Too Much Freedom Leads to Laziness

During quarantine, the temptation to hit the snooze button in the mornings is strong, and it’s even easier to put off school assignments, especially with so much unstructured time. Yet, this behavior, innocent as it may seem in the moment, can lead to heavy consequences, like being buried under a mountain of late work.

In order to stay productive during distance learning, one must set up a daily schedule.

A typical school day before COVID-19 was structured in increments of 90 minutes. It was a structure that we took for granted.

Now a typical day is up to our own imaginations: we sleep late, browse social media, view Netflix marathons, shop online, attend a few Zoom sessions, sleep more, then repeat.

This temptation to do whatever we want feels justified. We’ve been working hard all year and deserve a break. That is initially how many viewed the shelter-in-place restrictions when they were 1st implemented. But now, months later, “taking a break” has turned to plain laziness.

Having a schedule can not only help us manage study time, but also personal time, like time with family or time exercising.

Having a routine has been linked to increased productivity. According to the Harvard Business Review, an experiment was done testing the productivity of workers at The Gap, a retail clothing chain, when a working schedule was set in place. This experiment found that not only did a schedule lead to an increase in the productivity of each worker, but also would have resulted in an estimated 2.9 million additional dollars in The Gap’s annual earnings.

Setting up a formal schedule will get us back on track to earning higher grades.

According to Business Insider, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, 2 of the biggest names in the technology industry, make it a habit to schedule their days by the minute. They each pencil into their schedules time for family, relaxation, and exercise. As a result, they are among the most productive individuals on the planet. We should follow their lead.

Additionally, having a regular routine will help with both our physical and mental well being. According to clinical psychologist Claudia W. Allen in an article by the University of Virginia, while social distancing, “isolation [and a] lack of schedule and not enough to do are a foolproof recipe for depression.” Allen claimed that writing down a schedule of things that need to be done in quarantine is a “behavioral activation” treatment used in the prevention of depression.

Northwestern Medicine further claims that having a routine can come with many health benefits such as lower stress levels and better sleep. This is critical in avoiding anxiety and developing a sense of control during the pandemic. And, of course, good sleep supports a healthy immune system, something we all need during these times.

To maintain balance in our lives, we need to pretend that we are in a structured working environment. While we may not have a bell system in our homes, we should set up a regular schedule in order to remain happy and productive through the duration of the shelter-in-place restrictions.