1. CREATE A SCHEDULE...AND STICK TO IT!
Without the rhythms and routines of school, university or 'normal' life, it's easy for every day of the week to merge into one! One minute it's 8am in the morning, the next minute it's 9pm at night, and you're left wondering where on earth the day went! In order to be productive and feel positive, it is essential that you create a daily schedule...and stick to it! Human beings thrive on routine - when you create a schedule, you unlock success and productivity! In the same way that your day at school was structured, try to give each week day a very clear schedule! Wake up at the same time, break for lunch at the same time, and stop working at the same time...every single weekday! Plan out what tasks and activities you're going to do, hour by hour, and then stick to that schedule! When you are disciplined and consistent about your daily routine, you'll find you become so much more focused and so much more productive! Top Tip: don't forget to schedule time for breaks, lunch, and fresh air! Schedule in at least one hour for a walk, one hour for lunch, and at least two 30 minute breaks for a cup of tea and a biscuit or two!
2. SET DAILY & LONG-TERM GOALS!
As human beings, it is essential that we feel a sense of purpose in our lives. The best way to ensure you feel a sense of purpose is to create goals and objectives for yourself. This is especially important in lockdown, where it's very easy to feel disconnected and disillusioned from whatever tasks we've got to complete. The best way to keep positive and productive is to set daily goals for yourself. Every evening before you go to bed, take five minutes to consider what you want to achieve the next day. And then, when you wake up in the morning, remind yourself of your clear aims and objectives for that day! It's also important to keep the 'bigger picture' in mind. What is the reason you are doing all of this hard work and studying? Why are you revising or working on your coursework? What is your education going to lead to in the future? When you keep the 'bigger picture' behind what you're doing in mind, you give those everyday tasks a real sense of purpose and importance. Remember that lockdown isn't going to last forever - so work hard right now, and you'll then be in a very powerful position for achieving all of your dreams in the future! Top Tip: If you're feeling unmotivated or unimpressed with all the work you've got to do in lockdown, don't worry! That is completely normal - your feelings are valid! Try to envision where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years or even 20 years time...and think about what you can do right NOW that will help you work towards that goal!
3. CREATE A POSITIVE STUDY SPACE
When it comes to studying and revising, your mindset matters! In other words, you need to feel like you're 'in the zone' for studying and success! There are several shortcuts to getting yourself in the zone - one of them is your outfit, which sets the tone for your mindset and has a massive impact on your attitude. Another shortcut is the space you are working in. It is so important - for the sake of your productivity and performance - that you are working in an environment where you feel safe, focused and as organised as possible! Your workspace needs to be as conducive to focus and productivity as possible! It needs to be free from distractions and provide you with a positive environment in which to really focus on whatever you are doing! A desk space or dining room table is therefore great, because you can sit down and feel organised in front of your laptop, diary, stationery and resources! Ideally, your workspace should not be somewhere you sleep or relax (e.g. lying in your bed!), because this environment is somewhere you associate with relaxation and rest, not focused output and productivity! Make sure you select somewhere that is as bright and organised as possible, where you can feel safe, focused and organised! Set up your cup of coffee, diary, pencil case, and laptop, and create a little workspace you can be proud of! Another top tip: leave your smartphone in another room, or at least upside down and out-of-reach on the desk in front of you!
4. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR BOUNDARIES
In the pre-covid world, arriving home after a long day often meant that you could relax, switch off, or at least feel as though you were almost at the end of the day! However, in the world of lockdowns, we spend all day, every day inside our homes! Therefore, it can be a lot harder to (a) feel motivated to do work and (b) switch off from doing that work! Those 'transitional' moments - such as walking home from school or going for a coffee after a lecture - do not currently exist, meaning we can lose both our motivation and our track of time. It is therefore essential that we are clear about our boundaries, and make an effort to keep 'studying' and 'switching off' separate. Try to set a plan for what hours each day you will study, for example 8am - 4pm (with breaks and lunch included!) Make it your mission to stay as focused as possible during these hours, for example switching your phone to silent for these 8 hours. Then, once it hits 4pm, shut all of your textbooks and take yourself for a quick walk to get some fresh air. Once you return from that walk, make a conscious effort to switch off from your studies and do something different! Just because those 'transitional moments' are no longer present, that doesn't mean your time is no longer precious! Be strict about when it's time to work, and when it's time to switch-off! Don't let yourself get distracted, and don't let yourself drown in 24/7 work! Top Tip: apply boundaries to your screen time as well! Do not let your phone keep interrupting your day - every time you check your phone, you lose concentration, momentum and productivity. Schedule in when you will check your phone, for example at lunchtime and after dinner. You do not have to keep scrolling on Instagram or replying to Snapchats every five minutes - be disciplined about your screen time, and you will reap the rewards!