BE MORE PRODUCTIVE DURING LOCKDOWN
By Raihan Zaki
It’s been about two and a half months since a global lockdown has been enforced. Here in the UK, the lockdown means that schools, colleges, gyms, most shops, social places and even mosques are closed. Most of us find ourselves stuck at home, following the same mediocre routine, day in day out. Our sleep schedules are utterly disorganised; we go to sleep at 2am, for some even later, and find ourselves waking up at 1pm. That’s our whole morning wasted; a good six hours of productivity, wasted!
Our robotic routine causes us to feel demotivated and has discouraged us to make use of the rest of the day. No meaningful work is completed. We sacrifice most of our time for our beds or on our smart phones. We make the same excuses, “College isn’t opening any time soon, I can do it later,” but later never comes. The gyms are closed but we should still be exercising, “but I’m sure, I’ll work out tomorrow,” and tomorrow never comes!
Our eyes are glued to our smartphones, swiping back and forth through Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, hoping for something interesting to happen to enlighten our melancholic lives. Well, this ends now. It’s time we make change. It’s time we become better.
How to be more productive?
Firstly, I would like to talk about a quality. A quality so powerful that it made people like Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson and the likes of Elon Musk, the people they are today. These are some of the people many of us seek inspiration and motivation from. This quality is discipline. It is discipline that will take you far in life. It will allow you to perform at your absolute best. It will take you to another level.
My tips are:
- Discipline yourselves to go to sleep earlier, and a result of that is that we’ll find ourselves waking up on time, not missing the most important meal of the day, breakfast. There will be more time available to get things done, and at the end of the day, you’ll feel proud of all the work you have managed to complete. Wake up early, get things done while the rest of the world is sleeping. Be ahead of the game.
- Try to workout in the morning. It will get rid of that morning tiredness. It will wake you up and make you more alert. It will also make you feel better and put you in a good mood. A good mood will motivate you to get things done.
- Get rid of your smartphone. Well, don’t get rid of it, but stop being so attached to it. People spend an average of approximately four to five hours on their phone swiping mindlessly! Control your phone, don’t let it control you.
- Block your social media notifications, or at least keep your phone on silent. Every time we are notified that someone has messaged, snapped, or dm’ed us, we get a rush of unhealthy, unnatural dopamine (a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy). This tells our brains why should we have to put in the hard work to receive natural dopamine from finishing tasks or working out, when we can attain it effortlessly from swiping through social media. It feels rewarding, but in the long run it’s a waste of time and reduces work ethic. I would suggest a dopamine detox. Get your dopamine from completing your daily tasks, which will inevitably motivate you to do more.
- Get rid of distractions and just focus. It will be hard at first, but just build that momentum and keep going. I know of people who have learnt new skills in the lockdown. They have been able to reflect more, become more spiritual. Or simply go on long walks, which freshens the mind.
- Stay hydrated. Water is essential for delivering nutrients to the brain and for removing toxins. When the brain is fully hydrated, the exchange of nutrients and toxins will be more efficient, thus ensuring better concentration and mental alertness. It also increases energy and relieves fatigue. (A recent study by the University of East London and the University of Westminster found that drinking just 300ml of water can boost attention by up to 25%).
- Set boundaries for yourself. Studying from home is a lot harder than studying in college. There are so many distractions. Having boundaries allows you to be less susceptible to those distractions.
- Get a diary, or journal, or any empty book really and write down your daily tasks for the next day (think SMART; Specific. Assignable. Realistic. Time-related). This will allow you to visually see your goals and progress. Also record your daily routine in a diary. It will be something to look back on in later years, and again, it’s another useful exercise.
Self-discipline and mental willpower are the key to lockdown success.