This personal piece was written by Jade Lim – a 4th year psychology student at UQ as part of her placement with the BeUpstanding team
As we are all practicing social distancing rules, the majority of us are working from home. While doing university remotely, I felt like I have been stuck in a continuous loop where the concept of time and space were merely a distant dream. Okay, maybe my situation during this pandemic isn’t that dramatic, but honestly I have been so unmotivated to do anything and I am sure many students feel the same way. With the transition of classes from being offline to strictly online, I find it even harder to keep up with the tutorials and lectures than when I had to go on campus. The lack of face-to-face communication and accountability allowed procrastination to occur easily. Alas, being at home calls for distractions or the endless amount of ways you can preoccupy yourself besides actually doing something productive. The fridge, TV and bed all seem to call out my name whenever an assignment deadline is closing in. Besides that, being extremely reliant on technology and the internet has made me prone to having strained eyes and sometimes even minor headaches by the end of the day. With my motivation and productivity being at an all-time low, I’ve decided to implement some ways to stay motivated during this unusual time.
Planning my days and keeping a daily routine has helped me keep on track
Firstly, I have decided to start journaling and planning out my days. By making a timeline for my assignments’ due dates and important meetings, this allowed me to keep working towards my goals. Besides that, it also helped me keep a daily routine whereby I simulate what I would usually do on a normal weekday. In my journal, I also set out small daily goals to make my day seem more productive. I made sure to keep them realistic and simple so it’s achievable, but I also try to not beat myself down when I don’t achieve them. Keeping a healthy sleep schedule is also important as going to bed and waking up early will lead to a better start for my day. A habit I have decided to develop is to look presentable during the day, meaning I would dress up and wear makeup like how I would usually do when I was out and about. This actually keeps me accountable and motivated throughout the day.
By implementing a schedule, I realised I have free time to spare, so I filled this in by doing some easy home workouts that anyone can find online. I always try to find time to do at least some simple stretches to keep my body active and moving. It also helps decrease my eye strain and muscle tension. Other than that, I’ve decided to tap into my creative side by doing more arts and crafts. Not only do I gain a skill, but it also gives me time to relax and unwind. Prioritizing my mental health is vitally important, so taking time out for myself was a good way to do so.
Taking a break from technology and switching off by exercising or painting helps reduce my stress and anxiety.
Distraction is common at home, so in order to keep focus, a strategy I have been trying to implement is the Pomodoro method. The Pomodoro method is a simple process for time management that has proven to boost productivity. So basically, I choose a task I would like to get done; set a timer for 25 minutes; work on that task until the alarm goes off; tick something off your list and then take a short break and repeat the whole thing again. This method works for me and I do manage to get work done.
Some other smaller ways to stay motivated is by doing my work in one room of the house. This creates a separation between work, play and rest. So I try not to do my work in my bedroom or my kitchen as I know I would get easily distracted or be less motivated. Another way that I keep myself accountable is by having Zoom/Skype study sessions with my course mates. That way, I don’t have to say goodbye to my social life while we all hold each other responsible for our assignments.
Staying motivated is hard, but we can help make easier by setting realistic schedules and taking time out for self-care.
These are just the ways I try to keep myself motivated during this pandemic situation. Honestly, it’s even hard to follow these methods, but I try and that’s all that matters. Sometimes we got to be okay with not always being productive. Adjusting to this “new normal” can be tricky, everything is a trial and error, but it’s a learning process for everyone. Below are some articles that provide further information on how to stay motivated. Though this pandemic can feel like it will be endless, but eventually, it will pass.
Some useful articles on how to stay motivated:
- 11 tips from Forbes about staying motivated while staying connected to others.
- Benefits of keeping a schedule and how it keeps your motivated.
- How the Pomodoro method increases productivity and why you should use it.
- Advice from a telecommuter to stay motivated while working remotely.
- A TED talk on how Jay Hayes stay motivated while working online.
- Easy tips on how to stay motivated and sane throughout the pandemic.
- Hacks and tools for being productive online.
BeUpstanding also has several motivational tips for how you can sit less and move more through this pandemic and beyond. Check out some of our recent articles on this blog, including tips from one of our health coaches on how to stay active and healthy while working from home.