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One thing that I noticed during coronavirus lockdown is the sheer number of commercialised ’30-day challenges’ that I have seen advertised. They aim to increase your motivation and use your extra time to achieve something or learn a new skill during isolation. However, it can have the opposite effect and decrease your productivity and motivation.

I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t checked some of these challenges out myself and even downloaded some ‘trending’ apps (I thoroughly recommend Couch to 5K but make sure you download the free BBC one). I’ve noticed it’s very easy to get sucked into the first week or so of the challenge before eventually drifting off and losing interest. Consequently, your mental health begins to suffer because giving up feels like failure; you may have lost money if you chose to pay for this challenge; and, you will also have lost the motivation that the daily prompts used to give you. Ultimately, this means that sometimes starting an online challenge can be hard to keep track of and eventually leads to more negative than positive results.

Be Productive Your Way

After doing some research; looking back on my own experience; and, watching a LOT of YouTube productivity videos, I decided to create my own, more personalised, challenge. I knew that at the end of May I would have finished my exam season for my second year. My immediate panicked reaction to this was ‘what next?’ There has been so much uncertainty surrounding travel in general so, seeing as I am due to start my year abroad in Italy in September, my anxieties skyrocketed at my sudden lack of direction. I, therefore, decided to write a list (I know… SO original right?) of all the small things that I wanted to accomplish during lockdown.

It turned out like this, a list of 30 tasks ranging from recreation to admin:

  1. Sort through bedroom bookshelf
  2. Research and register on an online course
  3. Learn an SRT (Single Rope Technique) knot, useful for caving
  4. Research a credit card
  5. Make pasta
  6. Go on a bike ride
  7. Do a jigsaw
  8. Make something
  9. Learn how to play snooker then play
  10. Learn a new piano piece
  11. Pick up the saxophone
  12. Learn how to cast on/off in knitting
  13. Climb a tree
  14. Organise photos
  15. Learn to edit
  16. Declutter social media
  17. Email admin
  18. Plan my July bullet journal pages
  19. Catch up on The StudyTube Project vlogs
  20. Begin planning my scrapbooks
  21. Write a list of potential videos/blog posts
  22. Binge read ‘The life-changing magic of tidying’ by Marie Kondo and create an action plan
  23. Call a friend
  24. Call a family member
  25. Binge read the Reiki I and II manual and study the chakras
  26. Talk in Italian to Mum the WHOLE day
  27. Digital folder admin (computers/phone)
  28. Paper filing
  29. Sort through and organise the tech drawer
  30. Learn to draw something

I then used this list of tasks as the basis for my challenge which I will explain below.

Jemma’s June Isolation Motivation Challenge

Here’s my suggested approach for you to create your own list of things you wish to accomplish:

  1. Spend some time today to create a list of ‘doable’ actions that you want to achieve in lockdown – these can be household or admin tasks that you’ve been meaning to get around to for ages or something as simple as calling a friend or family member to break up the feeling of Groundhog Day. Make sure that these ‘to-dos’ are flexible and can be done on any day.
  2. Narrow down the list based on priority or preference or, if you don’t have enough, split up bigger tasks to make the goals more specific or check out Ruby Granger’s YouTube video: 50 things to do at home in lockdown for some inspiration.
  3. Find some creative way to randomise your list: a. Number the actions 1-30 and use a random number generator. b. Print out the list or write it on a piece of paper that you then tear/cut up and put in a hat/bowl/jar. c. Why not be creative and make it arty? See if you can find some lollypop sticks and write each action on a different colour. Whatever works for you.
  4. At the start of each day in June, select a goal from your list. This is then your priority ‘to-do’ for the day. This DOES NOT mean you ONLY have to do this activity, but it DOES mean that if you complete it you will have accomplished something and made the day different.

I used a random number generator for my ‘isolation motivation’ prompt today and got 17) email admin. My plan is to weekly vlog myself taking on this challenge, so I have a record of how much I have achieved at the end of the month.

Remember that you can join in at any time and adjust the number of ‘actions’ depending on the length of time you want to spend on this. You don’t have to use every day of the week if you’re particularly busy due to work or volunteering – this challenge is completely flexible! You may even start it part-way through the month or next. If you would like to share your own motivation challenges or productivity tips please do and use #IsolationMotivation in your post and tag No5 Young People.

Thank you for reading – I will keep you updated on my No5 Instagram account, so please follow @no5ya_jemma and No5 Young People on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts too!

Stay safe and good luck with ticking off your challenges!

Jemma
No5 Young Ambassador

p.s. If you want another blog post about how I reviewed my goal setting habits and created an action play for the summer then please leave a comment below or send me a direct message via the Instagram account above.