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BranchOut! Human Minds: Psychology of Productivity

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of schools across the globe are closed indefinitely. Children are stuck at home with online school, while parents work from home. While many tend to look at temporary closures as a period of rest, this current situation has pushed many to become more productive, perhaps even more productive than they were before. So, where does this urge come from? How do we define productivity, and how has quarantine affected that?

What is Productivity?

Productivity is defined as how efficiently one works in an individual or group environment. It is affected by a lot of factors, including motivation, working environment, and time management ("Productivity"). Productivity emerges naturally when individuals find their work valuable or useful ("Productivity"). For instance, getting a high GPA, working for a promotion, or simply just to have more achievements, are all worth the energy to achieve. We’re also affected by our fellow peers, in a competitive and supportive sense. Other people’s accomplishments fuel us to reach our goals, while friends and family encourage us to take it a step further.

How do we improve productivity?

First, get rid of any distractions, especially technology. Put your phone in another room or turn on Do Not Disturb. No matter how many times we tell ourselves to focus, we still have a tendency to check messages and emails while working. These notifications give a false sense of productivity; while it seems like we’re “multi-tasking”, we’re actually just “task-switching” ("Boosting Productivity").

Another way to increase productivity is to write down goals. Keep monthly or weekly diaries to reflect on goal progress. Research suggests that by writing journal entries, students get a chance to reflect on their successes and failures ("Boosting Productivity"). This allows them to overcome challenges as well as give them a confidence boost.

Is it important to be productive during quarantine?

Recently, many individuals on social media are posting their own thoughts about productivity during quarantine. Since everyone is now stuck in the confinements of their own homes, many encourage others to look into things they have never had time for. For example, exercising, cooking, learning a new language, and more. Some people even take it to the extreme, saying that if one doesn’t learn anything new during this outbreak, they simply lack motivation and discipline.

It’s important to not slack off and be productive, but what about being more productive? We have to remember that a deadly, global pandemic is happening. Striving to be more productive is definitely not the only thing on people’s minds right now. Productivity shouldn’t be forced; it comes with motivation and time. It depends on the person; while some strive under this stress, others have a hard time handling it ("Please Don't Be Guilted Into Being More Productive During the Coronavirus"). It is important to define your own sense of productivity. Don’t feel discouraged and take a break when needed. If simply getting through the day makes you happy, that’s okay. Take this time to look at the present and reflect on yourself. Learning how to embrace yourself just a little bit more is already an accomplishment to be proud of.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!


Works Cited

"Productivity." Psychology Today, Accessed 7 May 2020.

Stringer, Heather. "Boosting productivity." American Psychological Association, Sept. 2017,

Torres, Monica. "Please Don't Be Guilted Into Being More Productive During The Coronavirus." Huffpost, 19 Mar. 2020, Accessed 6 May 2020.

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