I’m a sucker for a schedule. In fact, I like everything planned, pretty and put together, and I always have. At six years old, my peers worshiped the Hulk while I idolized Mary Poppins. I sat through plenty of playdates watching Cartoon Network, waiting patiently to go home and watch HGTV. Club Penguin? My hobby was Pinterest. For as long as I can remember I’ve been compulsively cleaning and obsessively organizing.
However, if I was to create a vision board for my first week of social distancing, it would be a collage of empty Dorito bags, unwashed hair, unpacked suitcases and pictures of the cast of “Tiger King.”
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed indulging in this slovenly behavior for a while. I felt rebellious … I felt naughty. But I’ve come to a turning point in self-isolation. The honeymoon phase of doing absolutely nothing has ended, and I’ve decided I’m not quite ready to give up being a functioning human being and member of society.
It was time to do school work, but to get my mind in that headspace, I had to get myself back in productivity mode. If you’re in the same boat, here are my top five tools to getting back on track and ready to make the most of quarantine.
- Use a Planner
Dig out that planner from the bottom of your bag and start using it again. I sat down with the updated syllabi from my classes and wrote out important dates. A lot of our work now is self-paced, so I wrote out a schedule of four tasks a day.
- Get Dressed
If you’re like me, you spent the beginning of quarantine in your PJs. I had to start actually putting on an outfit every day to spark motivation to actually cross any tasks off my list. It may seem silly when you have nowhere to go, but you should wear your favorite clothing. I don’t care if you feel odd walking around your house in your best sundress! You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you feel.
- Make Your Bed
Maybe the idea of making your bed will actually inspire you to get out of it: It did for me. I like to make my bed as soon as I get up and before I do anything else. This makes me feel like I’m actually ready to get going. Plus, when your bed is nicely made, you might think twice before crawling back in.
- Marie Kondo Your Dresser
Here’s a fun project for you: look up the Marie Kondo method of folding and do that to the clothes in your dresser. Why? I don’t know about you, but when my physical spaces are organized and aesthetically pleasing, I feel much more inclined to tidy up the mental spaces of my brain. Give this a try — it may spark joy.
- Create a Designated Work Space
Ok. So you’ve gotten yourself organized and in a good mindset to start the work you need to get done. Now, I highly recommend creating a designated space in your home to do work that isn’t your bed. I know lots of college students treat their beds like their very own Tiny House, eating, sleeping, working and playing out of this space. When I try to treat my bed as an office, I fail — miserably. Writing a paper turns into hours on Tiktok. An assigned class reading turns into stalking my ex-boyfriend’s grandmother’s best friend on Facebook. Do yourself a favor and choose a kitchen table, dining table, desk, countertop, bathtub, anything! Just get out of your bed.