As shelter-in-place and social distancing measures are implemented countrywide, a lot of students who have just graduated are slowly embracing the fact that they will initially be working from their homes and doing distance learning for a while. The ongoing changes caused by COVID-19 have made focusing on classes and reviews very difficult for many of them, although it has also made things clearer – that for the long term this is going to be the new normal.
If you are one of these graduate students, your responsibilities remain even after grad school, and like the others, you must try to stay ahead as much as possible.
Here are some strategies for keeping yourself driven despite the pressures and challenges caused by COVID-19.
Create small but relevant goals for every day.
It is vital to acknowledge that these challenging times are not ordinary and your output or efficiency would most likely not be at their highest. That is totally fine. Creating daily things to do can help improve your productivity. The best way to do it is to set realistic goals that emphasize the most important things you can achieve for today that you can finally cross out from your list. Finish writing your homework for the next day. Start your project draft. Learn one digital tool. Your tasks should be practical and manageable.
Schedule your day in a way that relaxation is incorporated with work.
Working at home may be more convenient but it can be more arduous to fulfill your tasks when the urge to watch your favorite series seems so strong with the television just right in front of you. For other people, working from home could lead to a severe circumstance of overwork, which in turn might lead to over-fatigue. Try structuring your day by giving yourself time for work and play. This will definitely help you attain a stable work-life balance even while working at home. The important thing is that you commit a part of your day to do your work obligations and then forget about it when it’s time for you to relax.
Plan online chitchats with your friends.
The toughest aspect of this global health crisis for most people is social distancing. It is hard to not be able to be with family and close friends, but social distancing doesn’t really mean you can’t totally see and talk with them. Organize online chitchat with your friends during your break and let them know ahead of time so they can also finish what they need to do before your virtual get-together. When you set a date and time to meet up with them virtually, you look forward to cleaning up your to-do list and emptying your weekend just for the most-awaited catching up with your loves.
Accept that you won’t be as productive as you were before the pandemic.
There are days when you might not have the energy or inspiration to work hard, but don’t pressure yourself. Expect that productivity may be reduced for now, especially during the gloomy days when you remember how much of your life has been affected by this global crisis. When this happens, just make sure that you fulfill your prioritized tasks for that day. Finish these tasks and then take a breather. Don’t beat yourself up because sometimes it’s okay to not always stay on top of your game.
Keep track of your mental health.
Staying driven may be almost impossible when the world is facing chaos and your family and friends can’t seem to comfort each other physically. No work strategy is going to help much when you are over-stressed, and right now there is just so much to be anxious and stressed about. Do try to stay healthy physically and mentally during these COVID times.
Do something physical every day, like walking a few rounds in your garden or performing some jumping ropes and calisthenics while watching television. Eat right – or at least try to – with a balance of fruits, meat, and vegetables. Step out of your workspace during lunch breaks and take a nap or short rest. Don’t watch too much news to the point where it gives you bad vibes the whole day. Lastly, get adequate sleep.