This is my short story of quarantine so far.
I`ve never been the type of person to sit down and write either blogs or diaries so I’m not entirely sure why I jumped at the opportunity to write this one. I guess all I want is to share my struggles and ensure people that they are not alone with any that they may encounter.
My quarantine experience started with the feeling of being given a lucky chance to finish writing up my master’s thesis, as well as catch up on some neglected paperwork. The first couple of weeks were filled with optimism and motivation towards sitting down at the desk and productively working through the mound of work which needed completing. Even the stress of battling with my statistics for my master’s project didn`t hinder my mood or the productivity. I also managed to be productive with other life relative things such as servicing the car and building those herb planters that I had kept putting off.
Life seemed great, in a productive sense, and at the time I thought quarantine wasn`t going to affect me or the way in which I worked.
How wrong I was.
My motivation and appetite to work and learn new skills seemed to dry up overnight without warning. There was a small part of me inside which really hated sitting in front of any screen, be it TV for fun or a computer screen for work. Forcing myself didn`t work either and just ended in irritation and a blank word document.
I’ve hit similar motivational “brick walls” in the past and I could normally coax myself back into rhythm with my favourite ice cream, though this time the only result I was left with was an empty pot of ice-cream and the guilt of not being productive.
This internal struggle lasted a few days before realising my work practises needed adapting so that I could continue being productive during my quarantine time. My adapted approach has evolved into a structure where I’ve minimised the computer for only necessarily things such as checking E-mails, downloading research papers and working out what is the next piece of work that needs completing. The time that would have be spent on the computer writing up has been substituted with old fashioned pen and paper.
One of the key benefits I’ve found is the ability to sit and work wherever you want, for example I’m writing this sat in the car in the middle of Salcey forest. This makes the environmentalist in me scream for using paper and driving around the corner to one of my favourite hidey-holes, however, this method has once again relit my motivation to sit down and be productive.
I guess all in all what I’m trying to say is, if you are hit by the feeling of demotivation and unproductivity then you not alone and changing your working style may work wonders. If you have had similar experiences or other struggles, then please share them and let others know that they are not alone.
Stay safe everyone and I look forward to seeing everyone again once this is over.
is a Research Technician (Microbiology) in the School of
Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
at the Open University