Do’s & Don’ts of Studying from Home
Okay, so you’ve had a few weeks of getting into the swing of the “new norm” thanks COVID-19. But are you really helping yourself when it comes to studying?
Our Brand & Marketing Manager is no stranger to working from “home”. In fact, she’s found herself travelling and working from all around the globe and has come to appreciate that sometimes, work is where the laptop is. We asked her to sit down and hammer out some key tips on how she remains productive without leaving her front door, no matter if you’re new to online study, or an old hand – there are some takeaways for everyone.
Keep in contact
Just because you’re working away from your normal study space – doesn’t mean you’re all alone, I encourage you to speak regularly with your classmates and lecturers! UNE uses lots of tools to keep us in the loop, Microsoft Teams, Moodle, Zoom and social media.
Seriously, staying in your pyjamas all day certainly won’t help with your productivity. Whilst dressing up in your usual day to day gear might be a bit OTT at the moment, making the effort to get up on time, shower, brush your teeth, hair, and putting something presentable on can help you kick start the day with a little structure!
Plus… it’s pretty embarrassing being caught out on a team Zoom meeting if you’re in your PJs!
Set some structure
Setting scheduled study time for each day can help you focus and achieve bigger goals, we suggest sitting down for 45 min intervals followed by a little break – basically, this means you’re setting an easy goal which helps increase motivation. Setting out some timelines will also help your memory as cramming is not beneficial for producing long-term memory. Sara wrote an awesome blog a few weeks ago with a few handy apps that can help you keep set this structure!
Make sure you’ve got what you need
You’ll know what this is, it’s pretty much what you’d need for your regular study – a laptop, your textbooks and references, pens, and paper if you take notes and an internet connection and anything else practical that will help you understand your course.
I find I focus better when I’ve got a decent desk and chair, as well as a clean workspace with little distractions!
Oh, and make sure all of your programs and apps are up to date, there’s nothing worse than having to update something just when you’ve got into the swing of things! I always like to get a tea or coffee before I start, have my water bottle close by – this stops me from getting up to procrastinate!
Sort out your study space
Over the next few weeks and months, you’ll find yourself working from home a fair bit. Try and make your study space as comfortable as possible – it will help you stay sane! Make sure you’ve got everything you need, keep it clean and organised – clutter and mess can lead to procrastination and frustration when you’re under the pump, so keep yourself organised.
Don’t study from your couch or bed – no matter how tempting it may be. No matter your age, this will cause back problems, or make it really tempting to go back to sleep or slack off, which is really not helpful when you’re trying to get something done!
I know this can be hard sometimes, especially when you’re juggling lots of things. I’m a bit of an organisation freak – I make lots of lists, (in kanban style lists on Asana and on paper) to me, it’s pretty gratifying marking things off the list, and means I stay on track!
I listen to a mix of chilled and upbeat music whilst I’m working depending on what I’m working on, I also get up and do a little jig, a silly shimmy or a few quick stretches – this can help by getting rid of all the agitation, and let me get back to my work.
I also always have a diffuser with essential oils close by too – I find citrus oils make me focus better!
Don’t snack all day
Trust me, I know it’s easy, and I’m a sucker for a snack or two (or seventeen) but it’s just an excuse to procrastinate. One way of eliminating snack-tation is to buy only healthy food – after all, if it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it, right? Eating lots of junk food can also make you lethargic – which is never going to help with daily study! I usually have a little container of nuts on my desk and I drink lots of water!
Switch the TV off
Whilst ambient noise can help you study… this doesn’t really extend to your favourite Netflix or Stan series – keep the TV as a treat for after you’ve kicked today’s study goals! Instead, opt for the radio or an easy-listening playlist on Soundcloud, Spotify, or YouTube.
Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks is really important and it can help keep you focused for a longer period of time. Whilst also giving you a few moments to think about how you’re sitting, to rest your eyes and to let your brain catch up – perhaps it can help you look at your work a little more subjectively! Remember, a break is just a break… it’s not a “stop”!
It’s really good to take a step back from what you’re doing every now and then, this can help you reassess what you’re actually trying to do or answer. I find having a few creative outlets helps this! I like to get lost in my Instagram feed, draw, paint or to participate in creative competitions from time to time. It means when I come back to my work I can look at it with fresh eyes – and trust me, this often changes which direction I’ve been taking!
Whilst you might not be able to use all of these tricks every day, its good to have some of these things at the back of your mind.