As the school year begins it looks different than usual for many of us. Some of us are back at campus with guidelines and procedures in place to keep us safe, others are at home whether we like it or not. I know that I struggled immensely to study and find my focus at home when my school went online last semester, but after finding a rhythm and using some tricks I found. Here are the ways you can survive your semester at home:
Have a designated or separate study space
Don’t study in bed, or even in your bedroom if you can help it. Find a separate space that is only to be used for your schoolwork. Set it up in a way that is cohesive for you and make it your space.
Get a planner or organizer
Whether it’s a traditional planner, a desk calendar, or a whiteboard. Use these to stay on task of due dates and to be able to stay on top of your email because I know that we are all drowning in them.
Set up a schedule or Make a To-Do List
Besides classes that might require your attendance via zoom or Webex set up a schedule. Make it as consistent as possible. This will help to keep you on task. Don’t be afraid to make the schedule to your productivity either. I know that I am more productive after dinner or between 7 pm and midnight. So I try to do things that aren’t school-based, like clean and workout before that time to maximize my focus.
If a schedule won’t work for you for one reason or another make a to-do list instead. Write up your assignments or readings due for the day or the next and work through them. Along with making a to-do list set reminders so you don’t forget anything.
Set a timer or alarms for tasks
Using a timer is a great focus tool. By setting a limit on a task you could get lost in or distracted during you are adding a limitation or motivation to get the task done. The reinforcement of time management is a great way to stay on task and in your schoolwork.
Speaking of distractions... TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!
if you can avoid even bringing it to your study area or space do so. Limit your distractions as much as possible and even if you don’t want to admit it, your phone is on some level a distraction.
Part of scheduling and timers is to make sure you reward yourself. At a recent therapy appointment, I spoke to my therapist about the fact that I felt I was drowning in my school work and it was only the first week. She reminded me that I need to be proud when I accomplished even the smallest of tasks like putting away my clean clothes. Following that logic when I got home I found and ordered my textbooks and rewarded myself by turning on my phone and watching a couple of Tik Toks.
Don’t make breaks a reward. After you finish a class go get a snack, refill your water, and stretch. Make sure you don’t go hours on hours straight just studying and doing school work. Take a lunch and snack break, watch a 30-minute episode of your favorite show, or listen to some music. Pushing and expecting yourself to be productive your whole day is unrealistic and setting up for failure.
This school year is going to be hard and stressful, we as a class just need to face that fact, but that doesn’t mean we give up. We as students can do this. If you have other tips leave them in the comments!