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Productivity. This is a word we hear all the time, whether it is at school, at work or through day-to-day life, yet do we truly know what it means? Most people assume that productivity is the number of tasks completed or the speed at which duties are fulfilled. However, productivity refers to the consistent completion of meaningful or important work. Given the current state of our world due to COVID-19, we find ourselves with an excessive amount of time at home with nothing to do. While working from home is important, it is not as fulfilling as what we are used to. I am by no means suggesting that you turn your life into a “productivity contest," where you should feel the need to learn five new languages, bake something new every day and lose 50 pounds through at-home workouts. After all, this is a challenging time and for some, just getting out of bed is productive enough for the day. However, if having goals and a routine gives you some sense of normalcy in these crazy times, here are a few suggestions on how to increase your daily productivity.

1. Set a Morning Routine

We all love to sleep in and lounge around the house all day but setting a consistent morning routine will make every day feel a bit more normal. Wake up at the same time every morning, have a coffee, read your book, take your dog for a walk and do whatever you need to do to feel as though you are starting the day off on the right foot. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, you will be amazed how the small “win” of using the early hours of the day to do something for yourself will impact the rest of your day.

2. Buy a Calendar or Agenda

Whether you are a student, working from home or enjoying your time off, this works for everyone. On the weekend, plan out what your next week is going to look like. Make sure you fill it with everything you plan to do, no matter how big or small. This could be anything from homework assignments to workouts to movies you want to watch and everything in between. Crossing things off your calendar is satisfying and regardless of what it is, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. This rush will motivate you to continue filling up your schedule, therefore making you more productive.

3. Eat Healthy/ Try New Meals

The excuse of “not having time” to prepare healthy meals no longer exists. With so much time at home, this is the perfect opportunity to try new meals and experiment with new foods. Take some time to plan out your meals for the week before you go grocery shopping (yes, put on your best grocery store outfit). This is a great time to learn what fuels your body and what meals you can incorporate into your weekly “go-to’s”. If you are living with friends or family, take this chance to cook together. Put on some music, pour a drink and divide up the tasks. Who knows, you may find a new love for cooking.

4. Cherish Alone Time

At first, this may not seem like a productive way to spend your time (alone, in your room, with nothing to accomplish), however, in the long run, you will be grateful. One of the hardest adjustments at the start of the pandemic was not being able to socialize like we used to. While this is a challenge, it is also a great opportunity to become friends with yourself. It is such an important trait to be comfortable with your own company and by taking some “me-time.” This inner peace will bring you independence and confidence in who you are becoming.

5. Pick Up a Hobby

While this has been said repeatedly, the COVID-19 pandemic truly has provided a great space for learning new skills or reintroducing old ones. I want to emphasize that this should not be a stressful endeavor and should only be used as a creative outlet when you are looking for something to do. This could be anything from catching up on your reading list, cozying up with a knitting or crocheting project, finding a home DIY project or something else that you have been wanting to check off your to-do list. These are things that, while not essential, will still give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Maybe you will even come out of this with a new skill (but remember, it’s okay if you throw the knitting needles across the room in frustration on day one and never pick them up again).

Overall, this is a new world that we are all living in and adjusting to at our own paces. For some of us, it is a much-needed break, whereas for others it is an endless hole of boredom. Wherever you fall on that scale, wake up with a plan for your day and go to sleep feeling as though you have accomplished something. Pass time in meaningful ways, whatever that means for you. After all, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Emma Soden

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Emma is a 4th year English student at Wilfrid Laurier University with minors in Global Studies and Criminology. She is passionate about reading, writing and fitness. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism with a focus on sports.
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