Opinion

17th November 2020

How To Stay Productive in Lockdown 2.0

The remote working trend has rapidly become the norm in the world of the infamous coronavirus, and whilst at first working from home was that of a novelty, it has brought its own set of challenges. Especially during another lockdown, which is in winter! Maybe you hacked the system in the first lockdown and already have the keys to success at home, but if you’re still lacking and in need of some inspiration, read on!

While some have experienced increased levels of productivity, some may have blurred the boundary between work and play, and therefore loose concentration. From marking out a clutter-free space in your home, to a perhaps unhealthy number of to-do lists, I will give you some of my top tips that have helped me keep up my flow of productivity.

Mess Creates Stress

I have found that the work space I allocate myself surprisingly influences my productivity levels and my mindset. For example, I will definitely get more work done sitting at my desk than I will in bed! This is very important, but where a lot of people will make the mistake, as they are not separating their surroundings between work and play. The key is to have a clear dedicated space for only your work. This way you will not be distracted by other things, as you are in your ‘work space’ and your head space will mirror this.

To-Do Lists

I am an inveterate list maker. I need the control over my day, and my whole week to be able to achieve my tasks. As sad as it sounds I can think of few satisfactions equal to checking off a task, no matter how small – it gives me a small sense of pride! I will write a vague to-do list and then transfer this over to my Productivity Planner to organise and prioritise my tasks.  

Top Tips To Smash your To-Do Lists

Do one thing for me and set your goddam phone to flight mode. I get it, we all have some sort of emotional attachment to our phone and TikTok at the minute (or is that just me:/?) but we all know it’s the best way to get things done quicker and be more productive. So…

  • set your phone to flight mode ( I know, heartbreaking)
  • disable all app notifications on your phone
  • play some calming study music (I love jazz)
  • coffee on tap, and of course water

This should set the tone for total productivity and help you get your things done faster and more effectively!

The ‘Pomodoro Method’

I came across this method in the aforementioned productivity journal and I have found it really useful for maximising your time and becoming more efficient. The ‘Pomodoro Method’ breaks the time you need to complete each task into 25 minute blocks – a ‘pomodoro’. You shade out each 25 minute block after you have completed it, and then, if you feel you need a break, take a break, but if you are totally in the zone then carry on for another 25 minutes and start another pomodoro! This techniques helps you to create a work flow, as you cannot do a task until you complete the one that precedes it, therefore ensuring you prioritise. This has been extremely helpful in organising and completing work ahead of deadlines. It also stops you from studying for hours straight without breaks and losing concentration and productivity.

Plan and Review

By being mindful of how you’re spending your work day and recording the number of hours you are spending working or wasting, you will profoundly enhance your productivity levels. By planning ahead and setting out your week with your tasks and their allocated times, you massively reduce distractions. I like to incorporate and plan my house related timings, such as meals, into this as well so they don’t interrupt or disturb my work timings.

It’s really simple and takes as little as 10 minutes. Every Sunday evening I sit down for 10 short minutes and plan out my week in a timetable of Monday to Friday (9am-5pm) with the work I have to do that week for university. This will include lectures, seminars, independent study, reading and admin work. I then, like the To-Do lists, cross out each task after I’ve done it. This is another great way to visualise your week and its tasks and make sure you get things done.

At-Home Lifestyle Productivity

The key to productivity lies in your morning routine. If you smash the morning you are guaranteed to smash the day and maximise productivity. Follow these simple but effective steps and you will be well on your way to tackling the day with a sense of purpose!

Step 1: Make your bed – It really is as easy as it sounds, but not every one does it. I know most of us are like zombies 99% of the time when we wake up but if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day and it will give you a small sense of pride, encouraging you to follow suit and complete more tasks!

Step 2: Meditate – This always seems daunting at first for beginners. The app ‘Headspace’ is good if you don’t know where to start with this. Even taking 5 minutes out of your morning to practice mindfulness will help ground you and clear your mind for the day ahead.

Step 3: Journal – Another great way to clear your your thoughts from your head is by translating them onto paper. The ‘Five Minute Journal’ is my favourite journal. It has prompts to guide you if your thoughts overwhelm you, or if you don’t know where to begin! This journal has a section where you write down 3 things you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude is a great way to improve your mental health – it’s easy to forget the good things in life as we tend to always focus on what’s not going right in our lives. Focusing on the joy already in our lives will lower stress, relieve depression, help you sleep better, and straight up make you a happier person.

Step 4: Move your Body – Waking up early in the morning and working out is absolutely the best part of my day. It releases endorphins and boosts your mood, as well as your metabolism and energy levels! Even if it’s a morning walk, any form of exercise is a fab way to start your day!

Step 5: Get Dressed – This is advice I often don’t heed myself but the difference this makes is not insignificant. Of course, a day in the Pjs is a wonderful thing, but it hinders productivity, perhaps without you even realising. Put something on that the DPD delivery man won’t judge you in when he hands you your sixth parcel that day.

Feature Image Credit: https://damselindior.com/how-to-organize-e-mail-folders/