Planning for Productivity in Virtual School
By Erin Rebello
If you’re one of the thousands of students who have switched to virtual school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably really stressed out about productivity at home. I wouldn’t blame you. Switching from going to school every day to attending from home is a huge shift that essentially happened overnight. Although we’re already several months into this new normal, you may still be experiencing some issues with being productive. If this sounds anything like you, check out some of the tips below to improve your study habits and plan for a year of productivity – even if you’re doing school at home!
Keep an Agenda
I cannot stress enough how important an agenda is! They are absolute lifesavers, and having an agenda is a crucial part of setting the framework for any sort of productivity. Personally, I love physical agendas, and every year I go shopping for a new one with a pretty cover; the cuter my agenda is, the more motivated I feel to use it. Physical agendas also work well for me because the act of writing down and crossing off tasks helps me with organizing my schoolwork. If you’re more technology-inclined, you can also set up an online agenda or calendar using any of the hundreds of free apps available in the app store. Some apps even allow you to set up notifications and reminders, which is a really helpful feature in this day and age.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
One aspect of schooling that I really do miss when I’m working at home is the physical structure of the school. No, I did not care for the hard, plastic chairs or the wobbly desks, but the actual feeling of being in school made me feel the need to complete schoolwork. When I’m at home school doesn’t feel as real – it feels like an abstract concept that has no meaning. This has been terrible for me because school is extremely important as a 12th grader! Recently, I’ve tried to combat these feelings by creating a dedicated workspace for schoolwork at home. Although it’s taken a while, I found that over time, by sticking to this one workspace, I’ve drastically improved my productivity, as I associate this space with schoolwork. Try it out. It might just work for you too!
Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep
I’ve always struggled with getting enough sleep, whether it’s due to excessive studies, social distractions, or even just some good old fashioned insomnia. Although I would stay up late before school, I would at the very least try to give myself enough sleep to wake up in time to prepare for school. However, without the need to attend a physical school, I went through a very unhealthy phase where I treated every day like a weekend, staying up late and fully exhausted the next day. Although I didn’t connect the dots at the time, this reckless behaviour led to a lot of unproductivity, as I’d be taking constant naps! Once I started prioritizing sleep, I felt refreshed, awake, and ready to learn! The bottom line is this: learn from my mistakes, and “catch up on those z’s!”
Be Kind to Yourself
We are living through a literal pandemic, and although it’s something for the history books, it’s not a lot of fun to endure. Considering the gravity of the current situation, please be kind to yourself! You are not expected to be perfectly fine. You are not expected to be productive at all times. Your productivity does not define your self-worth. Say these statements out loud until you believe them. In times like these, self-love and self-kindness is crucial to staying afloat and maintaining good mental health. Take breaks and don’t burn yourself out! Your well-being is more important than being productive 24/7 or getting A’s all the time. Find a good balance that works for you, and stick with it!