When Covid hit about a year ago, none of us could have predicted how long we would have to endure this remote learning experience. At first, it was novel, and for some, it may have even been a blessing to give up a dreaded daily commute, or have the option to wake up later. But the sacrifices, especially the lack of physical connection with others, and Covid learning loss, have taken a toll. As the months drag on, it’s important to recommit to doing your best during the remaining (hopefully few) months, in order to minimize the adverse impacts of remote learning, and make the most of this unprecedented school year.
Here are 3 simple ways to stay motivated during Covid:
1. Invest in a planner & create a weekly schedule
If you do not already have a planner, get one right now! When I tell you this is a game-changer, I am not kidding. Having a planner allows you to dictate and control your schedule. You can add in due dates for your assignments which will help you avoid procrastination. What I recommend you do, is to block out 30 minutes of your Sunday night to go ahead and glance at the upcoming week and see what is due for each class. Once you do that, write in the days you need to have an assignment completed. For example, if you are looking at your English course and notice that you must complete a required reading by Wednesday, it’s a good idea to schedule that for Monday or Tuesday night (whichever night you are the least busy). Then do this with each class, and depending on the flexibility of your due dates, you can almost certainly create a balanced schedule. That way you will not be forced to do seven assignments in one night. It’s so much more peaceful to plan a schedule that works well for you, and then follow it. It is also satisfying to mark a task as complete in your planner; it gives you a feeling of self-accomplishment.
2. Reward Yourself
In addition to scheduling school-related tasks, take the time to schedule activities within your planner. Each day should include a healthy balance of “work” and “play.” Perhaps when you finish your math homework, you reward yourself with an episode of your favorite show. After you finish watching that episode, you get right back to your other tasks. These activities should be brief, and range from 20-30 minutes. Some common ones are: getting a snack, playing a video game, scrolling through social media, and watching tik toks. Sometimes you know exactly what you need to complete within the day, because you wrote them into your schedule. It would look something like this: 4 PM- Respond to three classmates’ discussion posts. 5-5:15 PM- Break time (but only if you completed the above task!)! 5:15-6 PM- Do math homework… By blocking out times for each individual task, you are slowly developing a mindset that is absolutely critical to success: time management.
3. Reach out for support
Finally, if all else fails and you are succumbing to the external pressures, turn to those you trust. According to a Stanford article titled “Stanford psychologists investigate COVID-19’s mental toll on teenagers:” “The researchers found that teenagers who showed greater connectivity, or interconnectedness, in a set of particular brain regions were less likely to experience pandemic-related depression and anxiety.” Whether it is a family member, a friend, or your roommate, find someone you can vent to. Someone who will encourage you to do your homework and stay active. These can also be the same people you study or do your homework with. We are social animals and thrive on human connections. Be sure to build and maintain those personal connections. Social distancing is the term many people use nowadays, however, I strongly believe it should be physical distancing, rather than social. It’s so much better for your health to stay in touch and communicate with your peers, either through social media outlets, on the phone or Zoom, or even hanging out while wearing masks.
Follow these 3 tips, and you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your current Covid experience. Hopefully one day very soon, you’ll look back on this time as a blip on your educational journey that taught you to how to adapt and prioritize yourself, overcome challenges, and build the skills necessary to achieving your goals.
Thanks for reading! Let us know what you’re doing to stay motivated during Covid! Send a note to [email protected].
Christine Hutchison, Founder, Teen Innovators. We offer superb 1:1 mentorship and leadership classes, for teens by teens.