Productivity and Coping During the Pandemic

In this period of quarantine, self isolation and complete lockdown in many parts of the world, students have to spend a lot of time at home, raising concerns about reduced productivity and ultimate boredom. Despite the unprecedented circumstances, students have found ways to keep themselves engaged, get into new routines and get started on new ambitions. While a lot of people around us are using their time at home to develop new skills, it is also completely okay if some are not being productive or trying something new. We all have different coping mechanisms. Sometimes just relaxing and not having a total breakdown is the biggest accomplishment!

NYU Shanghai started remote learning as a measure to protect its student body from the highly contagious Covid-19 virus and to ensure their university education could continue. This is not what students envisioned their Spring 2020 semester would look like. 

In this period of quarantine, self isolation and complete lockdown in many parts of the world, students have to spend a lot of time at home, raising concerns about reduced productivity and ultimate boredom. 

Despite the unprecedented circumstances, students have found ways to keep themselves engaged, get into new routines and get started on new ambitions. 

Being inundated with Covid-19 news is making all of us anxious, a health issue that has extenuating lifestyle implications such as binge eating.

Yaman Marrawi said the lockdown had taken a toll on his health because it was difficult to get active. “Initially, it also affected my diet, as I lost track of time and began eating more snacks,” he said.

“I turned vegetarian though and, with Ramadan starting, my family and I decided to bring more fruits and vegetables to the table,” Yaman added.

Students are also striving to stay connected with their friends by working out together online. MindfulNYU is hosting a wide offering of yoga and meditation classes which some students say is really helpful.  

“I have started doing online yoga with my friends over Zoom. I also have a healthier diet now since I’m at home all day and I can control my food,” said Noam Goldfinger. 

Max Guinther goes for a run on his treadmill as often as possible and lifts weights when the weather is not conducive to being outside. 

While staying healthy is important, we should not overlook the value of an active mind and self-reflection. It is also helpful to find a self care routine to give our mind and body relief from stress and anxiety.

“I am planning all the stuff I’ll be doing once this is all over,” said Anna Farhan. 

“Self-reflection has showed me the kind of life I want, where I want it, and that encourages me to work harder and be more active,” she said.

As comfortable as studying from home may sound, it could also take its toll on the mental health of students who miss social interaction and feel isolated. 

“The whole pandemic has had many unprecedented effects on my family since January, and I think making peace with that and learning to be patient has become crucial to being active and productive with things I haven’t had time for,” said Gurkriti Singh. 

Gurkriti has adopted various strategies to deal with the adversities, including conversing with friends, journaling, painting, cooking, and music.

“They have all helped me stay more satisfied and remember the things I love to do, regardless of whether the world moves on or will be on hold for a while,” she said.

Staying productive during a lockdown may seem impossible. For most students there is a clear distinction between college and home environments. 

“I actually feel like I was pursuing my hobbies better before because I had a routine,” said Abraiz bin Abdullah. 

“Now that I don’t, I feel somewhat lost when I’m not being productive. But I still manage to read and do everything I was doing before,” he said. 

The pandemic has separated people from their friends, disrupting modern society on a scale no one anticipated. And as we gear up to these new realities it is important to maintain a work life balance and that includes managing the phone. 

A lot of work that students are doing and want to get involved with requires technology. This makes it harder for some to stay off their phones and they have found ways to prioritize and not to overindulge in these or other technology. 

Abraiz bin Abdullah adjusts his phone settings to avoid distractions. 

“I stay busy by reading books and listening to informative podcasts. If my notifications are annoying, I just turn on ‘do not disturb’ so I don’t feel an urge to check until I’m done with the task I’m doing,” he said.

Yaman Marrawi deactivated Facebook at the start of lockdown and eventually deleted Instagram and Twitter. Anna Farhan shuts down the phone when studying and Farheen Foad turns it off when not working to go for walks with the family. 

Audrey Samuel has found timetables to be useful for finishing tasks on time. 

“I draw out a timetable for the day and try to stick to that as much as possible. I try to use my laptop only when I have assignments to work on. I go outside to the garden and just look around to relax and take some breaks,” she said. 

The flexibility of being at home has given Yunfei Dai more time to explore new things. “I turn off my VPN to engage in responsible work and sign up for online competitions to keep busy with work and not just social media.” 

This is a challenging period for many students as it also provides an opportunity to take advantage of a valuable resource: time! And some students are using it to get certifications or apply for jobs.

“I am taking this time to get certified in various financial courses and have been on LinkedIn and Handshake every day applying for jobs,” said Max Guinther.

While a lot of people around us are using their time at home to develop new skills, it is also completely okay if some are not being productive or trying something new.

We all have different coping mechanisms. Sometimes just relaxing and not having a total breakdown is the biggest accomplishment!

This article was written by Fizza Urooj. Please send an email to fu257@nyu.edu to get in touch. Photo Credit: Vox.com

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