It’s a real privilege for me to be able to have the time to do what I want right now, as my academic year is now complete and I’m not in a position where I have to work. I know that a lot of people don’t have these luxuries at the moment, and I am extremely grateful to live this life.
Equally, I think it’s important to address that quarantine is not time designed for you to live your most efficient and productive life. There are much bigger fish to fry currently, and I would never suggest that this is time wasted if you are focused on surviving each day. For me, I know that I won’t have this kind of time again in my life and I want to make the most of it by spending time on things that will benefit me in the future and things that I enjoy.
If, like me, you have a long list of things you want to learn, accomplish or have a go at during some point in your life, you might be thinking that quarantine is the ideal time to carry all these dreams out. From things like reading all the pages I’ve added to my reading list over the past few years, all the way to learning new languages, I’ve really been meaning to do so many things during summer and quarantine.
The problem is, however, I just don’t know how to incorporate my goals into my day without any structure, especially as having so much choice with what you could do during the day is often more overwhelming than having fewer choices. I guess spending years in education makes you unable to live without a set routine of some sort.
So, I decided to devise a little timetable that I could use as a guide for what I could be doing in the day. Now, I have to tell you the truth, I made this about a week ago, and I have barely spent any time actually sticking to it, but just having it to refer to when I suddenly have nothing to do during the day has been so helpful. It helps to make the days count even though they still blend into one another.
If you want to find a similar routine for yourself, keep reading for an instruction guide on how to spend your days in quarantine well.
Identify the Things You Want to Do
In my master goals list, there were a few very far fetched ideas (like learning the violin – not something I really intend to start this summer, but something I’d like to do at some point regardless). It’s okay to be unrealistic at this stage! I think there’s such a beauty to seeing something you like the look of and telling yourself you’ll learn it one day because I think we should all strive to not limit ourselves in terms of what we can achieve. Some of the goals on this list that I intend to work on this summer included:
- Learning to touch type
- Learning to code
- Learning Arabic
- Practising my French
- Working on blog content
- Doing Skillshare courses on things that interest me
Break Down Big Tasks into Smaller, Manageable Tasks
This is especially important for things like learning and practising languages because finding some sort of structure with which to approach it makes it easier to learn and easier to refer back to. On a smaller scale, for me, this involved things like finding specific courses on Skillshare that I wanted to take up after I brainstormed all the things that interested me.
Create a General Timetable Based Around Your Day
I started this by filling in my commitments and other general daily activities, in particular, highlighting a normal wake-up and sleep time, so I could fill in the rest of the day around that, as opposed to setting unrealistic times for myself to wake up and sleep and making it more difficult to follow my own guidelines.
Then, with all my objectives, I did something I’ve never really done before, and that was separating all of them into ‘creative’ goals and ‘structured’ goals. I did this because I realised there were certain types of things I enjoyed doing at certain times of the day. Let me delve a little bit deeper into what constitutes a ‘creative’ or ‘structured’ goal.
Much like you’d expect, creative work is based around thinking, forming thoughts/opinions and trying to express these thoughts in some form. This type of work includes working on my blog, reading books and making notes on said books, reading articles and scientific papers with the intention to learn and make notes on the things I learn for future reference.
I normally enjoy doing creative work earlier in the day as I feel like I come up with better ideas at this time. I actually wanted to also incorporate the recent beautiful weather into this creative work so I try to take my laptop and do this stuff outside, because something about being in nature, learning things and thinking about things just sits so right with me.
I refer to this as structured work because I feel like there are good resources and materials available out there to carry out these specific tasks. The things that fall into this category include practising touch typing, working through Skillshare classes, learning languages and learning to code.
I love to do these things in the evening because there’s less novel thinking going on and it feels like I’m actively learning new skills, but I don’t have to work my brain as hard. I always do these things at my desk as well because it’s nice to have a set place to do these structured activities. I guess I just feel more put-together when I settle down in the evening to work on one of my goals.
Have Fun, Be Spontaneous and Don’t Feel Tied Down by the “Timetable”
I always call this a guide for myself because I know how frustrating it feels to be tied down to a fixed, unchangeable routine. As I said earlier, I rarely follow my own guide to a T and many days, something will come up or my mood will change, and I’ll spend my time doing other things. It’s very much a no-stress kind of guideline, and I encourage you to spend more time doing spontaneous things when they come up rather than trying to stick to a timetable that will always be there.
I usually just pick and choose from the potential activities I’ve got listed whenever I sit down to get started as opposed to deciding what to do the night before. This is better for me because I just do whatever I feel like doing and I don’t need to worry about doing things that I already told myself I would, unless it’s something super pressing or important.
I hope you enjoyed this little glance into the kind of routine that I’ve got for myself in quarantine and how you can use a similar way of structuring to achieve your own goals in a healthy, measured way.
Please keep safe, keep fighting the good fight, and I’m sending you all my love.