By Christa Morrow - It's okay to zoom out of Covid productivity
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Reading this is not unproductive
Now I am no expert, but I am a student of SCU who has been isolating at home for almost two weeks, and I am struggling! Maybe you can relate to the frustration I have been feeling from being "unproductive."
I usually study in the campus library, so my first couple of days at home consisted of setting up an office space, rigging an old TV as a monitor, and plenty of procrastination. Slowly I realised that COVID-19 was not going to pass in a couple of days, and I needed to let go of my previous routine, prioritise, and settle into this new isolated but incredibly connected world. I'd say it took me three days before the novelty wore off and I started to gain traction working and studying from home. By writing down a big list, I felt a lot more productive. I colour coded a new timetable and added breaks for food, stretching, and exercise.
That high lasted about four days before I crashed.
It looked like I was on top of things, but in reality, I'm struggling to sleep, my eyes are sore from all this screen time, I am missing the beach, and my anxiety and uncertainty is starting to add up. I need a day off from COVID-19! I realised the hardest thing about staying home is switching off. One morning I was caught out, frustrated at myself for wasting a couple of hours stuck in what I call the social media scroll hole. With my new "COVID-19 inherited" obsession with procrastination entirely in tow, my tummy tightened at the thought of going back into the office space, and I psyched myself out altogether! When I am not studying, I am on my phone or watching the TV, and even when trying to disconnect by listening to music, reading a book, exercising, or practising mindfulness, there is still a little creeping thought. That little voice on your shoulder reminding you about your missed lecture or that tutorial, which starts at 7 pm, or the due date on my next assignment, creeping closer and closer with every sleep-in or episode of reality tv.
The point of my blog is not to make you more anxious! It was to let you know that it's okay not to be so productive sometimes. There may be pressure from uni, family, work, and maybe yourself, but if you can take a metaphorical zoom out of your situation and see the big picture, YOU'RE PROBABLY DOING GREAT!
It's true, you might be a little too hard on yourself, but being worried about being unproductive is in itself… unproductive!
A friend of mine mentioned last week, "No-where in the government's new laws does it say that you have to be more productive now that you are in isolation!" It's a crazy stressful time, and things are tough, but you're doing your best, and that's honestly enough. I say, do what you have to do to get by today! If that means only an hour or so working on an assignment, then so be it. If it means applying for an extension for your assessment, what are you waiting for? If it means taking an afternoon off to go for a stroll in the park, a quick break to bake a cake, or a day of mental rest, go right ahead.
No one can tell you how to cope with uni right now. You will make it work in your way!
If you find yourself stuck here is a quick list of some things that might help:
Set up a new office/study space - minimise distractions maximise good vibes
Organise your time - a timetable that suits YOU
Keep a good sleeping pattern - aim for 8 hours
Exercise daily - just sweat for 30 mins
Fresh air - even just sitting in the sun in the backyard can do wonders
Virtual socialising - Zoom,Skype, Houseparty, Messenger
Music - listen to a new or favourite album start to finish
Learning a new skill / pick up a new hobby - Youtube and Pinterest will help!
Being creative - write a rap, paint a picture, plant something and again Pinterest
Practice gratitude - small things can make big differences
Cooking more - try a new recipe
Silent time - 0 screens, 0 noise, just positivity
Finding something to look forward to after this random crisis - plan some gigs, a picnic, a road trip
Genuinely though, I think you know what's right for you and what you can do to make yourself feel good! If you pick just three things to work on, looking after yourself might not seem like such a mountain or digression from the study.
Small positive decisions are productive, so take another breath or break, reassess, push into the positives, and prioritise YOU. I won't question it, and neither will anyone else. Do what you have to do. For now, I'd just like to acknowledge that the ocean's tide is still coming and going, the stars are shining brighter than ever, and your life is not a sum of your current emotions. Edited by Josh Enoch