Despite this being a tumultuous time for us all, many are expected to maintain the same levels of work as before, with school continuing through lockdown. Work is being set, deadlines kept, and stress levels becoming higher than before. But what can we do about this?
It is very unknown territory for students at the moment; some people have exams cancelled, some have no idea if their exams are continuing if internally set, which is understandable considering the schools themselves don’t know. Yet students are expected to continue to complete the work set, and revise as if their exams are upcoming, with no idea of what really lies in store. Work may be set online, over programs such as Show My Homework, or over video calls. Both methods have their flaws, with work being set seeming like homework and on some level optional because there is not much dialogue with the teacher, and video calls being more inaccessible and harder to maintain.
For many, the hardest part about remote working is the lack of motivation. With such an abrupt change of environments, it is jarring to try to sit at home and work for the majority of the day as if you were at school. In a school setting, you are able to move around the site, leaving your home and ensuring you see different scenery, which can help some people to focus. You have a teacher with you in lessons, so it is easy to ask questions when you need help, and they ensure you have no distractions, such as your phone, or anything else you would have in your room at home. There are a variety of activities you can do, many of which can’t be translated to work set remotely, such as discussion and debate. Additionally, school has a strict schedule, which is followed by everyone and as such, can’t be avoided. Schedules set at home, whilst they may be strict, can never be enforced in the same way as school, where hundreds of people have to follow the same timings. In schools, these things help students stay focused for longer, and even feel capable of doing work after school as well, yet when you’re stuck in the same building all day long, the work drags on, and it is harder and harder to get anything done.
There is no set solution for any motivation issues anyone is facing. Some self-imposed schedules work brilliantly for some people, others thrive off reward systems, and others find the freedom to do work at their own pace works wonders. A change of scenery may help some people, doing daily exercise at the same time by going for a walk or run. Some people have set up study sessions, video calling their friends to motivate everyone to work at the same time. There is no one method, and various small tricks may work well to motivate some people.
There is a lot of pressure to make this time be productive, since it is seen as a break from our usual busy lives. Yet this time is stressful for everyone, and you can only do your best. There should be no pressure to enrich your life, pick up a new hobby, or do anything considered worthwhile, although new hobbies and skills can be a great way to pass the time, and make a change of pace from work. Try to keep in contact with friends, and reach out to them if you are struggling with motivation at this time. We’re all in this together.