With the beginning of an online semester, one question that has come to mind time and time again has been how to add compartmentalization to my life. Compartmentalization has always been very important to me— especially in terms of academic success— and without it, this school year initially felt impossible. The lack of ability to switch environments, the lack of clearly defined work times and places to study—all of it seemed to weigh down my chances of success, and combine all elements of my life into a blur. In light of this challenge, I have added steps to my routine in an attempt to promote not only compartmentalization, but also patience with myself, as I learn to work with this new structure for the year.
So far I have added compartmentalization to my life in a few different ways. Perhaps the simplest method I have found is by having designated environments for each aspect of my life. For example, trying to only do work at a desk or table, instead of letting it pile up on my bed, or on the floor. So far I have found that this makes it easier to stay focused and to switch tasks when necessary.
Another equally important step has been trying to define which times during the day are work times, and which are not. With online school, it can be easy to either lose focus, or to feel the need to be working constantly. So attempting to split up time this way has been incredibly helpful not only in terms of productivity, but also for my mental health.
Of course, another challenge this school year will be having patience with myself on days where things feel especially difficult, or where motivation does not come easily. This is only natural, as we are living through tumultuous times, and uncertainty seems to be everywhere. Therefore, possibly the most important change I have been trying to make is simply making time for myself, regardless of whether I feel like I have reached maximum productivity for the day. This semester will certainly be different, but we still need to take care of ourselves, and make space for things that we enjoy, rather than simply falling into the void of online school.
In some ways this semester may be an uphill battle at first— it is certainly not what I’m used to, and it will take time to get everything completely figured out. However, I am hoping that by adding more compartmentalization to my life and taking more time for my mental health, I can make the most of this semester. There will certainly be new challenges, but they will get easier to manage over time, and hopefully with new possibilities will come along as well.