With 2021 comes another year of learning to live with the pandemic. While vaccines are being rolled out in Southeast Asia, countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are still reporting record numbers of new infections, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Many of us are encouraged to stay home, work remotely, and comply with social distancing measures. However, while these measures may be effective in halting the spread of the virus, studies have shown the debilitating effects it can have on one’s mental health.
If you are one of the many who have (understandably) felt stressed or emotionally and physically exhausted during these times of uncertainty, fear not. Here are five tips on how you can stay motivated and productive during quarantine!
1. Setting a Routine
The first tip is to simply set a routine. Being productive can be difficult when you are staying home all day. If you’re like me, then the hours tend to blur together and you find yourself wondering where the day went. To avoid this from happening, try to create a routine for yourself whether you’re having a super busy day full of back-to-back Zoom meetings or just independently working on a project.
Starting your morning the right way can set the tone for the rest of the day. Make the bed, open the windows and get some fresh air. Since you’re not commuting to work, use that extra time to squeeze in a short yoga session or a morning walk. Try not to wear PJs for the entire day – instead, wear work/school appropriate clothes to get yourself into a more productive mindset. Furthermore, assign a set time for eating meals. This has the benefit of keeping your body active during working hours and can help you focus on daily tasks. However, it’s important to remember that making a routine is easy – the hard part is actually sticking to it.
2. Adopt Healthy Habits
The choices you make each day can have a huge impact on your life and productivity levels, which is why it’s crucial we develop healthy habits to maximise each day.
This can mean drinking more water (at least six to eight glasses/day) and sleeping for more than six hours a night. Or sometimes it means snacking less on those delicious crispy cheese crackers that you bought for sale at the supermarket and reaching for some celery sticks with peanut butter dipping instead. It’s the little things that matter most. Do whatever you can to make yourself feel more healthy and comfortable in your body.
3. Have Me Time
Self-care is the secret to achieving productivity. A lot of people set unrealistic expectations for themselves in an effort to get ahead, not realising that doing so increases the risk of stress and burnout. The truth is, devoting some time to yourself everyday can vastly improve your psychological well being. It’s about listening to your body and giving it what it needs to perform at its highest and happiest.
So, how can you incorporate ‘me time’ into your daily routine?
Start by putting your phone (and responsibilities) away. Just like in the pre-lockdown era, it’s important to separate your work from your home life. Know your limits – don’t be afraid to speak up if you are taking on too much work or need extra support. Then, set aside an hour or two each day just for you. Maybe cross a book off your To Be Read (TBR) list, play some video games, or treat yourself to an at-home spa pamper session. Spending time alone doing restorative activities can refresh your mind and help you be more focused.
4. Stay Organised
Another tip for how you can stay motivated during quarantine is by getting (and staying) organised. At this point, you’ve probably been stuck at home for months on end. That burst of productive energy brought upon by the excitement of lockdown is probably long gone by now and organisation is becoming a struggle.
So, where do you start?
The simplest thing you can do is to create a workspace that will get your brain into gear. Whether it’s an at-home office or a small study nook in your bedroom, organise it in a manner which best fits your workflow. You can also stay organised by creating to-do lists and budget trackers using Evernote or Notion. These powerful productivity apps can make a huge difference in helping you make the most of your day and staying on top of things. To declutter your house, my personal favourite thing to do is go on Pinterest and look up home organisation hacks. The site is full of creative tips on how to repurpose things you find lying around the house to conquer clutter.
5. Set Goals
The last tip, but certainly not least, is to create goals. Even after following all of the previous suggestions, it is important to remember what your end goal is. Where do you see yourself in five to ten years? Reflect on your personal and professional goals and think about the steps to take during this time that will bring you closer to achieving them.
In fact, take advantage of the extra time you have on your hands to develop skills which are conducive towards your future goals. Stay motivated by creating realistic short-term goals and big long-term ones. With time and consistency, hopefully you’ll come out of this crisis a little better, a little stronger, and a lot more productive.
Siti Mahsadinar Zams.
Mahsa is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization. Although born and raised in Indonesia, Mahsa is currently studying International Relations at Tokyo International University. She loves to travel and learn new languages. You can usually find her sipping an unhealthy amount of iced green tea lattes, reading a book, or debating politics.