Fall semester has arrived and the world is still, well, a mess. Despite all of our hopes, we’re spending the next few months learning from home, and it comes with a new set of unique challenges. Whether you’re feeling burnt-out a week in, or struggling to stay awake on zoom, I’ve got you covered. With seven months of practice and the internet’s support, I’ve compiled some of the most effective tips to working remotely, even from the comfort of your bed.
CREATING A WORKSPACE
Believe it or not, having a physical workspace can be a major part of working productively. While home is comfortable, it’s often filled with distractions that hinder our workflow. A simple, yet life-changing tip is to designate a specific place at home to learn and work. Designing and decorating could even be a fun weekend project. Now, this may not be possible for everyone. I offer a relatively cheap and portable solution- a laptop desk! They’re small, compact, but still, create the illusion of a workspace from bed.
STICKING TO A SCHEDULE
Quarantine forced us all to find a new normal, but have you reinvented your routine? Having a daily schedule can help you be more consistent and grounded in your work. This could be as simple as waking up and going to sleep at the same time. This tip is also easy to implement because all it requires is adding on to the class schedule you already have! Part of sticking to your schedule is also making sure you’re working for the entire session you planned. For working outside of class time it’s helpful to put your phone in another room with an alarm set for when you’re done. If you really need to, you could even schedule downtime in some phone’s settings. Working with headphones can also be helpful for tuning out distractions and getting into your workflow.
COMMUNICATE WITH FAMILY
Everyone’s situation is different right now, and a lot of us are trying to figure out how to learn in a busy household. It can be frustrating to have people coming in and out of your workspace, so it’s important to create boundaries. Share your schedule with your family, and try to compromise on quiet time for everyone. Making your family a part of your schedule-building process could also be beneficial.
PRIORITIZE YOUR WORK
In the past I usually chose to begin working with the assignments I found easiest. While this was a less stressful approach, it will feel much more rewarding to tackle your most difficult task first. As daunting as that research paper or textbook reading may seem, you’ll feel both accomplished and confident in handling the rest of your workload.
TAKING PRODUCTIVE BREAKS
As much as I’d love to scroll on TikTok for an hour in between classes, it’s not helping me. Taking breaks is an important step in your routine to protect yourself from burnout. However, they don’t last forever, and eventually, we’ll have to get back to work. The easy way to relax in between learning, but keep the mind sharp is to find an engaging hobby or activity. Whether it be exercising, reading, or drawing, the most important part is that it requires active thought. Using this tip, you’ll ensure that you have some enjoyable time off while still prepared to jump back into learning.
Quarantine can be quite the isolating experience, but believe it or not, we’re all going through it. Sharing your experiences and connecting with new people can prove to be pretty helpful. Not only will you have someone to hold you accountable, but a friend to ask in the case online learning gets confusing. Working with a group of classmates can also make things faster while creating space for better ideas.
If you need some extra resources there are plenty of youtube channels that focus on productivity. Some of my favorites are Lavendaire, Muchelleb, and this video by BestDressed. I hope these tips were helpful, and that you see some improvement as you work through the next semester!