Studying at home has become the new reality for many students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst at first it seemed convenient, home-study definitely presents some challenges. There are distractions everywhere; laundry to fold, dishes to wash, not to mention the temptation to start a new series on Netflix! However, with a little planning and organization, your apartment can be an effective (and comfortable) place to study.
Here are our top tips to be the most productive when studying at home.
1. Have a shower and get dressed.
This signifies that you have moved from your relaxation state to your productive state. It gets your body ready for the day and gives you a sense of purpose. Studying in your jammies is never a good idea.
2. Write a schedule for the day (or the week).
Sticking to a schedule helps create a sense of normalcy that keeps you focused. Try to set micro-goals for each day, and be sure to check them off at the end to give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
3. Pick a spot.
Try to confine your studying area to one specific space in your home. In an ideal world, you have a desk in a separate room, but alternatively, you can convert a dinner or side table into a workspace for a portion of the day. Your study space should be free of distractions, quiet, and with minimal foot traffic.
4. Try to block out any excess noise.
You don’t want to be disturbed by dogs barking, the neighbor’s lawnmower, or loud housemates – so block them out by using good headphones or earplugs. If you can, try listening to calming music such as raindrops, the ocean, or whalesong to keep your brain calm and in study mode.
5. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb.
Avoid the temptation to check the news or social media every hour. Save checking your phone for your designated break times.
6. Take consistent breaks.
Try to leave your workspace when you take designated breaks – avoid sitting and scrolling on your phone at your study spot. Stand-up, stretch your legs, make tea or coffee, or even pop outside for a short walk.
7. Set boundaries.
If you have housemates, be sure to establish firm boundaries with them by letting them know that when you’re studying at home, you shouldn’t be disturbed for any reason (barring major catastrophe). Try to sync your study hours with the quietest part of the day for the whole house.
8. Pack Up.
Once you’ve finished your day of studying at home, put away your devices as if you were putting away cooking utensils after making dinner. By keeping study reminders out of sight, you will be able to switch off and relax better during your downtime. You don’t need a constant reminder of what studying there still is to do.
9. Get a good night’s sleep!
Information retention and our ability to concentrate improve greatly when we are properly rested. Get those 8 hours in!