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Studying from home
As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc across the globe, many educational institutions, including universities where students live in close quarters, have been closed to curb the spread of the virus.
However, this does not mean that you have to bid goodbye to your studies. During this time of crisis, studying at home is the only choice.
Home studying does have its pitfalls. It is easy to get distracted, lose motivation, or lose focus.
While it may not be easy to regulate, there are some ways to do so. Below is a comprehensive guide on how you can study effectively at home.
Create a Space
To avoid getting distracted or losing focus while studying at home, you should set up a dedicated space. Your space must be distraction-free and quiet.
This is critical as sometimes the world seems to conspire to bombard you with numerous trifles.
When it comes to studying, you will be most productive in a quiet spot. There are studies that support this. A noisy and active environment can disrupt your ability to think clearly and retain information.
So yes, having things constantly happening in the background while you study won’t do you any good.
Secondly, your dedicated spot should be comfortable. Invest in an ergonomic chair that will provide sufficient back support and a desk that suits you.
You can even go for the standing desk- It can save your back if you are hunched over for extended periods.
Thirdly, your space should be organized. It’s not okay being in an area that resembles a scene after a concert. Every item around you must be organized and easy to find.
Some people like to have things scattered around for that “creative mind” feel, but this may ultimately steer you off-track.
Keep pens together, file papers in appropriate folders, and place study cards in the proper stacks.
Finally, create and stick to rules that come into effect within your environment. This will help you make the most of your time.
The rules can include; no smartphones, no browsing social media, or checking emails, and no snacking at non-designated times.
You can even place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. It may sound silly, but it helps instill discipline and create the freedom you need to perform effectively.
Formulate a Timetable
A timetable or schedule can be a handy tool and will help you take control of your time. Such formatting can offer perspective on the things that you have to accomplish and the time you have for them.
If you looking to stay motivated and get organized in order to get things done at home, try and put together a personalized timetable.
The first step is making a list of your responsibilities. You have to jot down all your obligations so that you can properly factor them within your timeline.
Thinking about them in advance before filling in your schedule will make the process much easier.
Consider your job, chores, exercise, and everything else you do regularly during the day.
Afterwards, think about the best time for you to hit the books. Are you a morning person or are you a night owl? Schedule your time during your peak hours for maximum productivity.
Decide on the format of your timetable. You can use a digital format, such as an app or a spreadsheet, or simply write it in your notebook. You may even go the online way.
A well-reviewed online program is ‘My Study Life’.
It has a web interface and an app to help you create and keep to a timetable.
Engage Your Lecturers and Tutors
You may not be able to have physical contact with your lecturers or tutors during normal office hours, but ensure that you get in touch with them often.
Send out an email every few days in a week to make sure you are well updated on any new advancement in your courses.
In addition, in case you might be feeling stressed or anxious, getting in touch with your lecturers may help you alleviate concerns you may have.
Contacting your seminar leaders ensures that you access updated reading resources.
You will also know the correct places to search for the lecture notes/slides.
Be sure to talk to them in case you have any issues regarding your learning, though patience is important when waiting for a response.
Your lecturers and tutors are currently under enormous pressure to formulate lectures for online delivery, so it’s good to give them some time for a response.
Make Use of Group Chats
Nearly every curriculum features teamwork at some point as a component- since that’s how you function in the real world.
Having a team while you are at home provides a sense of accountability and produces timelier and better deliverables.
The good news is that there are a number of online tools such as Zoom or Skype that you can utilize to help with studying as a team.
You can download them for free and coordinate video chats with your intellectual groups. Use these online resources to set up groups with your course or school mates.
You can spend your time discussing ideas, swapping tips, or analyzing texts together.
Using online tools is a great way to keep in touch with your fellow students, and ensure you maintain that collaborative aspect of your course.
In addition, it helps to introduce some form of social contact so that you don’t end up feeling isolated.
One great tip is to make sure that you plan ahead with your mates. Decide on what you will be doing beforehand and ensure that you stick to the topic. Proper planning will help keep the discussions productive.
You will find that it’s quite easy to end up talking about other things if you don’t formulate a plan.
Leverage Downloadable Resources
An upside to the COVID-19 pandemic is that people are creating useful content and availing it online despite the quarantines.
Many individuals around the globe are finding time to share skills and information with others to stay busy.
This means that even if you haven’t signed up for an online course, you can still study on your own time. If you are more of an auditory learner, you can download podcasts and lectures.
They are also great choices if you want to multitask. You can do some house chores while getting some knowledge.
New recordings are being updated regularly, and you can find a huge variety of topics. You can also download PDFs and PowerPoint presentations on topics relevant to your course.
Build up a digital library of your own that you can easily access each day during your routine.
Taking breaks is commonplace advice but will be more essential than ever if you are doing studies at home. You do not have to go with 9-to-5 schedules if they don’t work well for you.
Identify your most productive hours and center your efforts on that.
Having regular breaks will keep your mind refreshed and will keep you from getting burnt out.
You may think that since you have all the time in the world, going for longer will be more effective. This isn’t the case. Most experts recommend that you study for 45 minutes each hour, and take a 15-minute break.
However, everybody is different. Experiment on what works best for you.
A good tip would be to block your focus times. Aim for sufficiently long engagement blocks, such as two to four hours at a time with the 15-minute breaks in between.
Doing this will ensure you get in the groove, helping you to be more productive and avoiding stress at the same time.
Inform Your Family
If you live with your family or other people, it is advisable to inform them about where and when you will be undertaking your studies.
This way, they will know beforehand not to distract you or keep you from getting your work done.
It might seem like a minor thing, but small interruptions from housemates can mess up your groove and drain your motivation to work at home.
Also, it is important to reward yourself after each productive period. Self-rewarding is a great tool to keep you motivated. There are many ways that you can reward yourself.
You can take a nap, have a snack, browse social media (get in touch with your friends), listen to some music, or watch part of a movie.
Eating properly is very important if you want to perform well. Your brain and body require a lot of fuel to be able to function optimally. It will be difficult for you to focus on a hungry stomach.
Have some healthy snacks at designated intervals while you are going through your books. Make sure that you prepare the snacks in advance. You don’t want to interrupt your efforts to go prepare a meal.
More time away from your desk means more opportunities to get distracted.
All in all, as uncertainty still looms over the pandemic, you don’t have to put your career goals on hold. Give some of these tips above a try and watch how your home studies benefit.
The trick lies in creating the right environment, staying organized, managing time, and keeping in touch with your peers and teachers.
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Stay safe and see you next time,
The QuestionBank Family