For many of us teenagers, this quarantine has been completely life-changing; we’re stuck at home for all hours of the day, “school” has turned into awkward Zoom meetings, and the kitchen is calling to us 24/7. Life is probably not how you thought it would be a few months ago.
Still, this quarantine is all we have to work with. Who knows how long it’ll go on? We may as well take advantage of it.
While quarantine can be boring, it can also be extremely beneficial; think of all the things you’ve never had time to do because of school — now, you have all the time in the world. Start putting yourself to work and getting things done…
… I know, definitely easier said than done. You’ve probably found plenty of things to do besides actual work, and that’s fine, but if you want to start changing your life and making progress, keep reading. Here are ten ways to become a more productive quaranteen:
1. Monitor Your Sleep Schedule
Teens are notorious for their messed up sleep schedules. I can guarantee that at least half of you reading this have stayed up till two in the morning watching Tiktoks, only to complain about how tired you are the next day.
It can be hard to discipline yourself and shut off the electronics at night. Now, with no school, it’s even harder — if you don’t have to wake up at six every morning, why should you even try to go to bed at a reasonable time?
Honestly, there are so many reasons. There have been numerous successful people who’ve claimed that their secret lies in their sleep — eight hours every night, with an early start and an early end to the day. Your body needs time to recharge and process the day’s events, and you shouldn’t be skipping out on sleep. That doesn’t mean you should spend the whole day sleeping, but get your eight hours.
Waking up early is important as well. You will find that you have so much more time to get things done by getting out of bed just a few hours earlier. I’ve started getting up at 6:30 on weekdays, just like I would normally do during school, and I am so much more productive. I’m able to fit in a workout before any of my siblings wake up, and I get my work done by lunch time. I know that it sounds hard to wake up early, but if you’re going to bed early too and getting enough sleep, it’s not all that difficult.
2. Fuel Your Body With Healthy Food
Being at home all day has trained me to become a professional snacker. I am the biggest bored eater, and I’m sure some of you are the same way. While it’s fine to enjoy some snacks throughout the day, it can definitely have a negative impact on your health, depending on what you’re eating.
If you’re constantly eating junk food, you’ll probably experience a noticeable change in your mood; oftentimes, eating food that is high in sugar, fat, and processed ingredients can cause you to become tired and irritated. Plus, if you’re like me, your skin might start breaking out. All of this will bring down your mood, making you less likely to be productive.
Obviously, it’s important to let yourself live a little; go eat some Oreos or bake some cookies! All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be eating Cheetos for every meal. Try filling yourself up with nutritious food that gives you energy and makes you feel good; I’m sure you’ll be able to find some good recipes on Pinterest.
Exercising is such an important part of your daily life, and quarantine is the perfect time to start doing it. Unless you were playing a sport or were one of those crazy people who got up at four in the morning, you probably didn’t have time to workout during the school year. Now is your time to change this.
Working out has been proven to decrease stress levels, release endorphins, and, of course, improve your overall health. Basically, it’ll put you in a better mood and help you achieve whatever body type you desire. Being in a better mood will encourage you to be more productive, as we’ve established. Win-win.
Working out doesn’t have to be something that you dread — it can be fun! Unless you choose to run. There’s really no way to make running enjoyable. Still, you don’t have to run four miles every day to be “fit.” There are plenty of YouTube videos that’ll help you target certain areas of your body. Just make a good playlist, throw on some workout clothes, and get started.
4. Make a Dream Board or Bullet Journal
If you struggle with finding the motivation to do actual work, this can help you immensely. A dream board, if you don’t already know, is basically a collage of your goals, interests, and things that inspire you. You can print out pictures from the internet, cut out pieces of magazines, or even draw your own images. The purpose of it is to remind you of your dreams, so it’s best to hang it up somewhere where you’ll be working.
Bullet journals are another useful tool. I’d always wanted to start one, but it seemed like a lot of work to keep up with. When quarantine started, I figured I would start one, and it has been so helpful. You can use a bullet journal to track your goals, document experiences, and plan out your day. Overall, it’ll help you stay organized and motivated.
5. Put Effort into Your Outfit
Taking the time to get ready in the morning will put you in a much more productive state. I know that it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day (or, if you’re like my sister, for a week straight), but getting dressed will really change your mood.
Act like you’re going to school; wear whatever makes you feel confident and happy, and do your hair or makeup if you feel like it. The best part is, there’s no dress code.
6. Set a Time Limit On Your Phone
I know, I know. It’s hard to part from your precious phone, and I’m sure you’ll be sacrificing some quality time on TikTok by doing so, but it’s worth it.
Sometimes, I find myself spending hours scrolling through photos or videos from other people’s lives, only to realize that I really don’t care. You have your own life to worry about, so go deal with it.
Setting a limit on your phone is great for people who have a hard time disciplining themselves. Don’t just “ignore limit” every time you reach the specified amount of time, though. Actually use this tool to monitor your time.
7. Set a Designated Workspace
It’s important that you have a specified area to work in; a place with no distractions. For most people, their workspace is just their bedroom, but this can be hard if you share one.
Wherever you choose to work, make sure that you actually enjoy being there. Keep the area clean, and try to find good lighting — natural lighting is best. You can also decorate your area with photos, your dreamboard, and other things that inspire you.
8. Plan Out Your Days
It can be overwhelming to open up Gmail and find that your teachers sent you twenty new emails over the past few hours. When you have that many things to do, you might lose track or motivation. Planning out your day can help with this.
I’ll usually use my school planner, writing in it every morning after checking my email; you can write down assignments, meeting times, and other things you want to get done. It’s actually very satisfying to cross each assignment off when you’re finished, so I highly recommend doing this.
9. Follow Your School’s Schedule
If you find yourself struggling to complete school work, try to follow your normal school schedule. If you used to start school at eight AM and end it at two PM, work on school assignments during that time period. Of course, remember to take breaks as well.
If you are really at a loss for things to do, you can always volunteer. Not only is volunteering a good way to help your community, but it’s also great for your resume — win win.
Right now, one of the most obvious ways to volunteer is to make masks. If you have a sewing machine and a little bit of fabric, you can easily make these. Donate the masks to hospitals and other organizations.
You can also come up with your own volunteer ideas. For example, me and my family recently made some cards for the people in a senior home, since they can’t be visited by their families right now. Think about other ways that your community is being impacted by the virus, and try to help out.
Hopefully, these tips help you out. It’s important to keep yourself busy during these strange times. Stay productive and use this time to your benefit. Before you know it, you’ll be back to the same ol’ grind and quarantine will be something to laugh about.
Annabelle Ink is a current sophomore in high school. She enjoys cheerleading, playing the piano, baking, and writing. She also likes going to the beach with her friends (when she’s not social distancing, of course).