How to remain productive under this global pandemic?
Salama, Welcome to my second blog article!
The current trending matter nowadays is evolving around the impacts of the COVID-19 on the global economic, healthcare and governance system but how about its different impacts on education, precisely on students’ productivity or engagement? Therefore, as a student whose academic work doesn’t go unaffected by the global pandemic, I’d like to take this opportunity to share my experience and my tips on how to remain productive on a time like this so if you are a student, I hope this might be of a little help!
The pandemic has been found and started in a London-sized city of China called Wuhan and the numbers of affected cases keep on growing on a global scale up to today’s date (Nytimes.com. 2020.). It affected many public and private sectors including schools that are now officially closed worldwide and students who are currently transitioning to e-learning or virtual classes. This is an overwhelming and uncertain time for everyone but mostly for students as this month of April is a key part of the academic year calendar for most schools around the world due to the last exams before the holidays season or the summer break. Therefore, as a student of the African Leadership University who is now working from home, Madagascar, I’m going to first talk a little bit about my student experience on the different challenges I’m facing so far. Second, it is important to remember that every challenge has its opportunity side, therefore, I’m going to share what type of daily routine I’m now adopting and how to stay on track and stay focused as we’re away from our usual academic environment.
So step 1, acknowledge your situation or your reality.
The first two weeks back home were the hardest for me because I live in a very busy home and it was hard to find focus where back in school, finding motivation and good wifi were the least of my priorities and now, my arrival back home was nothing bigger than extra hands or help on households and babysitting. It was hard to balance academic workloads and chores, to say the least, and you might think of “ I was fine weeks ago, why is this happening to me?”, but remember this is a pandemic, not a productivity contest and you’re not alone as everyone else is also fighting his/her different struggle back at their home or not. For me, I had to revisit my priorities for the moment and by doing that, it reminded me of how I am still currently a full-time student and that I need to take the responsibility of thinking of new ways to adapt, create a new work plan as well as reaching out for help to my ALU community in case I needed support which could be emotional support, peer support or internet. I have always wanted to go to Minerva school but I didn’t think to transition to e-learning could come this abrupt so it was no brainer for me that if I wanted to submit quality work, I had to explain my situation to my family and step out of the house to leave to my friend’s place for 2 weeks to finish my school work as we’re approaching the summer break. Therefore, it is essential to review your priorities for the current time, work along with your reality or situation and take firm measures to address your workloads as well as your surrounding’s expectations of you. However, there is no single way of going by it, and on times like this, I do believe taking care of yourself includes finding your balance, so if you’ve found balance by staying home, glad for you! don’t hesitate to leave us tips by commenting below at the end of your reading!
Step 2, Practice self-discipline.
There are endless external (noises, tasks, …) and internal factors (impulses, feelings, …) that can distract you from getting your work done and that’s not only at home but wherever you go, at your workplace, on campus, or in your own room. My tip to that is one thing, self-discipline or self-control, which is a learned behavior that help you stay on track on your priorities and help you make level-headed decisions by removing different distractions off of your way and lead you to better results in what you are undertaking. You can argue with me but from my experience, building discipline habits towards self-discipline day by day effectively boost your focus and productivity no matter how distracting the environment you are at can be. By simply removing your biggest temptations from your environment that could be cell phones, television, outings, or anything that blocks you from focusing on doing one thing consistently will greatly improve your self-discipline (Patel, D., 2020. 10 Powerful Ways To Master Self-Discipline). The fewer distractions you have, the more focused you will be on accomplishing your goals, set yourself up for success by ditching bad influences and resist the need to respond to distractions. Like going to the gym, practicing self-control can be overwhelming and draining, however, there are millions of different articles, videos or other tools and materials that can help us build strong self-discipline habits from day to day, choose your style or the one that fits your situation and work on it.
The book “Deep work” has been written by Cal Newport in .. to help its readers find focus in a distracting environment. I found the reading worth it because it effectively defined my type of work station, and helped me define the different steps or actions I should take to remain productive. It helped me, and I hope you find it useful too!
Last but not least, what makes you happy?
This is a global pandemic, not a productivity contest and to me, being busy is a proxy to productivity as it is subjective, and today’s topic on how to remain productive include self-care as a key part of productivity because you need to be mentally and physically healthy to be able to do any work. As a student, it is easy and normal to get overwhelmed, lost or depressed under the different circumstances caused or impacted by the pandemic that can be unfavorable study environment, academic demotivation or disorientation, family issues, and many other roadblocks. Therefore, I highly believe taking care of yourself needs to come first which includes taking a day off from time to time to sleep, practice sports or do anything fun that you will definitely find enjoyable and will recharge your battery. In order to do so effectively, my tip would be to take out your new or revisit your old self-care bucket list, either it’s to read, vlog, watch your favorite documentaries, movies, cartoons or tv show, talk to your friends, to take a long shower, do arts, to sleep for hours, to sing, to cook or to simply eat. It’s important to think of what makes your day yours. The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality (Ritchie, D. and Ritchie, D., 2020. 9 Ways Being A Happier Person Increases Productivity – Calendar.). It’s also scientifically proven that happier people, make better and faster decisions as the brain works better when you feel positive which doesn’t only apply to students but full-time employers as well.
We’ve come to an end to this article but I hope you’ve grasped something important or useful to you along this article. Remember! Acknowledge your environment and define your work station, I have inserted the name of the book that helped me which I hope can help you too (If you have time or want to read it someday) then practice self-discipline if you’re staying at home. The most important thing to note down is that self-care which can be sleeping, drawing, taking a shower or anything that makes you happy or destress is part of a productive day and to my perspective needs to be very counted as a self-care routine on heavy times like this. If you’ve found any other tip you think might help other students maintain productivity in this specific period of time, please comment below and let’s discuss a bit!
With that being said, please stay safe, sane and happily productive! It might be a challenge, can you take it and start now?
Sending lots of positivity,
African Leadership University
- Patel, D., 2020. 10 Powerful Ways To Master Self-Discipline. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287005> [Accessed 11 April 2020].
- 2020. [image] Available at: <https://readingraphics.com/book-summary-deep-work/> [Accessed 11 April 2020].
- Nytimes.com. 2020. Deadly Mystery Virus Reported In 2 New Chinese Cities And South Korea. [online] Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/18/world/asia/china-virus-wuhan-coronavirus.html> [Accessed 11 April 2020].
- 2020. [image] Available at: <http://Ritchie, D. and Ritchie, D., 2020. 9 Ways Being A Happier Person Increases Productivity – Calendar.> [Accessed 12 April 2020].
- Ritchie, D. and Ritchie, D., 2020. 9 Ways Being A Happier Person Increases Productivity – Calendar. [online] Calendar. Available at: <https://www.calendar.com/blog/9-ways-being-a-happier-person-increases-productivity/> [Accessed 12 April 2020].