Quarantine: A Productivity Contest?


(Source: www.hbr.org)

By Carolina Soto, Editor-In-Chief

In a time like this of social distancing at home, now more than ever media outlets are encouraging people to be productive and have created a mix of activities to do at home. Being productive while social distancing has been different for everyone. Many can agree it has been a journey of trying to feel the way they felt while they were still able to sit in classrooms, go to one place to the other, and have human contact.

Do You Feel Productive?

For some students social distancing at home has made them feel a lot more productive. Senior Elizabeth Vasquez said, “It’s easier to focus on schoolwork because now, there are less distractions that you would normally face in a classroom like the constant walking in and out of the class, having others talking around you, or having friends to talk to instead of doing work.”

Art teacher Ms. Lee, who has been conducting weekly Facetime calls with her AP Art students individually, said she feels more productive as an online teacher. “Working from home has involved becoming more creative with lessons, managing my time as best as possible, and modifying the way I normally would communicate with students and colleagues,” she said.

Senior Sylvana Green said staying at home has not made a difference on her productivity. “Before social distancing, my life consisted of going to school and going back home. Home is where I have always been productive to get schoolwork done or non-school related tasks,” she said.

On the other hand, senior Miguel Zepeda-Rodriquez argues being at home with so many distractions around him has made him feel less productive. “I feel like it’s a drag once I start to work on a school assignment. I just want to finish as soon as possible to do something else. I even admit I have stopped doing schoolwork to be on my phone. You see so many things around your house such as your TV, bed, video games, phone and so much more that you rather pay attention to than your schoolwork,” he said.

Similarly, junior Jose Torrentes said, “I’m used to having people on top of me to tell me to get work done, yet now that I don’t have anyone telling me to be on top of my work, I’ve been pushing off some schoolwork to the side.”

 Should We Be Productive or Relax?

While some may be using this time to relax, some say we should take advantage of having more time and be productive. Senior Emma Alonso said, “For us to not go mentally insane, we should be productive. If we take this time to relax, then we won’t get anything done, and we would just feel this whole wait of quarantine to be over longer than it already is.”

In contrast, senior Keilyn Delgado believes there should be a good balance between productivity and relaxation. She thinks being productive should not only be measured on what you get done work wise but also internally. “Meditating and cleaning your house is considered productivity as well and it makes you feel better about yourself long term,” she said.

The Feeling of Productivity

Feeling productive varies among students. Senior Tomy Castillo feels happy when he is getting things done because he will not have to dread what he has to do any longer.

Junior Arianna Solis said, “When I’m being productive, I feel that I could handle anything life throws at me. Being productive unleashes a feeling of determination within myself that pushes me to complete what I have to do.”

Junior Kiara Delgado said it all depends what she is doing. “If I’m being productive with things I’m interested in, I feel fulfilled but if it isn’t, I feel burdened,” she said.

The Ugly Side of Productivity

Many people promote productivity as a good thing, yet some acknowledge being productive can have a negative side to it. Junior Shayla Garcia said, “Over prioritizing productivity can lead to exhaustion and burnout.”

For computer science teacher Mr. Jara, being productive during social distancing has felt overwhelming. “Honestly, I feel like it’s more difficult to disconnect from work. I am always near my computer and my email does not stop receiving questions about technology. I have also been hosting online trainings to help teachers with technology across the district,” he said.

The Efficacy We Find in Schoolwork

For students during this time of distance learning, to feel productive has meant doing class work. Senior Lucy Severo said, “The only way I have been able to feel productive is by being consistent with my schoolwork.”

Emma Alonso said aside from homework, she has been working on Miami High’s yearbook. “We have deadlines to meet and certain requirements to meet so I’m always doing that,” she said.

Jose Torrentes said his AP French classmates have been conducting weekly Zoom meetings to study French together.

The Fun Parts of Being Productive

Schoolwork is a part of feeling productive, yet it can also include fun activities. Senior Jesse Gonzalez admits he has not been doing any online school assignments, so instead, to feel productive he has been finishing books he didn’t find time to finish before social distancing and has taken the time to play more of his electric guitar.

Sylvana Green said she has been working out more than usual.

Senior Sandy Rubi said, “I’ve been watching old movies that I love and have dedicated more of my time to painting murals on my bedroom walls.”

Senior Nathaly Sevilla has taken this time to journal her thoughts. “Writing while listening to music has helped ease the tension,” she said.

Our Motivation to Be Productive

Motivation plays a huge role in being productive. For Elizabeth Vasquez, having something to look forward to after getting a task done is her motivation to get things done. “Whenever I accomplish a daily goal, I like to reward myself with something like a pastry. It really depends on what the goal is and how much work it requires. Sometimes the idea of relaxing is motivating enough,” she said.

Lucy Severo said seeing the assignments on her Google Classroom and submitting them is a great motivator for her.

Arianna Solis said, “Keeping my grades up has been a motivator to be on top of my school work.”

What We Hope to Accomplish

For some, the move to distance learning has provided moments of motivation and inspiration. Sandy Rubi said she is looking forward to finishing her AP Art portfolio.

Keilyn Delgado said, “I hope to find true inner peace. I have remained incredibly calm during this pandemic, making me believe that I am doing great in my journey to inner peace. I also just want to graduate and receive my diploma.”

Choir Director Ms. Cid said this experience of distance learning has spurred new ideas that she wants to continue for the chorus program in the future and the next school year. “We will definitely be launching a YouTube channel where our performances will be streamed, as well as featuring students monthly using this Acapella app that has got our students harmonizing in all sorts of different ways,” she said.


Fun Things to Do While in Quarantine at Home

  1. Document your feelings in a Quarantine Journal.
  2. Meditate.
  3. Learn a new hobby. (Ex. painting, knitting, embroidery, etc.)
  4. Reach out to friends.
  5. Discover new movies and tv shows on Netflix.