Master the art of staying motivated while staying home – if you’re looking for ways to make sure you stay on your A-Game while at home, read on.
You finally sit down and open your textbook with full intention of getting some work done, you’re actually getting in the zone, and then… your phone goes off.
Eliminating distractions can sometimes be difficult when studying at home as opposed to being at school. However, it is possible with some willpower and creativity.
First things first, make sure those notifications are turned off. If you’re worried about missing an important call, play around with your settings to allow calls only, but silence all other notifications (not on vibrate – on silent).
If finding a quiet place to work at home is difficult, consider wearing headphones with music playing – everyone’s brain is different, so find a playlist that works for you. Noise cancelling headphones are another option, if you’re someone who needs complete silence to focus.
If you don’t have a separate room to work in, try positioning yourself so that you’re facing away from everyone else in your household, maybe facing towards a wall or window (one with a non-distracting view).
Plan Out Your Day
We’ve all had the experience of waking up in the morning with so many things to do that we avoid doing anything altogether as a result. This can be avoided by planning out your day the night before or even first thing in the morning. Write out all that you’d like to accomplish along with an estimate of how long each task will take to accomplish and order them in a way that will keep the day interesting.
Some people may prefer to focus on doing work for one class for hours at a time, while others may like to switch back and forth.
Remember to also allow time for breaks on a regular basis, don’t expect yourself to stay focused on one task for too long – which brings us to our next point.
Set Small, Attainable Goals for Yourself
Seeing the words “Read pg. 20-120” on your to-do list may feel so daunting that sitting down to actually do the reading may become the very last thing you get around to accomplishing.
Instead of expecting yourself to do the entire reading all at once, break it into smaller sections. Even if you still plan on reading all of those small sections in one day, checking off 5-10 pages at a time from your to-do list will allow you to visually notice the progress that you’re making and help motivate you to keep going.
Create a Positive & Healthy Workspace
Making sure you feel good in your workspace is key. The way you arrange your workspace will be up to personal preference, but a good place to start is making sure that it’s clean and clutter free, and that you have water nearby to keep yourself hydrated.
Once you have the basics down, the next step is doing what you can to make sure you’re taking care of your body. This means raising your laptop to eye level to avoid straining your neck and making sure you have enough space for your arms to be supported while typing. Check out this link for more information on ergonomic workstations.
Stick to Your Morning Routine
While it may be tempting to roll out of bed and start working in your PJs, doing this in the long run could start to make you feel like you have no separation between downtime and productivity.
This doesn’t mean you need to put on the same jeans you’d wear to school and be uncomfortable in your own home. Try finding a balance between the two, like wearing loungewear on the bottom and a nicer shirt on top – maybe something like leggings with a blouse, or joggers with a nice long sleeve.
Treat every morning the same as you would if you were going out, while opting for more comfortable options and switching sneakers for slippers.
Reframe Undesirable Tasks
It’s amazing what your mind can do when you shift your perspective.
Writing essays may not be everyone’s favourite task – but breaking up the work with positive intentions can help to motivate you to start working towards getting them done. For example, rather than having “Start essay” on your list, change it to “Plan essay outline”, so that you can give yourself peace of mind for when you actually start writing it. Remember that the more planning you do, the more stress and effort you’ll save yourself later on. So rather than thinking of planning as a dreadful, tedious task, think of it as a life-hack that will help you work more efficiently later on.
Another good habit to make is rephrasing your tasks and obligations from “I have to…” to “I get to…”. At one point or another, we were all high school seniors dreaming of attending a great University, taking classes that were focusing towards our own specific interests. Now that we’re all here, we can finally say “I get to learn about X this morning” rather than dreading waking up for that 9am lecture. It may take some work, but gratitude can take you a long way when it comes to finding motivation to do well in school.
The most important thing to remember is to take breaks. Being in a comfortable environment at home may make it easy to work for hours straight, forgetting to give yourself breaks.
In reality, productivity usually starts to decrease after 40-60 minutes of work. That’s why using the Pomodoro Technique is a great way to gamify your productivity while keeping your efforts consistent.
The Pomodoro Technique can be broken down into 5 steps:
- Pick a task.
- Set a 25-minute timer.
- Work on your task until the timer is up.
- Take a 5-minute break (take a walk, meditate, stretch, get a snack, etc.).
- Every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer 15-30 minute break.
By giving yourself a short time limit, you can compete against yourself to get more and more done in those 25-minute sessions.
Stay Tuned for More
Make sure to follow us on all our social media and check back on our website for more tips and tricks on managing the WFH student life.