Staying productive at home can be tricky as what was your space to relax is now your place to work. This year I’ve been studying online, at home, so I could have more time to focus on sewing and building up my costume portfolio. It was almost like I was thrown in at the deep end as October/November was jam packed with costume work which was crazy but also really exciting, however the festival I was supposed to be costuming for July is obviously on hold for now, but there are talks about it moving online which is interesting! It was quite a strange transition at first, but it’s become my new normal and I think I’ve figured out what works for me now, so I thought I’d share a couple of tips with you.
Make a schedule
Figuring out what you’re going to do each day really helps to create structure. I write my schedule into my diary as I like being able to see all the tasks I’ve got to do and the deadlines on paper because it helps me to visualise how much time I have and to focus. I made a printable weekly schedule template for my Revision Tips blogpost so make sure to give that one a read too and download the free template if you’d like. I also put any meetings or online classes into the Calendar app on my phone so it will send me an alert 15 minutes before it starts and then I can make sure I’m ready and online in time.
Write to-do lists
I also write daily to-do lists in the Notes app on my phone the night before and tick them off throughout the day. In my to-do list I break everything down into individual tasks so I can see the steps I’ve got to do and it makes it feel more manageable and less overwhelming for me that way, and then I tick them off throughout the day as I complete them. For specific projects or subjects I also write to-do lists on paper and stick them in the front of the book or sketchbook, so I know what’s left to do when I open up my book the next time.
It’s important to remember to take breaks to refresh your mind and so you don’t overwork yourself. We had a lecturer come into my school to teach us how to revise and he recommended doing 45 minutes of work and then take a 15-minute break, which I have found helpful and gives a good work – break balance. Even if it’s only a 5 minute break, try and make sure to take one, maybe take a quick walk and get a glass of water, it can help to break up the work a little and give your brain a moment to take in everything you’ve just learnt before you start the next part.
Setting alarms, not just in the morning is also helpful, so you don’t forget things like lunch! If you think about it, at school you have alarms to let you know the end/start of lessons. It’s helpful for getting into that mindset or as a reminder to take a break. The Clock app on my phone also has a timer option which I find useful too for example, I might set a goal to read for 30 minutes and then when the timer goes, I move onto my next task.
Go to sleep/ wake up at regular times
I’m a night-owl so I usually go to sleep between midnight and 1am, and I wake up between 8:30am and 9am to start working at 10am. I also try not to work past 8pm so that I give myself a break to relax before going to sleep. Figure out what works best for you! I always find if I wake up before 7:30am I feel like a zombie for most of the day no matter what time I go to sleep 😂 which is honestly my favourite part of not having to wake up at “school time” anymore as most of my zoom meetings and online classes are luckily in the afternoon.
Setting goals can help you get in that work mindset, so you have a set target to work towards, whether that’s a number of pages to read or a number of laps around the garden. And give yourself a reward, something to look forward to after you’ve completed it, it could be a tasty treat, buying yourself something you’ve been saving up for, or watching your favourite show later on.
Make time for the things you enjoy
Dedicate some time each day to doing the things that YOU enjoy, it’s so important for your mental health and it gives you something to look forward to throughout the day. At the moment I make time each day to read for half an hour, maybe do some baking and craft for an hour or two, and it makes me feel so much happier. I also keep a list on my phone of all the things I would like to learn or try so that if I ever get bored or run out of things to do (which has happened a few times already during lockdown!), I can look at the list for inspiration and find something to do. One of the next things on my list is to re-learn how to crochet, I can do it, I just can’t read the patterns, and I really want to know how to, my great aunt made me a crotchet blanket when I was little and it’s just so adorable and I want to be able to make one too.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! What are some of your tips for staying productive at home?
I’m currently aiming to continue posting weekly, on Saturdays at 4pm GMT, with a mixture of craft, sewing and knitting tutorials, book reviews, baking recipes and more 💛
Stay safe and best wishes,
Emily M x