How to stay motivated while working from home


Raya Haghverdi, Staff Writer

Well, here we are.

It’s the end of March, and we’re stuck at home at least until May 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing is the best thing we can right now to protect our community, which means that lots of stores, restaurants, and perhaps most importantly, schools are shutting down. This means that we’re switching to e-learning.

At South, e-learning is an independent venture for each student. Most teachers put all course assignments and resources on Canvas, for students to access at any time. Teachers are on Canvas from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions. There isn’t an attendance requirement; all students need to do is finish their work. Students have a lot of flexibility in their days because of this policy, but it can be hard to maintain productivity and motivation when there is no set structure. Therefore, here are some tips that can help keep you motivated and productive while staying at home.

  1. Set a routine for every day
    1. School has always had a very rigid structure in terms of class time, so there was never a need for students to set their own routine during the school day. However, since school is going to be very flexible for a while, we need to set our own routines for the day. Having your own routine can help you stay on track with everything you need to do, leaving you with less stress and a sense of accomplishment. Some things you should definitely include are waking up reasonably early (it doesn’t have to be 6 a.m., but don’t make it noon either) and getting on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas (a simple hoodie and sweatpants can work). The rest of the tips will give you some ideas on what else you could put in your routine, but make sure you’re taking breaks between individual tasks or activities, especially if you’re studying. Breaks can help you avoid burn-out.
  2. Prioritize and study in chunks
    1. Having all your coursework on Canvas is probably a little overwhelming, and you most likely don’t have the motivation to do anything at all. To combat these feelings, prioritize what’s due sooner, and don’t think about what’s due later. Organize the due dates in a calendar or the planning system of your choice, and just focus on what’s due the next day. After finishing those assignments, move on to what’s due later. With the assignments you choose to do on one particular day, try to divide them up, or “chunk” them by subject, etc. This will also help you feel less overwhelmed. As always, make sure you’re taking breaks in between chunks!
  3. Get active and exercise
    1. Sitting at home all day, no matter how much “chunking” you do, can make you a little stir-crazy. That’s why exercising is so important! It can help you exert all your pent-up energy and release chemicals called endorphins in your brain, which will help combat symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are pretty common during a time like this. In terms of how to exercise, it can be as simple as walking your dog, kicking around a soccer ball with your siblings, or finding a workout on Youtube to do in the comfort of your home. You could even do some yoga or meditation, which are especially known for decreasing stress.
  4. Do something creative
    1. Something else that can help you relax and have fun is doing something creative. Creativity is really broad, and pretty much anything can be creative. Whether it’s drawing, painting, playing an instrument, or even cooking (or maybe inventing) new recipes, doing something creative will help you enjoy your time at home, which will lend itself very well to school motivation.

We’re in an interesting yet frightening time in our lives right now. Lots of us are nervous, disappointed, and unsure about how to proceed. However, the best thing we can do is wash our hands, stay at home, and use our flexible schedules to bring the most positivity to our lives as possible. We’re all in this together!