A Short Study On Productivity in Quarantine (Because I Lack the Attention Span to Write Anything Longer)

May 11, 2020

As a student, I am always in want of more time. Whether it be for schoolwork, piano practice, or hobbies, there never seem to be enough hours in the day. I though that with the onset of isolation, we would all have what we so desperately craved before the world went into lockdown. With all those extra hours in the day, you would think that our collective productivity would go through the roof; however, it seems that the impact quarantine has had on us is complicated to say the least. 

We put up a poll on Instagram to ask CCES students how being home all day has affected their productivity, and the results were highly interesting. 27% of students report completing their homework before it’s due, while an overwhelming 73% said that they  completing assignments the day they have to turn them in. (I fall into the latter category; in fact, this article is being written on the day it’s due. Sorry, Mrs. Sielbeck). While this may seem like a severe case of May-itis, if you step away from the numbers and look at a typical school schedule, most of our “homework” is to be completed as classwork during our assigned time slots. It makes perfect sense to finish worksheets and quizzes on the day they’re due because that’s what we would do in a typical school environment. 

But how long does it take us to get everything done? The majority of users (54%) state that it only takes them 3 hours max to get their work done, whereas 46% claim spending 4 hours or more. This makes sense, due to varying grade levels, course loads, and extracurriculars. All of this should add up to an overall increase in productivity, right? Not exactly. Nearly three fourths of Instagram users (73%) reported an overall decrease in productivity levels, while only 27% said that they’ve been doing more while being in lockdown. We have so much more time now! School only lasts from 9-2, and we get breaks! Why are so many people reporting what appears to be extreme laziness? 

There are numerous possible answers, each likely varying from person to person, but the main one is: we’re not being forced to work on anything at a particular time. Because of our lack of structure, we are left to our own devices when it comes to completing our work in a timely manner. I think what’s happening is that when we’re removed from a school environment, we have a harder time focusing on our work. (In fact, a whopping 96% of people say that schoolwork has been the hardest thing to focus on in quarantine). Oftentimes we can spend the whole “school day” on social media (which 51% of people cite as their main distraction) and finish up our work after 2 pm. As long as we meet the deadlines, we’re fine. And the more time we have, the more time we’ll take to procrastinate. During these time, sheer boredom and monotony leaves our brains wanting new and exciting things, which at the moment can be easily obtained on Instagram or TikTok. 

So, bottom line: Time does not equate to productivity. And if you’re feeling excessively lazy or sluggish, you’re just like the majority of students right now. Just take it one day at a time until summer, and we can finish the school year strong! 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. .

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