How to Maintain Productivity During COVID-19
Preparing for your new normal.
By Sonya Pfitzenmaier | April 28, 2020
Constantly being on the go is one of the many reasons I love the hustle and bustle of college life. I’ve always been highly motivated by productivity, and am slightly ashamed to admit how much satisfaction I get from crossing tasks off my lengthy to-do list each day. However, ever since the world has been momentarily put on pause, I have had times where I feel as though all the things I wanted to achieve this semester have been taken away from me. And I’m certain most of you feel the same way too. As someone who thrives off of productivity and keeping my schedule jam-packed, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t found being stuck inside all day frustrating. Nonetheless, I’ve been slowly getting better at adjusting to this new normal and have even found ways to get things done all while sitting on my couch. So once you’ve finished binge-watching Tiger King, inevitably cut your own bangs, or don’t think you can take one more family walk, here are some ideas on what you can do to keep busy and utilize your time in a meaningful way.
Build Your Resume
You’re probably wondering how it’s possible to work on career development during the quarantine. However, the internet is a wonderful thing and is stocked with opportunities to learn new skills and prepare for a future career. As an engineering student, I’ve always wanted to learn how to use AutoCAD software, so I’ve been taking some time out of each day to learn a little bit more through a free online course I found. There’s plenty of resume builders to take part in from home whether it be learning how to code, becoming an expert on a topic that fascinates you, or starting a blog that you can add to your portfolio of writing samples.
Invest Time into Mastering That Hobby You’ve Always Wanted to Learn
I’m 100% guilty of giving up any new hobby that doesn’t give me instant satisfaction. I’ve tried calligraphy but gave up when my first few tries didn’t compare to the beautiful lettering I’d see on my Pinterest feed. I also tried to get into running, but after realizing I wouldn’t be able to immediately run for miles on end, that hobby quickly came to a close. I even tried embroidery, but never picked it back up after my first go at it looked more like a mistake than something that would be considered art. I’ve realized that in order to make any new hobby worthwhile, I have to be patient and willing to invest time into refining my skills. Well, lucky for us, we’ve all got a plethora of time on our hands at the moment. Over the past month or so, I’ve been picking up my ukulele and teaching myself how to play all sorts of different songs. It’s amazing how much better I’ve gotten over a few weeks and seeing my progress has been a great motivator to continue to practice more.
Plan for the Future
Just because you can’t leave the house now, doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck inside forever! I’ve been spending my free time looking ahead and finding new things I can do once life gets back to normal. One fun project I’ve been working on is planning a future road trip with my friends. We all have a shared PowerPoint we’re working on, where each slide talks about a different city we want to go to and all of the different things to do while visiting. Additionally, now is a great time to explore resources that are available at your school! I’ve taken some time to explore future research opportunities, study abroad programs, and internships so that once I am able to get back on campus, I’ll have an idea of new things I can get involved with.
Become Comfortable with Doing Nothing
I know I’ve been talking a lot about finding ways to feel productive amidst everything that’s going on in the world. However, it’s unrealistic to think that in the middle of a worldwide pandemic we’re going to be able to carry on like everything is normal. While I’ve been doing small things to feel more productive, I can’t think of another time in my life where I’ll be able to sleep in late or lay in bed watching Netflix for hours, so why not take advantage of it? I used to hate not having plans, however, I’ve taken these past few weeks to get better about carving out some time each day to be lazy -- and enjoy it!
Support Essential Workers
If you’re lucky enough to be staying at home right now, take some time to support those who are still showing up to work to protect us and supply us with what we need. There are so many small ways to say “thank you” to essential workers that may seem simple but have the ability to brighten someone’s day. You can order takeout from your favorite locally owned restaurant, decorate thank you notes for hospital workers, or just check in on your friend that’s currently working a double-shift at the grocery store. In times like this, I believe uplifting others is one of the best ways our time can be spent.
I wish I could say I’ve become a master at maintaining productivity while in quarantine, but we’re all adjusting to what’s going on in our own ways, and it’s completely okay if day-to-day life looks a little bit different right now. Above all else, the most important thing we can do is stay at home (as much as possible) and stay safe!
University of Texas
Sonya is a current sophomore at the University of Texas studying chemical engineering. She is best known for starting spontaneous dance parties in her apartment and unconditionally cheering on the Texas longhorns. Outside of school, Sonya enjoys scouring the internet for new recipes to try and exploring the city of Austin, one hike at a time.