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Since quarantine, feeling accomplished or productive has been the hardest thing for some to feel as we’re all stuck at home. From this,  the guilt of sitting around all day and feeling like you’ve done nothing all day but be on your phone or computer (if so, cut yourself some slack, you’re doing your best) has come to the forefront for many of us who were used to our regular schedules. Whether you find yourself learning virtually or working remotely, the feeling of getting stuff done has changed and to gain it back we must remember what it was to do nothing, the right way. 

First, what constitutes a good work ethic? Getting things done fast? Effectively? Both? The answer is different for all, but what doesn’t change is the need for rest to ensure work does get done. Right now it may feel like you’re never doing anything right because you’re always doing the “same” thing, but this is only because your mind thinks you’re doing the same thing for prolonged periods of time, therefore the feeling of accomplishment has worn off from what it used to be. 

Related: 5 Things to Consider When Making Your Schedule

When working or learning from home, we need to consider our subconscious and our own personal work ethic. If before you were the kind of person that needed to get coffee or a quick bite to eat before heading to work or school, don’t eat while logged in now as it will disturb your psychological routine of work/school and your downtime. The same standard should be sent when doing homework or clocking out from work. If you typically went to the library to get homework done or worked in a desk setting, try to maintain that by giving yourself a designed area for yourself in your home to distinguish the two. This will help your subconscious understand that in different places, different emotions and expectations are set and direct us towards feeling accomplished when the task at hand is done.

So, how do we master the art of doing nothing again? Start from square one, set times for you-time where you can allow yourself to be completely disengaged and not have to worry if that time was poorly spent. For some that can mean reading a book, continuing a separate or individual project or even going on a walk/run. Whatever it is, just make sure that it feels like a break and not escapism. Escapism is where our problem lies; when we overindulge. The same moment when we forget how much time we spent doing something is the same moment when the lines of accomplishment begin to blur in our minds. So, be mindful of your time because it is precious!

Related: 63 Ways to Take a Break

It’s easy to run into this We shouldn’t demonize ourselves for “getting” this sooner because again, this is all new to us and we are just now starting to understand new resolutions to new problems. If anything, be proud that you made it to the other side, you renavigated and learned more about yourself in the process!

Fiorella Izquierdo

George Mason University '23

Fiorella Izquierdo is a senior at George Mason University currently studying Communication with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Graphic Design. She is happiest when she is has a magazine in one hand and a chai latte in the other. Music, fashion, and cooking are some of her other passions, which keeps her busy in her free time. In the future, Fiorella hopes to work as a creative director and travel the world doing what she loves!
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