By William K Tendo, EdTech Lab Lead
Staying home is the new normal, and even though many are struggling to cope, it is a good and necessary evil to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, so our medical workers and facilities do not get overwhelmed by new cases and can contain the ones we have. I know, isolation can breed boredom and for someone who is usually up and about trying to further their career or push their products, this can get stressful. At the Edtech Lab, we have come up with a few ways we can alleviate this situation, with helpful insights to maintain your productivity. Here is a list of 5 ways you can remain productive at home during this lockdown:
1. Learn a language
If this has been on your to-do list and is a common occurrence on your “New year’s resolutions” it’s high time you acted on it. There are lots of language learning apps for IOS and Android like Babbel, Duolingo, Memrise, Busuu & AccelaStudy. All the above are good but I highly recommend Duolingo for this. The app is free and about 14 MB’s to install and has upwards of 30 language tutorials on it including Swahili and Mandarin.
It combines video, audio, and literacy learning to create 5-30 minute daily fun lessons to help you master the language you want to learn. This is a good way to spend your time and you end up with a skill that might come in handy sometime. Personally started Mandarin and do it for 15 minutes a day and it’s going quite well.
Staying cramped up in your apartment or home with little or no outside engagement can be bad for your fitness levels and general health. Luckily for us, YouTube has a few personal trainer channels that can get you through 15 minute Cardio workouts that don’t need gym equipment and are convenient for small spaces, while still provide you the burn you need to reach your fitness goals. Here’s a list of my 4 best channels for this; Then, EmyWong , Class Fit Sugar & Fitness Blender.com
Now don’t procrastinate, get right on it and have a designated work out time. It’s only 15 minutes of your day.
3. Structure your day then your quarter.
This sudden unplanned surge of “Free time” can leave you behind on your goals if you treat it as such and decide to binge Netflix, catch up on social media or Google COVID-19 news and updates all day. I advise you to keep your routine going like you were still at work or school. Wake up at the same time you were waking up before, and have a daily plan with a goal at the end of the day.
It would help to also plan your free time to avoid the spiraling that comes with the temptations of being at home, social media, streaming services, videogames, proximity to your bed and the lax atmosphere home, in general, is supposed to give you. Remember your targets, deliverables are not going anywhere so try your best not to lag behind and avoid the work overload you’d have after the crisis.
4. Research your field
This is a good time to become an expert in your field. Luckily for our generation, the entire world’s information is literally in the palm of your hands. Benchmark experts in your field, read reports and articles pertaining to what you do, ‘YouTube’ ways to make your product/service better, if you’re at the University, lookup that module that has been giving you a hard time. Michael Jordan became the best basketball player of his generation by practicing harder during the offseason so he could stay ahead of his competition. Personally I’m using this time to read up on UNICEF’s “Raising Learning Outcomes: The opportunities and challenges of ICT for learning”, “Global Teacher Status 2018”, “Mapping Edtech in Uganda 2018 & 2019”, “Reality Check Employment, Entrepreneurship and education in Uganda”, watching Y-combinator, to name but a few…
All these are over 50 pages and with my daily activities at The Village, I would have to shelf them for a weekend or after work reading, but now with this time I’ve made huge strides covering the content, gotten more expertise in my field, understood the current state of education in Uganda better, I have the statistics and facts to back up my opinions and I’ve gotten ideas for the Edtech lab that will be implemented when the crisis calms down. In summary use this time to become more of a professional in what you do by putting in the research, in this “free time.”
5. Build and engage your network
This is the best time to start growing a database of people in your field that you would want to do business with. A simple Google, Twitter and Facebook search can come up with a barrage of information that you can use to grow your database. Things Like organizing your business cards, phone and diary contacts and feeding them into a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool like Podio or Hub spot to know your engagement level, possible dates for appointments are key during this period. You can also call and check up on these networks sees how they are doing during the crisis, and schedule appointments for after the crisis or now using tools like Zoom and Skype.
In conclusion, use this time effectively because it’s time you’ll never get back. Let’s gets out of this crisis better, stronger and smarter. Remember to stay safe by washing your hands regularly, avoid touching your face particularly “soft parts” (eyes, mouth, nose), practice social distancing and stay home unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. Prevention is the best cure. Have a great day!