Aside from the technical difficulties in accessing zoom lectures and online videos, it is incredibly hard to stay motivated while working from home. Home has always been the place where we come back to rest, unwind, and forget about daily troubles. Therefore, it’s easy to see how our daily moods, traditions, and routines suggest that home isn’t the best place to get work done.
But what happens if we want, and need, to turn our home into a classroom? What if we need to find the motivation within ourselves to be studious and create a space for learning especially in a space we never had to before? Here are a few strategies in which you can pursue your academic and professional goals meanwhile keeping your home feel homey and comfortable.
1. Create a learning environment
Study space is everything. Having a designated space at home that is well lit, comfortable, and organized is paramount in setting the tone for studying. Don’t do your work from the bed, kitchen table, or living room since these are places where you normally relax and unwind.
Instead, you should invest in a space that invokes an urge to study. A clean, minimalist desk paired with a well-lit lamp and comfortable chair are just what you need to make that happen. I recommend a bright LED light since a softer one can make you sleepy, and an ergonomic chair with back support especially if you will be watching lectures and doing homework (you’ll be sitting a lot, so invest in it!). There are some perks to being at home; you could light a candle, get a neck/back/ or feet massager, and heating cup so you can work with ease in a relaxing atmosphere. Remember that comfort is conducive to studying, but distractions are not, so its essentials to create a space for yourself that elicits scholarship.
2. Invest the time you saved
Do you have classes in the morning at certain times? Chances are you have a shorter commute to school now, but that doesn’t mean you have to get up later than you did before classes went online (though chances are, if you’re like me, you will get up just right before your first lecture). If you are still a morning riser though, I would encourage you use the time you saved from commuting and reinvest that into preparing for class.
How about the times between your classes? If you weren’t doing classes at home, chances are you probably would have stayed on campus or sat down between class to get some work done. This doesn’t have to change now that you’re at home. Resist the urge to crawl back into bed by making your bed, and set a rule for yourself that time in between classes are still sanctioned “school time.” That way you can easily transition from your normal academic schedule to an at-home academic schedule.
3. Maintain a study schedule and group
Physical distance doesn’t mean social distance. Reviewing and rehearsing with others are great ways to consolidate the material. You can host FaceTime or Zoom video study sessions with others to motivate each other. It’s essentially like a virtual library, where you can mute yourselves meanwhile keeping the video on. You can periodically check on each other, which can make studying social while keeping you accountable.
One popular scheduling method is called the Pomodoro technique, a technique scientifically shown to help people study efficiently. The Pomodoro technique consists of four intervals of 25 minutes of studying with 5 minutes in between with a 30 minute break afterwards: (https://learningcommons.ubc.ca/the-pomodoro-technique-study-more-efficiently-take-more-breaks/). If organizing times to study with others is difficult, you can also follow this YouTube video that prompts you to follow a schedule: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z36D5dTfgAM). Whatever schedule you do follow, it’s important to know when to stop and give yourself a break from working; if leaving school previously signified that it was time to unwind, now you should set a point in the day when you plan to stop working (after dinner or 5 pm).
4. Multitask when you can
Lastly, multitask where you can. What’s good about being at home is that you have everything in one place including food, drinks, textbooks, notebooks and more without having to move more than 15 feet. This closeness can be an opportunity, as it allows you to do what you need while you attend to what’s online. Is there an online Zoom meeting that you have to be present for but not participate in? You could plan to eat or fold your laundry as you’re sitting in the meeting which can save you some time for one-on-one studying. The beauty of Zoom and working from home is that you can be mentally present while also doing something else.
These are just a few tips and strategies when facing the task of studying and learning from home. Remember that studying from home is a great privilege, but with it comes even more responsibility. Please reach out to Cambridge Coaching if you would like the help of a professional coach to help you create a study schedule and stay on track with your academic goals.
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Adjusting to online learning and want to read about some other helpful tips and tricks? See below!