Does More Time at Home Increase Productivity?

I’ve noticed two contrasting responses to this question that are prevalent on social media and the internet — one being that we should take advantage of this time at home to be as productive as possible, and the other emphasizing that we should not give into this pressure and it’s okay to do a lot less than we would have before this pandemic. Of course, both of these options only apply to people who are not essential workers and who are fortunate enough to be healthy and safe at home with time to dedicate to themselves. Now that it’s almost been two months since I packed up my freshman dorm room and moved back home, I’ve found myself reflecting on how I’ve spent this time in quarantine so far. 

When I got home and realized that I wouldn’t be going back to campus for spring quarter, I immediately started to come up with plans as to how I would fill my time and use it to better myself. This idea lined up with lots of the online content I was consuming that featured individuals trying out new workout routines and picking up hobbies. 

Woman writing notesHowever, the sudden changes and uncertainty of the situation made it more difficult to even focus on online classes, an experience that I’m sure many of us share. I quickly started feeling like I was failing to use this time properly, before coming to terms with the fact that this unprecedented situation required an adjustment period. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was still a full time student and just learning to navigate online classes inevitably takes time. 

While I learned to reject the idea that I was a failure if I did not get into the best shape of my life and pick up a completely new hobby as soon as quarantine started, I also knew that I would be in an even worse mental state if I just kept up with the bare minimum of my responsibilities and allowed myself to mindlessly indulge in Netflix binges otherwise. That being said, I definitely have watched more television series and films than I have in years, and if that’s what makes you feel the most comfortable then, of course, go for it! I knew that, for myself, it was important to create a balanced routine that makes me feel like I’m being productive, even if the standard for that is slightly different now than before the pandemic. 

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Above all, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a global pandemic, not a competition for who can “glow up” the most or have the ideal daily routine. Those of us with the privilege to be safely at home with the resources to comfortably get through this are doing so out of necessity during a public health emergency. 

It’s great if you learn some new skills or reach specific personal goals while in quarantine, but it’s also okay if what you need to do to practice self care looks different than it did before. What matters is that you do your part to care for the health and safety of yourself and others, so don’t feel pressured to align your routines with what you see in the media if that’s not what is most beneficial to you.