• Marci Levin

Writing in Quarantine

Maintaining your focus can be difficult when you (and all of your family members) are stuck at home. For many of us, there is still work to be done, and trying to do it while your household is in disarray can seem impossible. My siblings are normally at school or work during the day, so before the coronavirus lockdown, I had the house to myself for a few hours in the afternoon. Since mid-March, I have been forced to write with people and noise all around me, and, thankfully, I still managed to finish my WIP! Here are my top 5 tips to adjusting your routine during quarantine:

1. Carve Out Your Own Space

Your home may have multiple rooms or only one, but you should at least have space to sit. Make sure the area is clean and tidy. Surround yourself with everything you’ll need: notebooks, pens, water, etc. If you already have an office, then you’ve got it made, my friend. Crack open the blinds and let the sun in. Open a window for some fresh air. Light a candle. Clear any dust. Create your ideal work environment within your current circumstances. For me, this includes the corner of a couch or a rocking chair, my laptop, writing notebooks, chapstick, and water. I will sit in the same spot every day and make it my own.

2. Wear Headphones

Designate work time where you can wear headphones with minimal disruption. You don’t have to play music if it inhibits your concentration, but headphones should at least muffle the general noise around you. I work best in silence, but I will play music if I must. Here is the music I tend to listen to while I write.

3. Create A To-Do List

A to-do list can be rewarding. It can help you keep track of every task you need to complete, and at the end of each task you can reward yourself with a checkmark. Knowing everything I need to do a day or week in advance can help me focus on what I need to do in the present. It helps to see your work laid out step-by-step. A typical day for me — in quarantine or otherwise — would include making meals, decluttering, writing/editing, and exercising. Although this doesn’t sound like a lot, I feel much better when I know the finer details of what I’ll need to do, as those change day-to-day.

4. Make Time For Family

While you must set aside time to work in order to get any of it done, you cannot ignore your family or roommates forever. Besides, taking breaks actually has numerous benefits, and you will be more productive if you don’t overwork yourself. Your family will appreciate the attention and be more apt to respect your designated “working” hours.

This tip should also apply if you live alone. Make time to maintain consistent correspondence with family and friends, be that on the phone, Skype, Zoom, or other messaging apps.

5. Make Sleep A Priority

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I’m sure you’ve heard this enough: adequate sleep is essential for your general well-being. Quarantine or no-quarantine, you must prioritize sleep if you hope to accomplish your goals. While it is tempting to extend your waking hours when you don’t have to set your alarm the next day, you know you will regret it in the morning. So don’t do it. Go to sleep at 10 p.m. if possible. Stop being a baby.

Hope this helps! Now I’m going to do some light editing and maybe play a little Minecraft because I’m sick. How have you managed your time in quarantine? 😷

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