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Top tips on how to stay productive in lockdown

Updated: May 19

Broadcast journalist & final year University student, Emma Snow explains how she is staying focused and productive in lockdown.

All copy and images by Emma Snow (instagram - @_emmasnow).

"We all want to stay in our PJs all day, have a lie in and just take it easy, and I’ll admit, this was me during the first few of days of lockdown. However, it soon became clear that this wasn’t helping me stay productive and was taking its toll on my mental health too."

We’re in a global pandemic and no one is expecting us to be productive and use every single second of the day effectively. It’s really difficult to do that when we aren’t in a pandemic, but when our daily routines are thrown out the window, it’s even harder to stay on track.

For the first week of lockdown, like everyone, I felt confused and overwhelmed. I am within weeks of finishing my degree and knew that I needed to stay on track to complete it. I decided that I needed to try and form some habits and a routine to try and help me stay on track. This is far from perfect and I definitely don’t do these things every day!

1. Creating a daily ‘to do’ list and daily schedule

To do list.

I’d always created a weekly ‘to do’ list, but never a daily one. I’d always just try and fit my weekly tasks into my days wherever I could. I decided to start writing a daily schedule in a notebook with hourly tasks to complete, meaning I can hold myself accountable. I include simple tasks like eating lunch, doing a workout, or completing a certain element of my university dissertation.

2. Putting on makeup and a nice outfit

Emma Snow doing her makeup.

Admittedly, this doesn’t happen every day! If I’ve got video calls or something important I need to film, I’ll make the effort. Sometimes I’ll just do it to feel more productive. I think making yourself feel good is really important and can really help boost your mental health. Before lockdown, I would wear makeup every day and enjoyed putting outfits together. This being said, I am embracing the non-makeup days too- I genuinely don’t remember the last time that I didn’t wear makeup every day!

3. Working out

Emma Snow getting ready to workout.

Gyms are closed and so it would be a perfect excuse to not do any exercise! I didn’t exercise in the first week of lockdown and it negatively impacted my mental health. It’s really important to do some form of exercise, whether that’s going on an outdoor run or walk (socially distancing of course) or, as I’ve been doing, working out at home by following home workouts on YouTube. There are SO many videos you can follow with no equipment needed and you have the freedom to choose the length of your workout too. After a workout, I always feel much more productive.

4. Staying connected

Emma Snow staying connected with her friends and family.

Taking time to video call friends and/or family is really important for your emotional wellbeing. Making time to socialise will motivate you to be productive and chatting with friends who may be experiencing the same difficulties as you will help put things into context. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling during this time.

5. Doing things you enjoy!

Emma's famous chocolate chip cookies.

I used to LOVE baking, but recently didn’t have time to because of my busy schedule, so I’ve been trying out different recipes every Sunday. I try to fit in things I enjoy into my weekends or in the evenings. Re-watching my favourite series, getting nostalgic and watching old DVDs, discovering new programmes and listening to music are some of the things that I’ve been really enjoying. Splitting your days into working and relaxing is really important for your mental wellbeing.

There’s no perfect way to spend lockdown and we all have our bad days when we don’t want to do anything and that’s totally okay. I hope the things I’ve been doing to try and stay motivated will help you. Most importantly, stay well and look after yourself and those around you.

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