Student Life

A productive day in quarantine

With Montreal’s recent re-entry into the red zone, students now find themselves back in quarantine mode. Whether isolating due to exposure to COVID-19, quarantining after testing positive, or simply limiting their contact in accordance with provincial recommendations, students in Montreal will be spending more time indoors during the coming months. Understanding how hard having a productive day in quarantine can be, The McGill Tribune has compiled a list of ways to make the days less dreary with easy tips to maximize time, space, and brain capacity. 

Divide up your day 

While this may seem tedious, giving structure to your day will help separate school from free time and establish a consistent and healthy routine. Some psychologists have found that people are more productive when they map out their goals and consider how long tasks will take. One way to do this is by using the Pomodoro technique, in which students set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted during that time. After the 25 minutes are up, students can schedule an allotted amount of time for a break. This technique is also great for planning out a day to ensure ample study and free time. 

Make time to go outside 

Whether through a porch or outdoor space, it is important to remember to get fresh air daily. Especially with the colder months approaching, ensuring time outdoors will not only increase one’s vitamin D levels, but will also help to refocus the day. Taking a walk, playing frisbee with housemates or family in the park, or even just sitting on a stoop can help relieve anxiety and may improve some feelings of isolation. 

Don’t feel pressure to be persistently productive 

Many students assume that because they are home all day, they should be constantly productive, whether by working out, completing coursework, or applying for internships. As boundaries between work and leisure begin to blur, remember that pre-pandemic students had downtime commuting, walking to classes, and enjoying wine nights with friends. A great way to relax and feel connected to friends is by scheduling video chats. Be it while students are eating or just hanging in their rooms, scheduling time out of their day for socialization can help break up working hours while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

Study outside of bed

Separating study space from sleeping space is extremely important for students’ mental well being. The more time people spend in bed, the longer it generally takes for them to fall asleep and the more they tend to associate their bed as a workspace, rather than a place to sleep. Studies also show that working in bed is vastly unproductive, as limited space decreases focus. Studying in bed also creates a negative feedback loop wherein students have trouble falling asleep, and as a result, struggle to stay productive during the day. By designating an area to study, students will have an easier time staying focussed, and an easier time getting a full night’s rest.

Set limits on social media usage 

Without the social pressure of judgmental eyes in McLennan or professors banning phone usage in class, it is easy for students to scroll through social media while doing schoolwork from the privacy of their living space. By trying to limit social media usage through their device settings, or tracking their screen time through apps like OFFTIME and Moment, students can improve their focus in class by being their own parents and practicing self-control. 

Take time to meditate 

While this may feel like a waste of time, everyone has an extra seven minutes in their days to set aside. After only a week of meditating each morning, students may begin to see its positive effects. Waking up and meditating by using a guiding app, such as Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer, has been shown to improve cognition, memory, and temper. Additionally, the McGill Student Wellness Hub and The Office of Spiritual and Religious Life offer free online meditation tools. By setting a daily reminder and incorporating this into a morning or night routine, students can improve their work habits and motivation.

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    Beautiful LUCYyou have a very special way of expressing important details. Keep up your great work

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