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My quarantine to-do list: how I keep productive and chill

As uni students before the pandemic hit, we had tons of assignments, lectures, tutorials and meetings.

Right now, in the COVID-19 present, well, nothing has really changed except all the previous activities have shifted online. This might have been a lot to take in and most of us must’ve felt vulnerable and overwhelmed at the same time.

Around a month has passed since the quarantine started and I have developed various unusual habits. Going to bed at 6 am and waking up at 7 pm, breakfast replaced dinner, midnight baking adventures and snacking at random hours have now become a ritual.

Once where we had a routine to follow but now the routine is locked away with COVID-19.

Feeling demotivated, mentally and physically exhausted, and added to that as international students, many of us don’t get much remunerations so financial struggles sits on top of our list of struggles.

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However, we can’t just lie around, comfort eat through whatever we have in the fridge, and leave our assignments to the last minute since that’s going to increase our daily struggles.

Now, I can’t assure you that my quarantine and chill methods with work for you, but I can assure you that a good way to be more productive and feel good about yourself is to plan ahead and follow a routine.

Without further ado, I present you with my quarantine to-do list: the stuff I do to keep myself engaged and productive.

Write it all down!

To start, I get my journal that I keep on my study table where it’s noticeable, that way I won’t forget to write my schedule down.

Now you might wonder, why I need to write my schedule down when I can easily use my phone to solve the pen and paper struggle? Well, it’s because it makes my mind focus on the act of writing rather than using the phone to type, which we do most of the time.

So, what I usually do is, before I go to bed, I write all the activities I need to get done the following day and draw a little circle in front of it. Then, when I’ve finished writing everything down, I color it all.

The repeat activities I usually do every day are workouts, cooking, listening to lecture recordings, coding and assignments.

I am pretty sure there must be a psychological reason behind this but regardless, it really helps me to remember my workload.

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Install a focus app

I cannot emphasise this enough but installing an app such as Forest (Android) or Flora (iOS) helped me a lot.

I used to always get my laptop out, sit on the couch, but ultimately spent all my time on my phone watching Tik Tok videos and this can be very demotivating when trying to get back on-track. Instead, as soon as I start a lecture or a workshop, I turn on the forest app and assign it a time.

Now my phone is no longer be a distraction to me since it will not allow me to access any other apps. You can turn it off though, but you’ll have to kill the growing tree, and nobody wants to do that, I mean climate change.

Have a beverage near you

Once you get back into a proper schedule, wake up in the morning, drink at least one cup of water, and work out.

This puts me in a good mood, I have more energy, not to mention it’ll prevent hypertension, and less STRESS, and trust me this helps.

Honestly, this helps me and I see results every day. The other thing I usually do is make myself a cup of coffee and take sips of it while doing my work. This prevents me from snacking all the time when I get frustrated or distracted.

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Plan a reward

Rewards are something that can put anyone in a good mood. We’ll tend to work harder if we are told we’ll gain something out of it or we have a reward.

So, I always set something to look forward towards the end of every day and that helps motivate me to do my assignments and get my other work done.

For example, I like to treat myself with a Ghibli movie with popcorn, bake brownies, try an easy-and-cheap dessert recipe, order KFC, or Dominos.

Take time to relax and breath

We don’t always have to be productive and it’s okay to make time for yourself and lay on your bed, take naps, and hoard yourself with ice-cream and chocolate.

People will tell you that life is a race but consider this to be a marathon, and we all have our own pace. We don’t always have to follow certain norms, compare ourselves with every other student so it’s okay to rest whenever you can.

It’s already difficult to be alone in a country, far away from home and missing your family can be tough. On the other hand, I count my blessings too to have a roof to shelter me. More than anything, I’m thankful to have an international student community going through this with me.

After all, we all can relate to each other and somehow, we’ll get through this. ‘Till then, let’s quarantine and chill!

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