How to Stay Positive and Productive During Quarantine


Lili Gadret

Feeling unmotivated and really need something to lift your spirits during quarantine? Yeah, we all do.

We are all hopefully staying safe at home during the global pandemic of Covid-19, and although there are some things to do, like school work, it can be difficult to get up and immediately feel ready for the day ahead. Lucky for you, there are steps you can take to get that feeling.

Set goals
Before anything, it’s important to set goals for the remaining time of the school year. What grade point average are you aiming for? Write it down and display it somewhere you can see when doing your daily assignments.

Prior to beginning any work, it’s important to have a clear mind and not be overwhelmed by other distractions that could affect your ability to stay focused and on track. According to work-from-home experts Owl Labs, “A cluttered space can be distracting and even increase your stress levels.” Organizing clutter and supplies is a crucial step to staying productive. Take a weekend, a day, or even just an hour a day to declutter your room and reorganize. Having a clean environment is important and can be crucial to how well you focus. Maybe even move around some furniture to get a completely new look to your room. If you share a room, then just organize your part of the room. Make sure everything has a place and that there is no junk drawer (we all have one, but that should change).

Find a workspace
Once that step is done, find or identify a designated area in your room or house that could work as a place to do work. Owl Labs states that “Creating a designated workspace will help you gain a balance between your work and home life.” This can be a desk, an area of the living room, your dining room table, or even your bed. It is better to have an area that is only used for work, but if that isn’t possible, just make sure you’re able to completely focus on your work in that space. Improvise with the space your area gives you. By adjusting the furniture and planning, you can figure out a setup. If your bed is your only option, make sure it is made so that you aren’t tempted to get back into it. Consider buying a lap desk to have a flat surface to work on. A backrest pillow can also help keep good posture so you don’t feel like you’re lying on your bed.

If the area you chose to work in can be decorated, add whatever decorations you need to create an environment that can help you think creatively and stay motivated.

Lighting and temperature
The next step is the lighting. According to Karen Linder Interior Designs, “Multiple studies in the past decade have shown a strong link between daylight exposure at work and improved productivity.” Make sure the area you picked as your work space has enough light to not cause you to fall asleep. It can be difficult to stay focused with dimmed lights or not enough daylight.  Once the sun sets, make sure the lightbulbs in your designated area are bright enough to keep you focused. Light can “brighten the room and have a positive impact on your mood.” You can set up your work space near a window and use curtains or blinds to adjust and control the light coming into the space. And make sure to have suitable artificial lighting for cloudy days, early mornings, or late work nights after the sun sets.

Temperature is also a factor to consider. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can actually be distractions and make you unable to focus as easily on your work.

Staying organized and productive
To efficiently stay focused and on task, you must be organized and have a schedule. Try to wake up at the same time every day, preferably earlier so you can be done sooner and get to more fun things afterward. “Set up a schedule that works for you and stick to it.”(Owl Labs) Make a schedule for Monday through Friday and make sure it is possible to follow. Don’t give yourself too little time and then feel disappointed because you didn’t get done in that time. Give yourself enough time where you can get all of your work done, and if you happen to finish early, you can take a break before your next assignment. Try to organize your time to do work by class.

Make to-do lists. Make one at the start of the week and one before you get started on your work for the day. Using to-do lists ensures that you know what to focus on.

Distractions are a common reason to feel unmotivated. Distractions like social media, a TV show, video games, or websites can cause you to stop your work and not want to go back to your important assignments. Although it is important to give yourself breaks when working, you need to be able to get your work done as well, and distractions cause you to not focus as well or give up. With any distraction like a phone or computer that isn’t being used for schoolwork, put it away where it is completely out of reach, across from your desk or even in a completely different room to ensure that you don’t easily stop working.

Keeping a positive mindset
Staying positive in a time like this when you are stuck at home all day is complicated, but there are ways to achieve it. Having relaxing noise or a nice smell throughout your room can be very relaxing and add positivity to your space.

According to Mind Fuel Daily,”The right noise can add an extra sensory layer to your space that is relaxing.” Adding music can also be helpful at blocking outside noises. Headphones can come in handy for this issue to allow you to stay focused. But listening to your usual songs will most likely not keep you focused because you might sing along. Instead, make a designated playlist for your school work or an activity that needs your full attention.

Scent is also a calming factor to a positive room. “Scent is overwhelmingly connected to memory and mood. The right scent can make your room feel extra fresh and adds character.” Light a candle or spritz some essential oils and you’ve got yourself a relaxing scent to add positivity to your work hours.

Taking effective breaks
Breaks are crucial to working effectively and being overall productive. But how you use your breaks and how many you give yourself is also essential to your productivity. Your breaks should always be shorter than your work time. There should be a few short breaks and one long break during the day. The long break could be a lunch break of about 45 minutes, and the rest can be 15 minutes for every hour of work. Try to use your breaks effectively. If you use distractions as a break, it will be difficult to easily get motivated again. Effective breaks include reading, working out, eating, drawing, journaling, or even doing chores.

Set up for continued success
Breaks are a reward for your hard work, but you should also reward yourself once you are done with your work for the day or week. But make sure before you end your work day that you organize your desk and supplies so they are ready for the following day.

And then you’re back to starting over the next day, but with better organization and habits!