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Lara Rosales

March 30, 2020

Have you found it really hard these days to stay productive? Do you feel like you are “wasting” time? Do not worry, you are not the only one.

We are all facing this quarantine from different points in our lives. Some of us are finishing their semester online. Others are working from home. A few had to stop their job search. And the rest are at home because their work shut down and will restart —hopefully— once things go back to “normal." Whatever the case may be, we all reach a point during our days —our very long, never ending days— in which we feel very unproductive. It is very normal to feel this way and I believe it is a direct consequence from the quarantine.

Right now, we may feel like we have a lot of time to do multiple things; however, when the day comes to an end, you feel like you really did not do much. Your sleeping schedule has probably changed —I go to sleep at 3AM and wake up at 1PM— and that adds up to the stress of feeling unproductive, feeling like the hours go by without doing much. Trust me, I feel the exact same way. Sometimes, I am sitting on the couch and I spend at least 20 minutes telling myself I should be doing something else, something relevant, something necessary. But the minutes go by and not much has changed. That is very normal nowadays.

Although there is not much we can do to change our current situation, there are a few things we can do to end the day feeling a little bit more productive than yesterday. Every morning —or afternoon, whenever it may be— when you wake up, try to set a goal for that day. What kind of goals are we talking about? They can be very simple; whatever motivates you to get out of bed and do something at home. For example, your goal of the day could be to work out. Moving your body and getting your adrenaline pumping can really improve your mood; if working out is your kind of thing, of course.

Other goals may include reading a chapter of a book, watching a new movie, writing a paragraph of that project you have been working on, drawing, and getting through one of your online classes, among others. The point of setting goals is to motivate you to do something and feel better about your productivity. Reaching one goal a day can make you feel productive. If you are up to setting multiple goals a day, go for it! There are no rules and no one will control what you do; this is purely personal. But sometimes, to get out of a sad or uncertain situation, a small to-do list can help get us very far.

If you are taking online classes but you feel like you are not being very productive, set your own goals aside from the priorities your teachers have established. If it is a math class, try starting with a few exercises a day and increasing from there. If you have a lot to read, start with one page and keep adding on. You can start as small as you want and grow as much as you can. Set daily or weekly goals for your classes and you will see your productivity improve. If you are falling behind or need extensions, do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers.

Feeling productive during a quarantine can be really hard. Our lives are on standby and many of us do not know what is coming next. If you got out of bed and changed your clothes today, you are already being productive. There are no rules or guidebooks for moments like this and we are all trying our best. Try setting goals and see how that helps improve your mood. It is important to keep your spirits up and not give up. We are all doing our best to get through this.

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