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3 Tips for Staying Focused and Productive During Quarantine 

green pine trees covered with fogs under white sky during daytime
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

    In light of the disruption caused by COVID-19, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I had been spending my time, and how I’m currently spending my time. While most of us still have homework, most everything has been cancelled, and it’s thrown everyone out of whack, myself included. Time is acting strangely, like that one weird week between Christmas and New Years where everything’s a haze and you’re not quite sure what day it is. 

    It’s normal to feel disoriented among the panic and anxiety that’s been ensuing in the world. It feels like the ground has been shaken, flipped, and now we’ve lost our grip on what we’re supposed to be doing. But here’s the thing: time still exists, and it’s still wise to make the best use of it. 

    This is a strange season for us all, and that’s why I want to share three things that have been keeping me focused and productive.

  • Stick to your regular schedule as much as you can.

    I know you’ve heard this one a million times before, but it’s true. Now, schedule doesn’t necessarily mean routine. If you visited the library on a weekly basis or shopped with friends on Friday nights, you might feel a gap in time when you used to do those things. But take time to assess what parts of your schedule remains the same. If your school has assigned online classes and homework, try to schedule your mornings so that they emulate a school day. This part might come easier to homeschoolers like myself. Mornings and early afternoons have been more or less the same for me. I empathize with those of you who aren’t used to doing school at home. But let me testify to you that it is possible, and it’s actually quite enjoyable!
    In the afternoon, when you would have clubs, meetings, or work, think of something similar you might be able to do instead. Or, do something new entirely. Which leads me to point number two.

  •  Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do and a list of things you’ve been meaning to get to. 

    Everyone has that one book, chore, or task that they’ve felt they’ve just never had time for. Well, look back on your schedule. What’s missing? What can you put there instead? Does your closet need reorganizing? Does your room need a makeover? Have you always wanted to try calligraphy? Do your siblings need a playmate? (My family has played a ridiculous amount of card games over this week while saxophone music plays in the background. It gets intense.) Basically, look at this time as an opportunity to do the things you’ve felt you never had time to do before. Maybe you’ll discover you have a real knack for playing that dusty guitar, or you can draw really well. Maybe you’ll rediscover what your priorities in life really are, or find new ones. It can be exciting!
    Now, this is not to say you shouldn’t take a break if you feel you need one. Maybe a break is what you need to prioritize at this point. Whatever it is, don’t wait to begin. 

  • Learn from this time

    What does that even mean? Well, think about it. We all have busy lives. School, work, families, activities, hobbies, you name it. It can be overwhelming. But suddenly, before any of us knew what was happening, it was all cancelled. And now life is radically different. Maybe we took something for granted. Maybe we’re wishing for it all back. It is hard, and I won’t deny that. It’s probably a strange thought, but I do believe some good can be brought out of this isolation. Maybe you can reforge a relationship that you’ve lost with a sibling. Maybe you can create something truly beautiful. Maybe you can sit in silence and meditate.
    Don’t look at this time as something negative. Don’t dwell on the opportunities you’ve lost. Instead, fix your focus and let this time change you. It’s natural to view this isolation time as a negative thing. But if we all stay in this mindset that this isolation is the worst thing to ever happen, then of course we’re going to be miserable! Now, this is not to say we need to shut out the situation and act like nothing is wrong. But if we don’t do our best to keep our spirits alive, then the situation is only going to worsen.

 

    Now, please, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay inside! 

 

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