Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

5 Ways to Increase Productivity During the Pandemic

As college students living and learning remotely during this Pandemic, one of our biggest challenges can be staying focused and motivated. Whether it be online classes, extracurricular involvements or work related activities, being isolated due to social distancing guidelines has changed what it means and feels like to be a “student.” The COVID pandemic has resulted in increased loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression among many college students. These negative effects translate into students losing motivation, which is likely at the root cause of many of the problems college students such as myself are facing. Today I’ll share 5 tips that have helped me become more motivated and productive during this pandemic.

Develop a New Routine

Our old routines may not be applicable to our new environment. As classes go online and you find yourself increasingly isolated, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Doing your best to plan out your days in advance will help you think carefully about how you really want to be spending your time and hold you accountable. Creating a good schedule makes it easier to stay up-to-date with your classes and assignments, get good sleep, pursue self-care, and spend time on personal interests.

Find a Dedicated Study Space

Studies have found that your workspace has a large impact on how productive you are. As you study and work from home, there might be many obstacles hindering your ability to focus in your current workspace. Making the following small changes to your workspace can help you stay focused and motivated.

  • Reduce your desk clutter. Doing so will help you save time looking for things. Workspace clutter also distracts you and makes you feel more stressed. I would organize your desk so you can easily locate items and remove anything that isn’t being used. 
  • Secondly, keep items on your desk that encourage a feeling of motivation. Calendars, whiteboards, and Post-its can help you stay organized. Things such as collegiate memorabilia and awards can also help you stay motivated. 
  • Finally, avoid distractions from others. Try to find a place in your living environment with minimal background action/noise. When doing work, remember to remove social distractions such as your phone and access to social media platforms. 

Take Breaks 

Remember to take breaks! During this pandemic, every day can feel the same so it’s important to have as much personal time as you can. Stepping away from your screen can help you feel more refreshed and relaxed throughout the day. To help me stay productive I use a Pomodoro timer. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that breaks down all of your tasks into 25 minute time blocks with breaks in between. 

Get in Touch with Friends

As we learn and work remotely, we tend to feel more lonely due to seclusion from others. Try to stay in touch with your friends from school. If there hasn’t been contact between some of your friends, take the initiative to reach out and catch up with them. Here are some ways you can fill up your social calendar with your friends via video chat.

  • Play online games such as Uno, Skribbl, GamePigeon, Psych!, card games, and trivia.
  • Watch your favorite movies or shows via Zoom.
  • Learn Tik Tok dances together via video chat.
  • Do a virtual workout together.

Stay Active!

Finally, stay active by getting some fresh air outside. Staying indoors all day can be really bad for your mental health, and even going for a short walk can be a good change of scenery. Staying active can also help your immune system, which is especially important during this pandemic.