We are weeks into our COVID-19 lockdown and working from home is a new reality that is likely to continue for a while. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to set up your space for a productive study environment. We know we cannot take for granted that students have their own bedrooms, unlimited access to the internet or a steady supply of uninterrupted electricity. Still, we hope that the tips below can help you create an environment for yourself where you can learn and continue to prioritize your education.
Dedicated Work Space
Step one, set up a space or surface for yourself where you can comfortably have your books, notes, stationery and computer/tablet/laptop. Try to keep the work surface clear of clutter and distractions, so that you can focus on your study materials. A desk or table is ideal. If there is no free table, you can use a counter surface in the kitchen. If you do not have access to any of these you can work with a make-shift lap tray: sit on your bed using the wall as back support, put a cushion and tray on your out-stretched or crossed legs and use that as a surface for writing and typing.
Make sure that where you are working is comfortable. You should have enough light so that you do not strain your eyes. Sit in a position that does not cause pain and discomfort to your neck and back – good posture is vital. If the noises from outside are not too distracting open the window for good ventilation so that you can stay awake and alert. If your house has the space, set yourself up in an area where there won’t be too many disruptions and where you can spend blocks of time without getting interrupted. Comfort can also mean that you have something pleasant to look at, if you are spending 6-8 hours a day in your work corner, put up some inspiring images and phrases on the walls around you.
Stock Up On Stationary
Simple as this may seem, having the right supporting resources is an easy thing to overlook. Try to get the necessary stationery, and make sure they are within easy reach of your work area. Put them out on your desk or lay them next to you on your bed if you are working with a lap tray. The basics, depending on the subjects and whether or not you have an electronic device, are a pen or pencil and paper or a notebook. If you have an electronic device you can make and store your notes on it and even create voice notes to playback to yourself for easy revision. Also, refer to the post about free online learning tools during COVID-19 lockdown for additional tools available to make studying at home easier.
We’ve heard this everywhere and every day, but that’s because having a structure and timetable for your day is that important. According to your learning speed, identify how many hours you need in a day to get through your subjects. Setting up your workspace will be informed by this need as you will then know how long you’ll need a work area for, whether you’ll need to move around to accommodate the other people in your house, etc. Organize your day into blocks of 30-45 minutes. The human brain needs short breaks between periods of intense concentration, in order to remain focused. Factor in multiple 5 minute pauses to walk around, drink water and even do some simple exercises to keep your body energized, and have 2 long breaks for meals and recreation.
Stay Connected With Peers
Finally, even though we are operating in a distance learning model, having contact with other learners in your year is helpful to remain on track. You can set up study groups with classmates on a social media platform that works for you – see our post on digital platforms for better online learning for more ideas. Having a study group keeps you accountable, you can share resources and if you are struggling someone in the group can help or motivate you.
All the best with making studying work from home! Let us know in the comments section how you’ve been managing so far.