How to stay productive and calm during the quarantine in academia – 10 tips

Hi all, I am writing this post on tips to maintain productivity during the quarantine period. Many people are staying alone, and away from their families, so it is likely that they feel anxious, worried, distracted, or even bored staying at home. Social media makes it challenging to stay focused and also leads to loss of productivity. We feel that we will accomplish more targets while staying at home, but that is not the truth.  When I heard the news about the Corona outbreak and how things are shutting down, I felt extreme fear and helplessness. I was lost and disturbed thinking about the uncertainty in our future, our career, our families – it is too overwhelming to handle.

So,

My first tip is to STOP!!! Don’t be glued to Whatsapp messages and other social media content about panic and rumors and rising number of cases.

The first thing to remind ourselves is that we are safe in our homes, and so are our families. We have to let only positive thoughts enter our mind and block all negativity.

I will discuss some tips to help improve our focus and productivity:

  1. MEDITATE: I can’t emphasize enough on the power of meditation, especially during this time of chaos and panic. It instantly calms and relaxes our mind and gives us more energy to focus on our work.
  2. EXERCISE: Any form of exercise – yoga, Pilates, strengthening, or even dancing. It is especially useful when we are sitting at home, and our physical activity is low. It boosts our concentration and makes us more productive
  3. ORGANIZE/PLAN: Most of us feel lost because now we don’t have a structured routine. So write down your timetable and ‘things to do’ for each day. You should make an effort to complete those things before going to bed. Don’t keep targets for weeks or months. Instead, keep it day-wise.
  4. DECENTRALIZE– It is a technique in psychotherapy in which we have to shift our focus from something negative/disturbing to something neutral or not to elicit emotions.  So the best way to decentralize is to share ‘non-corona news/non-corona memes/non-corona jokes’ and instead watch a comedy movie, play games with roommates, or cook a healthy meal.
  5. START SMALL – If you are finding difficulty in focusing at work, then take tiny steps and keep small goals. Even if you read one page of an article or write one paragraph in a day is fine. Just keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps are. It will make you confident in achieving your daily goals.
  6. ENGAGE IN YOUR HOBBIES: Not because you have the time for your hobbies but because it will keep you focused and positive. It will set a positive tone, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
  7. STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with your Ph.D. friends and supervisors to get motivated in your goals and to update your progress time-to-time. It will also help to develop a sense of belongingness to your research community.
  8. PSEUDO OFFICE: We tend to think that we are at home, so there are no rules, but, to boost our productivity, create a pseudo office. Imagine as if we are still at our workplace and follow the same timings and office routine. Don’t take the liberty of skipping your work routine.
  9. PRACTICE GRATITUDE: It is an effective technique to beat the blues. Either reflect on things that are good in your life or try journaling. Feeling thankful is a shortcut to feeling positive. It is also a good time to write down the acknowledgments for your Ph.D. thesis 🙂
  10.  SELF-CARE: Self-care is essential for a healthy body and mind. Take out time every day for self-care activities such as eating healthy, sleeping well, taking care of your pets or plants, taking a hot bath, or anything that makes you happy.  

This post is NOT on ‘Things to do at home when you are bored’ but on how to improve our productivity and maintain our mental health while actually #workingfromhome

I hope you find it useful. Have a safe and productive quarantine. Remember, we are together in this!

Amreen

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