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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Despite having more time at home to focus on everything I need to do, maintaining productivity is still a great challenge. Motivating myself to get out of bed and attend lectures, finish homework and complete all the other necessary tasks of the day seem to take up all of my willpower and at times I am left in a mindless state, scrolling through my phone or just laying in bed, letting the hours go by. I can continue to tell myself that I am simply taking a break from everything, but these breaks don’t feel too relaxing since the whole time I am stressing about all that I still have to do. So, here are some ways that I have helped myself reduce the amount of time I let escape and at least keep some level of productivity:

1. Get dressed every morning

At first, I loved how I could simply wake up in the morning, attend classes online and then maybe go back to bed a little longer. It was comfortable and seemed to make life so much easier. However, as time went on, I realized that this was actually hurting more than helping me; the days already felt mundane and repetitive, and this only added on to it. So, every morning, even though I have nowhere to go most days (except for the grocery store or some appointment), I get up and get ready as if it was just any normal day. Wearing something new gives the days at least some type of variety and allows me to break out of my dazed state since staying in my pajamas only left me feeling as if I was going through the day on autopilot, barely registering what I was doing. Since everything is done at home now, it is important to find ways to separate home and resting from school or work and not get them all blurred together. Otherwise, you can get stuck, half-awake when doing an assignment but also stressed while relaxing.

2.  Make a plan for the day

Although I will admit that most days, I don’t finish everything I need to and end up pushing it off to the next day, having at least some type of plan gives me something to focus on and helps me feel less scattered. When I can physically see what I need to do, I don’t get as overwhelmed as I usually do. At times, though, this can have the opposite effect and I feel a bit discouraged when I see how much I didn’t end up finishing and chastise myself for not managing my time better. However, I always have to remind myself that my daily plan is often a bit too ambitious and doesn’t take into account any sudden changes that might occur in my day or the breaks that are needed throughout the day.

3.  Separate your space

This is something that I have only recently been trying to do because I realized that it has become increasingly more difficult for me to focus, more so than before. While I sit at my desk to do homework, I also end up doing other things like scrolling through my phone or watching something on Netflix; I tend to jump around from one activity to another, leaving me in a state where I can never give my full attention to one or the other. As a result, my focus felt scattered because my desk is now associated with multiple activities, not just doing homework and studying. So, when I feel myself start losing focus and feel the urge to check my phone, I try to be more conscious of this and instead go to my bed or another room to do so. It hasn’t been completely consistent because this can sometimes feel unnecessary or I have no will to get up and move somewhere else, but if I stick with this, it will hopefully make a difference in the issues I am having with my focus.

These are three general things that I have been doing to help me so that I at least get some stuff done during the day. However, it’s important to remember to take breaks and understand that it’s okay if you end up having to just spend the day doing nothing. Everyone is different and has a different situation, so what might help me might not make a difference for someone else. My days still feel scattered and unproductive, but with what I listed above, I am working towards minimizing how often I feel anxious and overwhelmed every day so that life is a little easier.

Varvara Rubtsova

UC Irvine '24

Varvara is a first year majoring in Biological Sciences at UCI. When time allows, she crochets, plays guitar, plays volleyball or tennis, or looks for new hobbies.
Rehana is pursuing double degrees in Film & Media and Ethnic Studies with an interest in screenwriting, creative non-fiction, and oral histories. A proud Capricorn, she enjoys spending her time daydreaming about flaky pastries, baby otters and Studio Ghibli films.