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5 Tips to be Productive During Quarantine

During this time when everyone is home 24/7, it can be really difficult to resist the temptation to lie in bed all day or scroll through social media for hours on end. Chances are, there is still work that needs to be done. There are ways to make the most of your day when you are social distancing. Here are five of them:

1. Make a list of your priorities.

If you're still in school, or are working from home, those obligations are most likely your top priorities. While anxiety is high during this time, it's important to also prioritize your health --mental and physical. Order your priorities from the ones that take up the most time and are the most important to those that you can do when the work gets done. That way, you can still get your Netflix binge in your day in a healthy way. Your list may look something like this: school, remote job, cleaning the house or apartment, exercising, going outside, doing a hobby then relaxing.

2. Schedule your priorities.

You can make a list of your priorities all day long, but if you never use it to optimize your work time, things will still not get done. A schedule is also important so that you don't get so caught up in working that you look up to see the sun going down, and you’ve been sitting in the same chair all day. Allotting time for uninterrupted work and sticking to it will make lying on the couch, baking cookies or watching a movie that much more relaxing. You will have earned it.

3. Plan the specifics of your day ahead of time.

I know what you're thinking, but this is different from making a schedule. At night, make a list of your top things to get done during your work and productivity time so you go into your day with a plan, and you don't have to use your work time to figure out what needs to be done. You will be able to go in with a goal. Also, schedule what exercise you are planning on doing, what meals you're going to eat (this will help with mindless snacking), what hobby you will work on, what cleaning needs to be done and what enjoyable thing you're going to do, guilt-free. If you go into the day blindly, it will be over before you know it and you'll be asking yourself what you actually got done and if it was a productive use of your time.

4. Turn your phone on "Do Not Disturb"

During your work time, it's important that you are just focusing on work. If you are working remotely, it's understandable that you will need your phone to communicate with co-workers. However, this will increase the temptation to go on other apps, or will increase the likelihood that you will get side-tracked. If your text messages or phone calls connect to your laptop, utilize this and put your phone in the other room so that you can still communicate when essential. Otherwise, put that phone down or in the other room and get to work!

5. Better yet, schedule your screen time.

If you allow yourself a few hours -- or however long you see fit -- of screen time each day, it's a lot easier to avoid the temptation, because you know you'll have that time later in the day. I have found it beneficial to allow myself screen time during meals if I am eating alone. Aside from meal time, I'll check my phone before I go to bed and before putting it across the room for the night. I've found that I don't really need to check my phone as often as I tend to when my hands are idle. Also, during my scheduled "free time," I try to do something fun or new, but if not, I allow myself this time to answer emails, text messages and scroll through social media.

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in a lot of plans. However, it doesn't have to throw you off of your game. If you write your goals down and be mindful about sticking to them, this time can be a time of growth and productivity.

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