How to be Productive During Quarantine

Who knew we would be experiencing a global pandemic 3 months into the year? Who knew? Everything feels kinda surreal. With the abrupt ending to university to being told by the government we can't leave our house unless we need to buy essentials or exercise.... It seems like a dream. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that we need to queue to get into the supermarket!

These last few months haven't been great due to the frustration with my skin. My motivation to do anything dropped really low so when my uni decided to give an extension for all my assignments I was veryyy thankful. I'm not feeding into the "you have so much time" narrative because I genuinely believe I've been given another chance to get myself together. A lack of self-discipline will take that chance away.

It's difficult to be productive when you're not in your usual working environment. I miss being able to go to the cafe or library to do my work, a change of scenery really helps. Until it's safe to leave our house again we just need to learn how to work efficiently at home.

7 Ways to Be Productive During Quarantine

1) Create a Schedule

A schedule is really useful if you want to stay organised and have an efficient day. It tells you what's on the agenda and what your priorities are. You can either create your schedule on paper or use Excel or Google Sheets. It's important to make your schedule as accurate as possible or you will never stick to what you originally had planned. I spend 10-20 minutes scheduling my day the night before. 90% of my day is included on my schedule, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed.

Identify what your working/studying hours are by figuring out your most productive periods.  My productive hours are between early morning to late afternoon. When I try to do work after this period I struggle to concentrate. Some people are different and work better in the evening. As long as you make the day work for you that's what matters.

2) Wake up early!

Develop a good routine if you haven't already. I know there might be an urge to binge watch Netflix all day/night but isn't it better for you to wake up early, do what you need to do then dedicate the evening to watch your favourite series? You will feel less guilty about it and it feels more rewarding considering you've been productive during the day. If you're not an early riser at least aim to wake up at a reasonable time.

3) Remove distractions

The biggest distraction you probably have is your phone. After reflecting on my screen time I knew I had to work on the amount of time I spend on my phone because it's pretty crazy. Currently I'm working on no social media before 12pm (this used to be habit of mine last year buuut I fell off) as well as keeping my screen time under 4 hours.

Rather than putting my phone on airplane mode, I hide it in a drawer in my room. This is my second day trying this and I'm telling you it HELPS. If you don't remove your distractions you will get distracted - it's that simple. I strongly suggest you put your phone out of sight to avoid the tendency of picking it up. I study downstairs in the living room so it's not within my reach. You could even give it to one of your flatmates or relatives to hold for you until you're ready to have it again. When you take a break and use your phone make sure you time yourself!

Distraction lists are amazing when you get distracted by a thought. You waste a lot of time by instantly tending to the things that pop up in your head - it might be an email you forgot to send, a call you forgot to make etc. To avoid losing your concentration write down the thought on a notepad or add it to a post-it note on your desktop (you can download an application). When you are on a break you can look at the list and decide what's important to do.

4) Use the pomodoro technique 

I tried this technique a few years ago and didn't like it (doubt I was doing it right to be honest). I gave it another go yesterday and couldn't understand why I waited so long to try it again! The Pomodoro technique was created by an entrepreneur called Francesco Cirillo. You work in short 25 minute intervals (called pomodoros) with 5 minute breaks in between. When you have completed 4 pomodoros you take a longer break which usually lasts between 15-30 minutes. By using this technique continuously you will see a massive improvement in your productivity and focus levels.

5) Do not study on your bed

Your bed is for sleep, I repeat your bed is for sleep! There is a reason you're more likely to fall asleep when you try to do work on your bed. If you have a table in your house study on it. Don't play yourself, DO NOT STUDY ON YOUR BED.

6) Meditate and practice mindfulness

Do you get frustrated because you find it difficult to concentrate? You're not the only one. I implemented 10 minutes of meditation back into my routine to benefit from a calmer mind and better focus. A wandering mind is a real pain which is why I take 1-5 pauses during my study session to practice mindfulness. I take 3 deep breaths and focus on my breathing. This is a great method for refocusing your mind into the present moment so your work can get your full attention.

7) Don't be so hard on yourself!

It's okay if your day doesn't go as planned. Whether you fall off your schedule or stay on your phone all morning, don't beat yourself up about it. Just make a promise to yourself that you'll do better tomorrow and implement the necessary steps that will help you get back on track.

If you're a student don't convince yourself into thinking this is the time to relax. Be weary of the amount time you spend keeping up with the latest news about coronavirus and scrolling through social media. We need positivity to keep moving forward and reading about how many people are dying from coronavirus, well... it isn't exactly what we need to constantly see or hear. Quarantine might seem like a nightmare but it doesn't have to be. Remember this is all temporary! In the meantime, let's do our best to utilise the time we have and be as productive as we can be.


  1. This is great advice definitely agree with not studying on the bed one.