It's hard to feel productive when the biggest change of scenery is moving from your bedroom to the kitchen and your best friend is a pet rock. But, it's important to hold on to some semblance of sanity in these crazy times with quarantine, murder hornets and flying spiders. Here are a few tips that might help you stay on track with whatever you're doing at home, whether it's work, education or exploring a passion.
1. Change out of your pyjamas
It seems trivial, but change your clothes when you wake up in the morning. Studies have shown that people associate clothing with certain tasks and emotions; wearing clothes you normally would wear to school or work will help you stay on task. As comfortable as your pyjamas may be, you likely subconsciously think about sleeping while you wear them.
2. Stick to a schedule
Whether you’re the type to keep a bullet journal or the type to have a few scattered appointments in your Google Calendar, having a regular schedule is critical in a time where it’s easy to stay up until 5 a.m. or sleep past noon. Psychologists suggest that keeping a schedule not only encourages routine and normalcy but also aids overall mental well-being. Set boundaries and end your school or workday consistently without letting it bleed into your personal time; schedule in time to eat, personal time and breaks throughout the day.
3. Social networking while social distancing
There’s more to working from home — whether it’s school or employment — than work itself. Some of Western's clubs are hosting online events via Zoom and many companies are offering lifelong learning opportunities, such as webinars and employee resource groups. Take time to connect with your coworkers or student cohort; it’s easy to get lost behind a screen and forget about the social connections that make work and school fun.
4. Keep home life separate
This is as simple as avoiding doing your work around family members or roommates. Find a location for work or study and consistently use that location. Assigning a space specifically to your employment or education helps you stay on task, as your brain trains itself to view the area as an office or library. Take breaks, too. During pre-coronavirus work or school, chances were, you’d probably take at least a 15-minute break for coffee. Do the same at home.
Despite what countless social media posts might have you believe, this does not have to be the most productive era of your life. Chances are, your employer or professor is feeling the effects of quarantine on their productivity as well.
5. Invest in blue light glasses
There’s no doubt that everyone is spending more time staring at blue light — the light emitted from screens such as laptops, TVs and smartphones — which is known to cause migraines, eye strain and disruption in sleep patterns.
Medical recommendations to take frequent breaks from our screens are not necessarily an option in such a digitally-focused era, which makes so-called computer glasses an up-and-coming option to combat blue light damage. These glasses do not require a prescription but look like normal glasses; they come in many stylish options to ensure you’re Zoom video call ready. Canadian optical retailers ClearlyContacts and Bonlook both are currently holding sales on blue light glasses.
6. Establish a proper bedtime
Sleep is one of the most important tools to maintain both physical and mental health during the pandemic. As easy as it is to stay up all night, falling asleep at a regular time is important to maintaining energy and keeping a healthy immune system. While generally students should be worried about under-sleeping, sleeping for over ten hours is also dangerous to your physical and mental health.