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If you’re far too anxious to sit still, do your homework or participate in anything school/work-related, I feel your pain. I hate how much effort it takes to force myself to actually do work. Life feels like every aspect of it is cluttered, especially my room. However, if trying to figure out how to cope with with the complications of life, I’ve got you. Here are some ways I changed up my environment to help me cope with our current situation.

Create a dedicated area

If your morning routine prioritizes your laptop over hygiene, that’s problematic. Having a specified routine and area I work in was key to being productive. It allowed my brain to get in the right mindset. My dining room table has quickly become my new classroom and the desk I have in my room is where I complete all of my work. Creating different user profiles is helpful, too. One of my profiles is dedicated to Twitter and Discord while the other is for schoolwork. It helps minimize distractions. I light a candle or incense aw well when I’m really struggling to focus.

Decorate your surroundings to accommodate your needs.

It seems kind of obvious; but when I set up my work desk, I missed out on a lot of key features. So, I decided to revamp it. I bought a monitor stand to clear up my desk clutter and give myself space. I have a special spot for my journal and lucky pen in case I have writer’s block or just need to vent.

I fidget so much! Next to my monitor, there’s a tiny, cute wind-up VW Bug. I play with it all the time to help me focus. Keeping it near helps me remind myself that distractions are okay! Forcing yourself to just look at your computer screen, even when your mind wants to wander, is part of the problem.

Setting up your space to fit your needs makes it feel welcoming. Forcing yourself to work in a space that’s cluttered, uncomfortable or just not right for you becomes a chore and it’s harder to get things done.

Take a break!
Animal Crossing being played on 3ds
Julia Gomez

You do not have to sit in front of your computer for 8 hours straight. Walking around the house, going outside, or hopping on Animal Crossing for a little bit helps. Taking breaks in between helps to stay focus when you need to most.

Drinking water and eating snacks
Original photo by Danielle Tullo

Having an ice-cold glass near me or a snack I can mindlessly munch on is helpful; especially since I’m someone who fidgets by biting things like my pen. Whenever I catch myself biting a pen or my nails, I drink water and bite the straw instead.

Give me some good lighting.

Whether I open a window or get a strip of LCD lights, giving myself good lighting was key. It allowed me to get out of my slump and just start working.

Adjusting your space to your needs is much easier than forcing yourself to adjust to your space. It gives you a sort of sanctuary that’s catered to you and only you. I’m glad I changed things up. I still get anxiety when I feel overwhelmed: it’s natural. There is no magic cure for that, but giving yourself the space you need to cope is important. Don’t feel guilty for getting distracted by fidgeting with a paper clip, though. That’s your brain telling you it needs a break. Creating a space that caters itself to your needs is critical.

Julia Gomez is a student of journalism at Florida International University and hopes to become an investigative journalist. She is experienced in writing about politics and pop culture, and has a passion for music and photography.
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