Let’s face it: at this point, most of us who are working — or learning! — from our apartments may feel desperate. Time has lost its meaning, and it’s difficult to keep focus, especially when there’s Netflix around. However, quarantine is the perfect time to discover new ways to be productive. If you need to relax to stay sane in quarantine, then by all means, do it. However, if you’ve got a project due, here’s a list of five ideas to help you stay productive while working from home.

Text by Claire Manasco

Open notebook with today's to-do list.
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Make a Task Sheet

It might seem basic, but making a to-do list at the start of your day will give you guidelines of what to do. It can be things to do for the day or a weekly task sheet. This way, you’ll be able to cross off chores as you go and have evidence of your productivity during the day. Don’t hesitate to reward yourself with a little rest (or Animal Crossing) for crossing off a task. Plus, if you’re a little forgetful, your list will tell you exactly where you left off.

Smiling woman strikes task off of her to-do list.
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Set Goals

After your task sheet, consider writing goals down or including them on your computer. Set a goal to reach by lunchtime and a goal to reach by the end of the day. If you don’t make it one day, that just gives you a head start on your to-do list for the next day. Setting goals gives you a reason to stay on task, and you’ll feel so productive at the end of the day when you got everything done that you wanted to. 

Smiling woman makes French press coffee.

Maintain Routines

Maintaining your daily routine is a great way to provide yourself a sense of normalcy. Waking up and making yourself coffee before starting your “work” day at home kills time and gives you the routine you need to not go crazy.  A routine will give you the start you need to stay productive throughout the day.

Close-up of woman talking on phone.
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Or Change Up Your Routine!

Although routines are great, switching things up sometimes is also fun. Try doing your work outside or calling a friend while you make lunch. If you tend to avoid repetitive activities, this’ll give you the break you need to get work done. Subtle changes will help you to stay on task.

Young man holds remote control while watching TV from his couch.
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Let Your Mind Rest

Quarantine doesn’t have to all be about productivity. If you’re tired or burned out, then allow yourself time to relax. Give yourself an hour to watch your favorite TV show or do yoga. Do something you enjoy that doesn’t require you to use your head too much. This way, you give your brain time to rest, so you won’t feel burned out so quickly.