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.

How Do I Heal My Eczema Naturally? | My Journey

The Maker's Diet Book

After the worse flare up I have ever experienced, my eczema finally cleared up from my face, arms and neck last year (still remained on my hands) for about 4 months. My excitement slowly disappeared when I returned from Venice in August to face my worst nightmare. My eczema. It came back, not as bad as before (thank God) but bad enough to affect my quality of life again.

The Abido cream controlled the eczema on my face and neck (stopped working on my arms and hands strangely) and I was using it on and off since mid last year. I became too dependent on it which meant that I wasn't as strict with my eating habits as I should have been. Last month, I decided to ditch the Abido cream because it had a potent steroid in it. Long term use thins the skin and some potent steroids can cause skin cancer. Taking all of this into consideration I knew it was time to give it up completely but I was hesitant to go back to dark, dry and rashy looking skin.

My face looked really bad a few weeks ago but ever since I started using the Makers Diet the inflammation calmed down. The diet made it easier to figure out what food is potentially triggering my skin. When you're having a flare up your skin is more prone to food intolerances which is annoying as hell. It makes it seem impossible to find anything to eat but through a lot of research, I have a better understanding of the food alternatives I can have.

What is the Maker's Diet?

The Maker's Diet is a faith-based health plan that lasts for 40 days and is split into three phases. It was written by Jordan S. Rubin who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. I was shocked to see the amount of diseases, infections and deficiencies he ended up having due to the treatment for his diagnosis.

Looking at this horrible list it's crazy to think his diet cured him. He tried loads of different medications and treatment yet they all failed to work. There's an influencer I follow and she's an eczema sufferer who claimed the Maker's Diet cleared her skin. After I saw her recommendation I knew this might be a sign that the Maker's Diet could work wonders in my life too and it could heal me "inside out".

I found it difficult to adapt to the diet completely because I have a food intolerance to dairy and Ruben stated we should have eggs for breakfast in phase one and two. In the 'food to avoid' section it mentions rice milk, almond milk and other dairy alternatives. I still drink unsweetened oat milk which I know I am meant to avoid but it doesn't trigger my skin and I can't drink anything else.

In phase one, this was my food plan for 14 days:


 Strawberries, berries and flaxseed smoothie

Lunch - Fish or chicken with salad

Tuna salad

Dinner - Fish or chicken with salad

You see that? No carbs, no refined sugars and no grains. I couldn't eat certain fruit and meat either or beans. I did lose weight obviously, my friend pointed out my chin became more defined (lol). The aim of limiting the consumption of certain food is to get rid of the toxins in your body, boost your immune system, regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation. I felt really tired and weak during phase one but the good news is that this wouldn't be forever...

Salmon, red pepper, buckwheat pasta and vegan mayonnaise.

In phase two I could add sweet potatoes and corn back into my diet and in phase three I could add a lot more food such as oats (in small quantities), buckwheat, quinoa, all fresh fruit, maple syrup and more. There are still some restrictions (like white rice - who knew I could go this long without it?) that I need to avoid until I fully heal. I’ve been making my own celery and cucumber cleansing juice and rebuilding my immune system by taking multivitamins too.

Weirdly, the other parts of my body affected by eczema got worse during the diet even though my face got a bit better. I'm pretty disappointed though because I didn't complete the 40 days to see if it would improve. I fell off during phase two, I started eating refined sugars again and I went to Florence a few weeks ago. My skin got really bad from eating out most of the time but it improved when I came back and started eating healthier food. I'm trying to avoid eating out as much as possible because everytime I do, no matter where I go or what I get it triggers my skin. Rather than starting the diet again, I decided I would implement meals from each phase and try my best to have one partial-fast day a week. If I don't see much progress I will consider starting again.

Trying to stay positive with eczema.

This disease destroys you mentally. I try my best to stay positive but it's really difficult sometimes. It's frustrating to have your health as an issue, especially when you're young... I wish I didn't have to stress about how I look, what I could eat or what I could wear. I would do anything to wake up and live a normal healthy life again.  Sometimes I want to give up but I know If I don't wholeheartedly believe this is temporary this will always be my reality. My skin condition will get better, it will just require a lot of patience and strong faith.

Situations like this requires a huge amount of acceptance. Some days I am okay and believe that I will overcome things, other days I look at my skin and feel terrible. Harnaam Kaur, a body activist, stated in her Ted Talk that "I am a testimony". This struck a chord in me because I know I am one too. There's a strength in my weakness and God has given me a story to tell.  One day I will heal in order to help others heal too. Until then, I won't give up.