COVID-19: How to Stay Productive

Coronavirus and social distancing have us all cooped up right now, but that doesn't mean we can't be productive! Get tips on staying busy and getting stuff done now.

COVID-19 has us all stuck inside for the foreseeable future. Of course, had we planned this little staycation, we’d have different thoughts and feelings about it (like “This is awesome!”). However, since it was brought on by a global pandemic, our thoughts and feelings are leaning more toward “This is awful.”

We’re right there with you. So what’s the best way we can keep our sanity and our lives in check? Getting things done. Accomplishing tasks, especially ones you’ve been putting off, will bring satisfaction among all the uncertainty. Read on to find out how to make the best of your unanticipated free time!

Make a to-do list

It’s easy to lose track of what you need to get done if you don’t write it all down in a notebook or on your computer. Organize your list by priority and how long it should take you to complete—it can be highly motivating to bang out a couple of quick tasks before you have to put your nose to the grindstone on a longer, more involved task. And don’t forget to check off items as you complete them—so satisfying! Not a fan of notebooks (or is your handwriting just illegible?) Try an app like Todoist, which is available on mobile and desktop.

School still comes first

As tempting as it is to do a whole bunch of busywork instead of studying, you need to keep focused. Concentrate on your coursework and studies first and foremost. In theory, it’d be nice if this whole social distancing thing was more of a vacation, but in practice? We’d all be bored out of our minds. Use the extra time you’ve gained by putting in the effort to finish the semester strong despite the circumstances.

Related: How to Manage Your Time Intentionally as a Student

Get those “miscellaneous” things done

If you’re still feeling motivated (or antsy, or bored) once you wrap up your schoolwork, tackle those random tasks you’ve been putting off for a while. Can’t think of anything off the cuff? Try these:  

  • Go through your clothes: Make a pile for donations, a pile for consignment, a pile for storage, and a pile of all the athleisure you’ll be wearing in the coming weeks.
  • Start spring cleaning: Think about all the spots in your room/apartment/house that you gloss over when you clean—window sills, cabinets, doors, under your bed...honestly, you’ll be amazed at how much dust, grime, and dead bugs (yeah, you nasty!) you scrape out of those random nooks and crannies.
  • Clear up some digital space: When was the last time you went through your inbox? How about your Google Drive? Get rid of some old stuff. It even feels good to declutter virtually!

Stick to a routine

If you’ve never taken an online class, you may have no idea how to manage your time as far as homework and studying goes. Establishing a routine—and sticking to it—is incredibly helpful. While you might be tempted to sleep in, make a diner-worthy breakfast, or scroll through Instagram from bed each morning, try to get up and knock some things off your list before settling in and relaxing later on. Of course, the value of savoring a cup of tea while pondering the state of the world cannot be understated. Easing into it is more than okay, but holding yourself accountable is crucial when no one else is around to crack the whip.

Related: 6 Tips to Transition to Online Learning

Take a load off

High school juniors and seniors (and college students of all levels and ages) rarely get a minute to breathe. Take advantage of this extra time at home to indulge in a little self-care. Need some ideas? Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • Elevate your skin care routine: You have the time, so why not? Toner, clay masks, serums, you name it. You’ll be absolutely glowing by the end of this, fam.
  • Take a bath: When was the last time you just soaked in the tub? It’s soothing for your sore muscles (home workouts are making bodies sore everywhere) and good for your sinuses (anyone else getting their spring allergies already?).
  • Veg out: It’s more than understandable to just want to chill for a while. With the rainy month of April fast approaching, we grant you full permission to curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, your favorite snack (if the grocery store wasn’t out of it), and your favorite streaming service. Go ahead, watch something mindless. Let your brain take a break. 

Related: COVID-19: How to Cope With Anxiety

Pat yourself on the back

Listen, times are tough. No matter how you’re coping with it, we promise that you’re doing a stellar job. Take it easy on yourself. Be patient and kind as you adjust to what will soon become our new normal. And if you need to talk? We’re here at home, hoping and waiting just like you. Reach out to us if you need anything.

Keep up with us on social media for updates or a good meme to laugh at! Follow @CollegeXpress on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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About Abby Curtis

Abby Curtis

Abby Curtis is a freelance writer based in the Boston area. Writing is her favorite, with reading coming in second. She loves petting dogs (and cats, horses, bearded dragons, and so on). She also cooks and bakes a lot—hope you're hungry!


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