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  • Shanne Gan

Productivity in a Pandemic

The circuit breaker may be over, but many of us are still spending most of our time at home with Phase 2 of post-circuit breaker still in effect. While dining out and meeting up with friends is now allowed, many entertainment venues such as cinemas and theme parks are still closed. It’s safe to say that most of us have succumbed to a less than ideal lifestyle. In fact, sleeping past 3am in the morning and waking up in the late afternoon has become the new norm for many of my friends. 

That being said, we need to keep in mind that such a pattern may have detrimental effects on our quality of mind and also the work we produce in the long run. You may feel less energetic, more temperamental, and just not in the mood for anything in general (besides snacking and watching Netflix, probably). 

Fret not - it’s not too late to start sprucing up your “Pandemic Lifestyle”. Read on for a list of tips and information that has helped tremendously in keeping me sane and productive during this unprecedented time in our lives.

#1: Make a timetable/to-do list and stick to it

Yes, that includes setting a reasonable time for going to bed and waking up early. Making a list of all the things you have planned for the day helps you in setting aside ample time for each task, so as to ensure that you get them done. 

If you’re a creative freak like me, this is also the perfect excuse for you to channel your artistic energy into designing a timetable. It can be a simple one that you can refer to on your computer, a page on your planner, or a chalkboard that you have on your bedroom wall. 

I mean, you’re going to be referencing it every day for a long time, so why not make it pleasing to the eye? I personally enjoy striking off each task once it has been accomplished - there is nothing sweeter than seeing a page full of crossed-off tasks at the end of the day!

Tip: Pinterest has many timetable templates that you can gain inspiration from!

Source: Pinterest

#2: Set aside time for exercise

In Singapore, we are lucky enough to still be able to leave the house for exercise. Be it a walk in the park, a slow jog, or engaging in high intensity workouts, exercise will do you good. 

Working out not only releases endorphins to put you in a better mood, it also strengthens your body physically and builds up your immune system - something we all need, especially right now. It also gives you an additional goal that you can work towards before school begins in August. 

If you don’t feel like leaving the house and getting exposed to the coronavirus particles in the air - pull out your yoga mat and search for some home workout videos on YouTube. Fitness YouTubers like Chloe Ting and Blogilates have seen the views on their YouTube videos skyrocket in the past months as many have turned to home workouts in lockdown. Many of these fitness gurus also have challenges and plans that you can follow to make working towards your fitness goals easier.

Source: Getty Images

#3: Take up a new hobby or passion project

Am I the only one whose instagram feed has been full of people baking this circuit breaker? 

If you are like me and have always wanted to bake but never found the time to do so, there is no better time than now. Google simple baking recipes and surprise your family with a homemade cake or a new batch of cookies every week. 

Perks of baking - you can also sneak in a taste-test (or several) while in the kitchen. Also, you will never run out of desserts at home. 

Source: Country Living Magazine

#4: Do some studying

Due to the coronavirus, many universities across the world have been offering free online courses for various majors. They are completely free of charge with no obligation whatsoever. 

Simply google “free online courses”, or head to websites like Coursera or EdX and browse through what’s available. You can choose to study something that is linked to your major or specialization, or just something else you are interested in that you will likely never get the opportunity to learn about in university. 

I’m currently taking a course in Food Nutrition by Stanford (yes, Stanford) based on personal interest, and I’ve been really enjoying it so far. You will even get your own certificate at the end that states your completion of the course. Doing so ensures that you’re still working your brain instead of losing all your brain cells watching shows like Too Hot to Handle on Netflix (oops). 

Tip: assign an area in your home that is purely for work or studying e.g. a desk in your room. That means no working on your bed or on the sofa! This really helps you focus on your task better and avoid the irresistible temptation of taking a nap.


Well, that’s about it! I hope these tips have proven useful for those who are trying to make the most out of this pandemic. However, I do also want to emphasize that we are living in a really weird time right now, and that it is perfectly okay to be unproductive every once in a while. Staying safe and healthy is what’s most important right now. 

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