Staying Motivated While in Quarantine

My new normal is consumed with Zoom meetings. This instance was a gathering of my old First Year Seminar coming together for a much anticipated reunion.

Staying Positive

Remaining positive and motivated while staying home is not an easy task. There are good days and less good days. I try to see some days as more challenging than others, but there are no bad days. While I am not back in Des Moines going to classes in person, it has been nice to spend some extra time with my family. 

Focusing on things to be thankful for rather than the things I am missing has been my mindset. However, the biggest thing that has kept me motivated is structure. Knowing when to expect class every day, I am able to schedule specific times to work on homework. Being home means my time is flexible, but school still keeps me busy. Zooming in for lectures and discussions keeps me on track for what I plan each day. 

Redefining Spaces  

Many of my campus organizations still have meetings, so that also provides structure. It can be easy to forget what day it is with nothing to keep you working. Along with structure, I have had to compartmentalize different spaces for different tasks in my house. I’ve become accustomed to coming home during breaks and not doing any homework because I didn’t have to. Transforming my mindset to be motivated in a space that was once free of obligations has been the toughest. 

Luckily, I still have a loft bed at home, so I have a desk under my bed. With my brother and mom home during the day, I go to class and do homework at my desk. Eventually, I’ll emerge for meals and free time, but if I want to get anything done, I have to be at my desk. Sitting on the couch gets me nowhere because I can’t find myself in the right headspace to focus. Twice a week I have to play my flute for my music classes, so I kick everyone off of our first level so I can use the dining room. 

Take a Break 

Checklists have also been my everything. I already heavily relied on my planner, phone calendar, and Reminders, but utilizing those channels at this time has been extremely important. Staring at a computer all day drives me crazy, and sometimes I just need a break. It’s nice to have everything written down on paper so I can go through and highlight and mark-off everything I complete. It physically feels good to see my never-ending list get shorter as the week goes on.  

My final secret to success has been coming to terms with working at my own pace. Sometimes self-care has to come first. Sleeping in occasionally is perfectly acceptable now. I tend to find that I have more energy later in the day, so I’ll rearrange my schedule based on my energy levels to produce the best work I possibly can. 

This whole situation has been a learning curve, but I have figured out what works for me. Sticking to my quarantine philosophy has been key in still producing quality work, meeting deadlines, and doing it all with a smile on my face. While motivation remains low, these tips and tricks have helped me pick myself up and continue onward and upward.  

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