the hybrid version of life that has become the new normal.

Mckenzie Schuvart, Freelancer

2020 presented everyone with fewer structured events and more free time. This led to binging Netflix shows and spending hours each day scrolling through TikTok and Instagram, only to realize later that deadlines are approaching more quickly than anticipated.

Here are some tips to help you manage your time and maximize your productivity in the hybrid version of life that has become the new normal.

1. Keep a running to-do list.

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This can be in the form of a calendar or a bulleted list — whatever works best for you. These lists can fill up quickly, so focus on the items with specific deadlines, and seek to prioritize whenever possible. Remember: there are a limited number of hours in a day. Aim to complete assignments that have a due date first, and work your way down to those that don’t.

2. Create an inviting workspace.


Whether it’s your desk, bedroom, or kitchen table, tidy up your workspace to provide yourself with an area at which you can work. Hang pictures of yourself and your friends, or play music to make the space feel inviting — both of which will inspire you to accomplish more.

3. Schedule social or personal time.


Take mental breaks from your work by exercising, meditating, socializing with friends and family, or engaging in other fun activities. Doing so will will make the time you spend working more productive and less exhausting.

4. Take a break from the screen.

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In today’s world, the majority of schoolwork requires the use of a computer. Staring at a computer screen for hours at a time, however, strains your eyes and can cause headaches. Sitting still in the same position for for extended periods of time is not good for the body either. Whenever possible, read from printed books rather than online text, and speak with people in person instead of over video chats. This will increase your stamina and make you feel ready to accomplish more.

5. Maintain a healthy diet.

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While tempting, avoid eating processed food and snacks with high sugar content. Fruits such as blueberries provide nutrients that aid in memory and brain functioning, and are much healthier options than bagged snacks that have little to no vitamins or essential nutrients. 

6. Get yourself into “productivity mode.”

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It is difficult to be productive when sitting in bed and wearing pajamas. Find somewhere else to work, such as at a desk or at a table, and wear clothes you would wear to school. This will increase your motivation to accomplish more.

7. Set goals for yourself.

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Setting goals helps you complete tasks; achieving goals often makes you feel satisfied. Checking off items from a list and being able to say you accomplished your goals — whether they are academic, mental, or physical — is rewarding and will motivate you. Meeting any goal will encourage you to accomplish other goals, in turn promoting a lifestyle of productivity. 

8. Work when you are most productive.

Some people are “morning people”, while others are total “night owls”. If you are more productive in the morning, it isn’t worthwhile for you to stay up late in order to finish an assignment. Instead, go to bed when you are tired, and work when you are most awake. Receiving an adequate amount of sleep will also help to increase your productivity, which will enable you to sleep more.

Above all, as you work to improve your productivity, find the strategies that best help you. While some find listening to music relaxing, others find it difficult to concentrate with music playing in the background. Some people find working in short increments to be better, while others take time to adjust to “work mode” and are more productive when they complete projects all at once.

There is no doubt that this year has thrown everyone for a loop. But life goes on. Things still have to get done. Keeping these tips in mind can help you stay on top of your assignments and avoid falling behind.