It can be hard to be productive – quarantined or not. Being unmotivated, not knowing how to structure your day, or not knowing how to manage your time are just some of the things that can prevent you from being as productive as possible. So here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re as productive as possible. Read all the points carefully because although they may seem generic at first glance, this article consists of unique tips on how to complete these steps.
1. Determine your goals
Sometimes not knowing what to do and where to start can discourage you from being productive. Make a list of things you want to do or goals you want to achieve, then you can plan how you work to achieve those goals and how you spend your time. Here are some ideas: learn an instrument, write or read a book, learn a language, study, draw, practice or cook. Of course, these aren’t the only things you can do, but they are ideas. Don’t plan to take on too many activities, but choose enough to make sure there’s always something to work on if you feel like being productive. Make sure you choose activities that interest you and that you really enjoy so that doing them doesn’t feel like a chore.
Then, once you’ve recognized what skill you want to work on, set some goals. These targets should be: Sspecific, Mmeasurable, Afeasible, Rrealistic and Jtime-based, also known as SMART targets.
Specific goals state exactly what you want to accomplish. Measurable targets give these goals a clear definition of success and the most practical way to achieve this is to use numbers. Feasible mean that these goals are relatively difficult, but they are possible. Realistic goals force you to be honest with yourself and think about the obstacles you need to overcome. time based goals give you a deadline and time constraints so that you push yourself further.
For example, if you just created a blog, a SMART target might be: By the end of this month, I will have written three blog posts that I am satisfied with. To do this, I’ll spend two days planning a blog post, three days writing it, and one day editing it. I will then repeat this until I have written three articles.
Once you have determined your goals, you need to plan to achieve them. To do this, make lists and schedules.
At the start of each week, write down a list of what you want to do that week, in relation to your SMART goals. You might want to have planned and written a blog post and practice the piano every day for half an hour.
Then, each morning, make a to-do list for the day using your weekly plan as a guide. Be a little ambitious with your to-do list and try to push yourself, but don’t make it impossible to complete every item on the list. Also, if you don’t scratch everything, don’t beat yourself up! Be specific in the tasks you want to accomplish. For example, if you want to revise physics, don’t just write study physics. Instead, you could write finish 2 old physics papers.
One of the things that to-do lists usually don’t let you do is prioritize your tasks. To overcome this, I recommend color-coding your lists: highlight everything you need to do in yellow, highlight everything you need to do (but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t complete it) in orange and highlight everything you could potentially get done if you had time in green. This system works well for me personally and it means that I am more focused on priorities.
Also, try to make a schedule. It doesn’t have to be too restrictive: just write down the activities you will do in the morning, afternoon and evening. This way you will have a bit of a routine. Also be sure to plan something relaxing/fun. For example, every day at 4 p.m. I watch an episode of one of my favorite TV shows. It gives me something to look forward to and motivates me, while keeping my day structured. You can follow the same schedule every day or you can have a different schedule for a different day of the week for some variety, but keep in mind that planning your activities and making lists shouldn’t take too long.
Being in the wrong frame of mind and having no motivation makes it that much harder to try to be productive. Therefore, it is essential that you are in the right headspace because you cannot force yourself to work without exhausting yourself.
A great way to get yourself in the right mindset is to look at what you surround yourself with. If you’re sitting at an organized, clutter-free desk with everything you need right next to you, you’re more likely to feel motivated. However, if you’re on your bed or surrounded by distractions (like your phone), you probably won’t be as motivated to work. With that in mind, make sure you have a convenient, quiet study space that you feel comfortable in, and turn off your phone! It’s far too tempting to spend your time scrolling through Instagram rather than doing what you need to do.
Another great way to get yourself in the right mindset is to get inspiration from other outlets. For example, you can read books or watch movies with powerful, successful, and motivational characters that can inspire you to be more productive. You can also watch YouTube videos of other productive people, which is not only motivating, but also gives you an idea of what to do and how to structure your day.
4. Have a decent sleep schedule
If you sleep until two o’clock in the afternoon or are very tired, you probably won’t be as productive as if you were fully rested. Therefore, it is so important to make sure that you get enough hours of sleep each night. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but aim to get around eight hours of sleep each night. As we all know, that’s easier said than done!
The best way to have a good sleep schedule is to keep everything regular. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (even if you don’t have any morning plans). Have an evening or nighttime routine that relaxes you and helps you fall asleep, and try not to change this routine unnecessarily unless it requires adaptation. For example, you can read a book for half an hour, take a bath, and keep a journal of your day. Try to limit your use of screens and try turning off your phone completely a few hours before you go to bed. If you have FOMO, do things to distract yourself (like reading a book) and put your phone in another room.
When you’re in quarantine and have no early morning commitments, having a good sleep schedule doesn’t have to mean going to bed and getting up early. This means it’s easier for you to wake up at your preferred time and fall asleep at your preferred time while still getting enough sleep. Obviously, if you have school or work in the morning, you need to be able to wake up early. But, when you have nothing to do, the time you fall asleep/wake up depends on whether you are in the morning or in the evening. If you’re more productive and motivated in the morning, going to bed early and waking up early is more beneficial for you, but if you find you get more done at night, going to bed later and waking up later might be better. . It’s just a question of what kind of person you are.
It is important to remember that every morning does not find it easy to wake up early! Just because you have trouble getting out of bed at 6 a.m. doesn’t mean you’re unproductive in the morning, it just means you need to practice waking up earlier. It can be a challenge but, again, a good way to motivate yourself to get out of bed is to have a morning routine that you enjoy. It could be eating your favorite dish for breakfast or watching an episode of your favorite TV show, whatever makes you want to wake up.
5. Exercise and nutrition
Staying healthy and fit is essential to being productive. Make sure you don’t sit all day and move around occasionally. Getting active, whether it’s going for a walk or working out outside of YouTube, will do wonders for your productivity and motivation. In fact, the exercise itself is productive. Stay safe and know your limits, and you don’t have to train for an hour every day, but try not to become inactive.
It is also important to eat healthy. Make sure you eat enough and have a balanced diet.
It’s too easy to skip the productive activities you had planned. Everyone struggles with self-discipline at some point, which is fine as long as you know how to fight it. If you generally have trouble staying disciplined, it’s best to ask other people to control you.
You can do this by giving your schedule to someone you live with, such as a parent, sibling, or roommate. That way, if they see you watching Netflix instead of practicing the piano, they’ll remind you that it’s not your break time and encourage you to get back to work. You’ll be less likely to slack off because you know someone is watching you, much like you probably won’t sit around in a classroom if your teacher is watching you.
Another way to do this is to work on your goals with your friends. For example, you could all decide to follow Chloe Ting’s 2 week shredding program, and you could message each other every day that you did. You can even video call them and do it with them. You could also work together on a novel – you could write a chapter each. It forces you to achieve your goals because your friends hold you accountable.
While asking others to watch over you, try to develop habits that will improve your self-discipline. Whenever you do something boring, do you think of something like: as soon as i finish this i will watch an episode of Outer Banks. It motivates you and pushes you to lower your head and work faster. Remove all distractions, including your phone. If you need your phone for your business, turn off social media apps so you won’t be tempted to scroll through Instagram.