With the semester ending and summer approaching, it seems more burdening to stay focused on the tasks at hand without feeling bored. Efficiency is at a low, while distractions are at a high. To prevent this sense of burnout, it is important to establish a balance between productivity and entertainment. Whether it is the former or the latter that lacks for you, peruse this guide, created from compiled suggestions from a survey of students, to reach an equilibrium between work and play.
The easiest way to experience the adrenaline rush of fulfilling a responsibility is completing class assignments each day. With the new E-Learning schedule and the material teachers have assigned on their designated day, students typically spend three to five hours on schoolwork Monday-Thursday, breaking up the work they do throughout the day.
However, it can actually be more helpful to block out a set time Monday-Thursday to finish school work and only attend the weekly meetings for classes that you need to, dropping by for the others if you can. As it is difficult to regain focus when distracted, starting remote learning as the first task of the day can actually eliminate the temptation to scroll through your phone or absent-mindedly watch videos or Netflix for hours. It also establishes a productive outlook on the rest of your day.
It is critical to use due dates in your favor: as motivation to turn assignments in. If you fall behind on your workload, it is even more stressful to catch up. Thus, if you finish your E-Learning work with time to spare from what you blocked in on your daily schedule, start working ahead on tomorrow’s assignments to maximize that leftover time.
In addition to E-Learning, quarantine also provides ample time to study for the standardized tests that have been postponed. Working through a chapter a day in a review book or watching the College Board’s AP review videos for your AP exams can help you prepare for upcoming tests.
Following the same procedure as E-Learning, scheduling a designated two-three hours to take notes and study for your AP exams daily can lessen the stress of the revised shortened exams. For juniors who still need to take the ACT or SAT, an additional hour each day can be scheduled for test practice. Depending on study preferences, this time can be blocked in right after E-Learning or later in the day. It may be more favorable to have productive sessions consecutively to maintain the momentum of productivity, or you may feel tired and need a break. These extra studies can also be postponed to the weekend, leaving the weekdays for E-Learning and the weekend for exam preparation.
There are also smaller ways to feel accomplished. If you feel like you are struggling to focus during E-Learning, failing to study for additional assessments, or want to be more productive over the weekend, tackle less burdening tasks to ease into the workload, instead of unhealthily distracting yourself. To get back into the swing of productivity, do chores around the house. You can clean your room, cook a meal, or walk your dog around the block..
Finding new hobbies and revisiting old ones
After spending time crossing to-do’s off your list, you can dedicate the rest of your day to entertainment. A refreshing approach to relaxing yourself is to develop a new skill. From experimenting with baking recipes to learning a new language, finding a new hobby can de-stress you, while also making you feel less guilty about unwinding. If exploring new hobbies is overwhelming, you can always revisit old ones. Spending time outdoors by walking around your neighborhood or reading a book of choice are also solid alternatives that are just as engaging.
Students have reported spending an average of six-seven hours on their phones, a three hour increase from their screen times pre-quarantine. However, after spending most of your day dedicated to the activities above, you most likely have four-five hours to burn on entertainment. If you further devote part of your entertainment time to finding new hobbies, you can reduce screen-time far less.
Leaving time to watch a few episodes of a show or a movie and catching up on social media each night can be seen as a reward for your hard work, pushing you to get assignments done throughout the day. Asking a family member to hide your phone or putting your phone in “downtime” mode in settings while you are working can reduce distractions and screen-time.
Talking to friends
Most importantly, during this time, make sure you are checking in on your friends. Contacting them over social media, texting, and video calling them are all ways to talk to them safely.
I hope this guide was of some help to you to reestablish control over your quarantine time. Stay safe!