A few months ago, staying at home for a month doing absolutely nothing probably seemed like a dream. And it was. For the first day. And half of the second day. But now we’re all slowly going mad and even the craziest of ideas, like packing up and moving to a forest just to get a whiff of fresh air seem sweeter and sweeter. But there are easier ways to keep your sanity intact and they all have one thing in common – being productive.
Just doing little things every day that give you a sense of acomplishment will lift your spirits and before you know it, the global pandemic will be over and Corona virus left in the past as just one of the many, for a lack of a better term, cuckoo events of the infamous 2020, along with a whole continent lighting on fire and Donald Trump almost lighting on fire the rest of them with his WWIII – twitter edition.
We realize that being productive takes some significant effort, especially with your bed being in your peripheral vision 24/7 and your computer being the only other thing in your vision (with the exclusion of the hourly trip to the fridge), so we decided to gather up some efficient but fun ways to stay productive.
1. Having a consistent sleeping schedule
You probably know the importance of the amount of sleep you get, but are you truly aware of all the benefits of a well-rested body you’re missing out on by having bad sleeping habits? Before we get into that lets establish what good sleeping habits are. Research shows that the best amount of sleep for young adults is between 7 and 9 hours, and getting anywhere less than 6 hours of sleep can have serious consequences for your health. People who generally sleep for less than 7 hours per night are 12% more likely to experience a premature death and those who sleep more than 9 hours are 30% more likely.
So, what are the benefits of getting the right amount of sleep?
- Decreased risk of developing adverse health conditions
- Maintaining a good immune system
- Retaining memory
- Cell repair
- Managing hunger levels and preventing weight gain
But the amount of sleep you’re getting isn’t the only thing you should be conscious of, the times you go to sleep at are equally as important. Our bodies follow an inner circadian rhythm and benefit greatly from routine, so try focusing on going to bed and waking up at the same times every day.
If the mystery of sleep intrigues you as much as us, check out this podcast all about sleep.
2. Moving away from your bedroom
This is a no brainer for most, but for those of you who just don’t see the point in moving from your bed when you’re going to end up back there in the evening anyway, let us change your mind. The biggest issue here is that it will blur the boundary between sleep and daily activeness, which will result in sleep difficulties. Assign different places for sleeping, eating, and other daily activities to reinforce associations with those activities. The best way to strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep is by keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room.
Secondly, being in one position throughout the whole day is not good, just as we all know that sitting for hours on end is not good, neither is laying down more than needed for sleep. There was a study done by NASA in which they monitored a person in a laying position for 3 months to see the effects on their body. Adverse effects ranged from substantial loss of muscle mass, blood volume, even bone density, to find out more check out the aricle. Of course, the effects on your body won’t be nearly as bad (mostly due to the previously mentioned hourly trip to the fridge), but staying in bed all day is still far from the best alternative.
3. Writing down your daily/weekly goals
Daily goals are always cited as one of the first tips to maximize your productivity and for good reason. One of their best qualities is that they force us to think in the terms of steps to achieving our goals. With working on small steps towards a bigger picture day by day, the outcome is usually that we put in more work and get to the goal faster, than if we waited for the opportunity and motivation to tackle the whole goal head on.
Daily goals also teach us to embrace routine and embody good habits like cleaning or reading every day without it feeling like a chore. Those tasks turn from being a dreaded nuisance to a fun reward-based game in which you’re motivated to finish all your tasks for the feeling of accomplishment you get when ticking them off one by one.
But the rigid structure of daily goals isn’t for everyone, so if they fill you with more anxiety then excitement, try setting just a couple of weekly goals and follow those. Don’t forget to reward yourself once in a while, after all, no good deed should go unpunished by a snack or two.
As cliché as it might be, reading has just too many good benefits to not include in this list. And, let’s be honest, once you get over that first obstacle of finding the motivation to actually start, you’re having a blast. Here are a few reasons why you should binge on some brain food in the form of a written word:
- Reading stimulates your brain, which has shown to greatly decrease the risk of developing degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Your brain is a muscle and like any other muscle in your body it needs to be kept active to remain healthy.
- Reading has a very relaxing effect on your mind. It forces you to break out of the daily information overload, stop doing 10 things at once while worrying about another 10 things and just focus on the pages in front of you.
- Your mental abilities grow as reading improves not only your vast array of knowledge, but it also improves memory, focus and concentration, boosts your analytical thinking skills and expands your vocabulary.
Lastly, the printed books are not the be all end all, kindles are a life saving alternative that lets you buy books instantly from the comfort of your home, and for those of you who insist on multitasking, try some audiobooks which you can find on sites like Audible (pro tip: you can also find some audiobooks on YouTube completely for free!)
If you’re just not that into investing hours of your time to get through a whole book, another option are magazines. Just make sure to pick those that don’t have more celebrity names than any other words in them. Some of our favourites are National geographic traveller, Wired and Science illustrated.
You probably saw this one coming. Exercise is extremely important not only for our outside appearance but also for keeping our mental state happy and healthy. Exercise stimulates numerous brain chemicals and lowers the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, and doing it regularly will improve your confidence and left esteem, improve your quality of sleep and even lengthen your life expectancy!
Excercising while quarantined can prove to be a challenge, but not improssible, you just have to get creative! Those few lucky of you that still can – go outside for a walk or a jog, just make sure to follow all the necessary precautions and keep a safe distance from other people you encounter. The rest of us will turn to the internet for help.
YouTube is loaded with excercise videos, from 10 minute routines to hour long follow alongs, excercises for specific regions of your body like legs or the stomache area or full body excercises that will leave you feeling like you just ran a marathon, and to excercise your mind as well turn to yoga or meditation tutorials, the options are endless.
Another option are livestream excercise classes. Gym trainers all around the world, not willing to leave their clients high and dry are bringing all their knowledge to the internet in the form of livestream videos, which you can join by singing up for them before the class. It’s a fun way to motivate yourself while getting professional treatment.
6. Talk to family and friends
Practice social distancing not social isolation. Humanity as a species are extremely social beings and complete isolation from the rest of our kind can come with a wide array of mental, physical and cognitive health issues. An article named Social Isolation and Mortality in US Black and White Men and Women shares findings that complete social isolation more than doubles the risk of premature death in people, furthermore »Our research really shows that the magnitude of risk presented by social isolation is very similar in magnitude to that of obesity, smoking, lack of access to care and physical inactivity« says one of the researchers.
Of course, visiting your loved ones and being with them face to face is not an option at this time, but chatting with them over Skype or Facetime will do the trick. So, call your parents and your friends, set up group chats, send voicemails and random texts at 2 am, let them know that they are loved (and a little bit annoyed by your timing) and never truly alone as long as you wield the power of internet.
7. A new hobby
Last but not least, take advantage of your spare time to develop new hobbies and skills. Be it learning a new language with the help of apps like Duolingo, drawing or writing, learning to cook some interesting foreign cuisine or impressing your friends with mind-blowing card tricks when the quarantine ends.
A good fail-safe way to learn a new skill is with the help of online classes. You can find a wide variety of free Ivy league courses at FreeCodeCamp, delve into the world of science and math at Khan Academy and for those of you that want the best straight from the mouth of the best, check out MasterClass, where experts like Gordon Ramsay share their secrets.
Whatever method you choose, the point is to challenge yourself and discover new passions for life in this time that took away so many.