It’s that time of year again. Schoolwork is starting to pile up, and unfortunately, its relationship with your productivity seems inverse. I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems like my procrastination and genuine inability to get work done in a timely manner hit extra hard this semester. It’s important to remember that it’s been a year since COVID turned our university education into sitting and staring at a computer screen for all hours of the day, so it seems pretty reasonable to feel completely burnt out at this point. Plus, if you worked a summer job that turned remote, it means you never really got a break from staring at that screen. Don’t worry, though, you’re definitely not the only one. It’s time we all address the big question: How can I push through this burnout and still complete the semester being proud of all the work I’ve done? To be frank, it won’t be easy, but it’s definitely possible and this is how.
1. Switch Up Your Workspace
Sitting in the exact same spot day after day can be more draining than you realize, especially if you’re doing your work in your bedroom. A change of scenery, even if it’s just down the hall, can be extremely beneficial. Just think that when you were on campus, you most likely had a couple of favourite study spots. Going from that to basically being in one spot all day is a good reason why you might be in a slump. If you can, try to find a couple of good study spaces around your house so you can clear your mind and not be stuck in the same bland spot daily.
2. Get Some Exercise
If your New Year’s resolution to work out more has dwindled, this is your sign to pick it back up. Being on a computer for all hours of the day not only affects your mental health but your physical health, as well. Unfortunately for some of us, we weren’t built just to sit around which means we have to get up and move (and no, walking to the kitchen doesn’t count). I’m not saying you have to buy a gym membership and go every day. Your daily exercise can be as simple as going for a half-hour walk outside. Have a few options like morning yoga, an at-home YouTube workout routine or the gym that will motivate you to get up and going. If you have a few options to alternate between, you won’t get bored of doing the same thing and you’ll feel a lot better physically and mentally. Plus, if you don’t have the space to switch up your workspace, this is another way you can get a change of scenery.
3. Schedule Your Day
We’ve all been in the situation where we go to sit down and get some work done, but we have no idea where to start. Taking some time at the beginning of your day to schedule what you’ll be doing adds some structure to the day and gives you a good idea of what you have to get done. Don’t worry if you can’t check off everything on your list every day. We often overshoot what we think we can get done but having that structure will help boost your productivity.
4. Designate “Me” Time
Even though you may feel like you have absolutely no time for yourself, you still need to take some breaks every now and then. Whether it’s half an hour or three hours, you need to focus on your wellbeing. During this time, try to call or FaceTime some friends. You can even go on a walk with them or a family member. It may not seem like too significant of a thing to do, but it will improve your mood and mentality significantly. Taking that time to clear your mind and focus on things you enjoy will give you the motivation you need to get work done.
I think the best piece of advice I can give is probably the simplest: just start. I know that sitting down at your computer to start an assignment or studying can genuinely be the worst feeling ever. If you just push through that slight bit of discomfort and start, though, the rest of the work will flow. Before you know it, you’ll be done! Don’t forget to take care of yourself, and as long as you try your best, you’ll have nothing else to worry about.