How To Work at Home When You Really Don’t Want To

These times have posed to be extremely unnerving for students. From graduations getting postponed until further notice, to the fear of a loved one being in harm’s way. I for one, had lost all motivation- finding myself in a comfortable sloth state with my lab report deadline looming over me. Eventually, it got to the point where I just had to ‘suck it up’ and get on with life, (managing to submit my lab report in time with some hours to spare.) In this article, I share some tips and tricks on how I managed to bring my life back together.

Make a List!

Making plans and lists can free us of some work related anxiety

I find that no matter how organised and on top of things I think I am, it isn’t until I write a list that I realise how chaotic my life has got. For me, a list is the first step to a happy brain. Studies show that making plans and lists can free us of some work related anxiety. The same study carried out by Baumeister and Masicampo, showed that writing tasks down before commencing the task itself increases performance.

My advice when list-making is to produce separate lists with their own unique categories. For example, I have a list for lectures, assignments, job/internship applications, hobbies and emails.

This will seem excessive to some of you but for me, it means I always know what I need to do. If I ever have 10 minutes to spare, instead of staring into oblivion, I will try to tick something off my list.

Some days I’ll even set myself a target of how many targets I must tick off my list before I can touch my phone, this requires a certain amount a self-control if done by yourself. Getting help from friends or family can make this so much more doable and prior achieving your goal, you will feel a small rush of dopamine.

Having said this, there will be days where you couldn’t care less if you have 100 things on a list and that’s fine because my next tip is to…

Never Fight your Inner Sloth!

From a young age, our homes have been a place of comfort. But recently, they have evolved into multi-function complexes ranging from office spaces to a gym. All in all, it can be hard to commit numberless hours to a topic that you expected to leave back at uni and in an environment which no longer is as fun as it used to be, and that is fair enough.

I found it took me time to adjust being back at home and more than anything else, I’m glad I let myself do absolutely nothing instead of fighting my sluggishness for a week.

This means it’s okay to have a 3 day marathon of Bad Education whilst wearing nothing but socks and a robe; eating whatever is left in the fridge- it’s all part of the process.

Don’t let this lethargic feeling take over

What I would say is, don’t let this lethargic feeling take over. Instead, steadily integrate healthy changes that feel natural to you until you are at the stage where you can, maybe, pick up a textbook. Day by day, you’ll see yourself doing more to the point where you somehow managed to complete half your list with an essay draft complete.

Finding the Perfect Time and Place to Work!

Consider this homework whilst you’re in sloth mode.

I always knew that I worked best during the night, however, this period helped me explore even more about myself. I now know that peak time for me to start working is at 10pm (no earlier no later), straight after eating a large amount of food. This should be followed by consuming toast at around 11.30pm. If I start at 9 (before I eat), then I get tired quicker and if I start later, I just want to sleep.

Work out the secret formula to your productivity success

My point to this over-descriptive paragraph is that you should use this extended period at home, to work out the secret formula to your productivity success. It is much better to invest a few days exploring yourself whilst you rest, then spending the rest of the week smashing out work efficiently, rather than spending what seems like 14 hours a day for a week completing less work.

One last tip which helps me do more in my day is…

Get Dressed, Even if You’re Not Going Anywhere!

Creating a dress code for yourself on a day that you’re working builds good work habits and increases productivity.

This is a theory called ‘mood enhancement dress’ which mostly entails wearing clothes based on how you feel. When you’re revising, it’s best to wear a comfortable outfit that you would usually wear to lectures and not what you woke up in last night. This should result in your mood towards work enhancing, as you have prepared yourself both physically and mentally for the work ahead.

Now that I have bestowed my secret formula to academic excellence (sort of), hopefully you can manage your time during this period a bit better than yesterday and make that 3pm deadline!

Morenike Tomori

Featured image courtesy of Sean MacEntee via Flickr. No changes made to this image. Image license found here. 

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