#DrewsViews: Ways to Organize your Life when Quarantine has Significantly Messed up your Old Routine & Life in General
by Andrew Adams
The Coronavirus outbreak, and subsequent quarantine, has impacted almost all of us. Learning how to work, teach, learn, and live entirely from home can be a huge challenge if you are anything like me. Before the quarantine, I had a very nice and organized weekly routine that kept me on track with all of my projects and responsibilities. When the calendar went out the window, my mental health and organization certainly took a tumble as well. Over the course of the nearly two months my partner, Emil, and I have been quarantined, however, I think we have found a system of organization that works well for us. Here are my top 4 tips for staying organized during these difficult times, and during any other major crisis we end up facing in the future.
1. Make a new calendar, and actually stick to it.
It’s normal to feel totally discombobulated when everything in your life is turned upside down, but establishing a “new normal” with dedicated time to do important tasks, and scheduled time to relax, is a great way to give you some of that structure you so dearly miss. For example, I wrote down on my calendar one task that I need to complete to finish my project for the LGBTQ+ Services department at UCF, where I go to school. I budget about an hour and a half to do that task, and split it into two days if needed. This keeps me active on something important every single day, except for the days I have designated as days off, which is every Thursday. I picked to schedule my days off because I realized that I would not take days off if I didn’t literally write them into my schedule. I highly recommend this as a way to stay organized.
2. Create a daily to do list, and cross things off as you complete them.
If you have multiple things you want to do in a day, like chores, homework, work work, cooking, or shopping, write down everything you need to do in a list as soon as you get up. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything because you forgot it, and it is immensely satisfying to cross something off a to do list. You can even use your calendar from the previous tip to write down that day’s work, since it should be written on the calendar.
3. Take time off, and schedule it if you need to.
The reason I am limiting myself to only one work related task per day is because just existing in this incredibly stressful time takes a great deal of energy. Because of how much energy just existing takes, I realized that even the smallest of tasks can be difficult depending on how stressful that particular day is. I don’t want to overwhelm myself by trying to do too many tasks at once, and I really don’t want to stress myself out even more by scheduling multiple tasks in a day and then not being able to complete them, thus falling behind in a schedule that I arbitrarily made. Giving myself more time to complete tasks means that if I have extra time, I can do more, but I am absolutely not obligated to do more than I have the energy for. I highly encourage taking lots of breaks, days off, and relaxation, as these are crucial to maintaining good mental health and thus, high quality work.
4. Find what works best for you!
Everyone is different. Just because I use multiple whiteboards to keep track of my things, doesn’t mean that everyone should use whiteboards. If you don’t have whiteboards, paper works just fine too. If writing things down isn’t really your style, try using digital calendars, like Outlook, Google, and Apple have. I’ve never owned an Android, but they probably have calendars too. Personally, I prefer to hand write things if I want to remember them, and I love color coding. For me, digital calendars never had enough colors for me, and I would need to set lots of reminders for things that I can now remember on my own because I hand wrote them. Find what works for you and use it!
Quarantine can be difficult, especially with how long it is lasting. Luckily, we can adapt. I hope these tips help anyone who is struggling with organization during this difficult time. Stay safe, friends!
About the Author:
Andrew Adams is a transgender college freshman at the University of Central Florida who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. Nationally, Andrew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Andrew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Andrew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Andrew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.