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Studying from home: how to maximise productivity

With the majority of students now studying from home, lectures online, a, cancellation of fresher events and lack of support, University students are amongst those who have been hit the hardest during the current global pandemic. Quality of education and mental wellbeing is rapidly declining. However, with the right resources and assistance, this can be improved.

Exploring your surroundings and interacting with others is what fuels creativity and motivation to succeed. Without this, it can be easy to feel down and demotivated. But, there are ways you can boost motivation and maximise productivity when studying from home.

Create a workspace

Studying from home

Before you do anything or even attempt to begin studying from home, ensure you have a quiet, clear workspace to study from. Under any circumstances, do not work from your bed, this will only make you feel tired and therefore less productive. Create a separate workspace, away from where you conduct other activities to allow full focus and minimise distraction. If you are living in halls or a student house, it may be difficult to find an alternative space. In this case, your bedroom will suffice, but, try to keep a separation between study and relaxation. Face your desk looking outwards by a window or set up a bright lamp to keep you alert and optimise your studying from home.

Get dressed

When not having to leave the house, it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day. However, this will not make you feel productive and could create a negative cycle regarding your personal hygiene. Wake up, shower and get changed into something comfortable yet put together. Doing this each day will create some sort of routine and kick-start your day of study. This will also ensure you are well presented, ready for any zoom meetings or video lectures you have that day.

Write a schedule

At a time in which routine has been disrupted, writing a schedule will ensure you stay on track when studying from at home. With all your study now online, you are likely to have video lectures, seminars or zoom meetings throughout the week. Start your schedule by inputting the times and dates of all your online study. You can then plan in other tasks around this, from recommended readings to essay writing or exam revision. Sticking to this should keep you on track, increase productivity and give you a sense of achievement as you tick off tasks throughout the day.

TOP TIP: add non-study activities into your schedule as a reminder to take a break and recharge.  

Take regular breaks

It may be obvious but taking regular breaks is crucial to maintaining productivity when studying at home. Making a cup of tea and returning to your desk may feel like somewhat of a break, however, it will benefit you much more to take a solid 15-20 minutes away from your computer.

  • Take a break every 50-90 minutes – increases your overall productivity and you will achieve more.
  • Come away from your screen – make a snack, go for a short walk or read a book.
  • Set an alarm – implement discipline to ensure your break doesn’t overrun.

Get outside

If you are able to and not in isolation…get outside (check guidelines if you are unsure). This is essential for your mental wellbeing. Being amongst nature, breathing in fresh air and moving your body will clear and reset your mind, preparing you for your next task.

Aim to go for a walk every day, morning, noon or evening depending on what works best for you. This will maintain a sense of normality and increase your overall productivity when studying from home.

Communicate with others     

Keeping in touch with the outside world is essential during this time, in a personal and professional capacity. Catching up with friends and video calling family members will help boost morale and feel closer to home when away at University. On the other hand, checking in with course mates and emailing lecturers will keep you present in your studies and allow you to discuss ideas with others. It is important not to lose touch with the people around you when learning at home and maintain human interaction at a time when it is limited.

Useful resources when studying from home

Understandably, this is an extremely tough time for many. Being a student is especially hard and it may be difficult to come to terms with the new normal. If you are really struggling, there are external resources available to support you. Your university will likely have their own helpline or wellbeing centre for you to contact for extra support, check out their main website to find these details. Alternatively, see below other resources that may be of benefit to you;

https://studentspace.org.uk/

https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/information-schools-colleges-and-universities/covid-19-resources-students

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-students-from-england-wales-and-northern-ireland

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