This post was published on 8th April 2020 Any references to self-isolation, travel or meeting others was accurate at the time of writing but the guidance may have changed since. Please always refer to the latest Government advice.
Firstly, I just want to say that I hope everyone is doing well during this period.
As the UK government has recently advised everyone to stay home and the university has moved to online lectures, many students have decided to return to their hometowns or stay at home within their Worcester student accommodation. One way or the other, we have found ourselves in a situation where all the deadlines are approaching quickly and instead of going to Pierson or the Hive, we are required to study from home. It might be difficult for some people to concentrate at home, so here are my few tips that might help you to stay productive while you write some assignments.
Find a designated work space in your room
Rule number one (and probably the most important one) stay out of bed! How many times have you told yourself you will do research from home and you ended up staying in your pyjamas while binge watching 2 Netflix shows that you have been dying to watch for the past couple of months? I personally did that about 15 million times.
Therefore, I recommend finding yourself a designated work space area where it will be easier for you to stay focused. I personally used to enjoy going to the Hive’s silent study as there is plenty of light. Every student has different study needs, however considering the fact that you have to stay home – I recommend creating the perfect study spot in your room. The desk in my student accommodation is situated in a darker corner of the room, which usually makes me sleepy, for this reason I have relocated my desk so it faces the window and gets plenty of light. Moreover, I have the added benefit of having my bonsai plants in the background which make me smile every time I look at them.
Plan your time effectively
Some students peak in the morning, others in the afternoon and some are the most productive while pulling all-nighters. Whichever type of student you are, make sure to schedule your time as effectively as possible and plan ahead – same as you would normally. Being the plan freak that I am, I spend about an hour every Sunday afternoon planning activities for next week to make sure I get everything done on time. From food shops, study time and preparation for lectures, to catch ups with friends and social activities. I understand that not everyone is into planning as much as I am, however, I believe planning your study time can help you divide your study goals into smaller tasks which become significant over time. This method can also help you stay on track with all your deadlines.
Apps that will keep you focused
Studying from home bears a dangerous aspect – there are too many distractions! The bed that looks comfier than ever, fridge is filled with snack food and I’m sure there is some housework you would rather do than writing your assignments (ahem…maybe.) However, the biggest distraction regardless of where you study is your phone. As there are apps out there for everything you can think of, there is one that will shut down your phone notifications too – it’s called Forest! The Forest app allows you to set a timer and for that period of time you can study / work without distractions while growing a virtual tree. Plus, the longer the time you set up the bigger the tree will grow. The app also offers a positive environmental aspect, the developers of the Forest app claim that for every tree you grow in the app, they will plant one in real life. This way you can plan your study time more effectively, you can study without distractions and help the environment at the same time.
Take regular breaks
I hope this goes without saying, but make sure to plan regular breaks. Even a 20-minute snack break will help you relax and help your brain release the stress from deadlines. Also, as a Latino person I recommend siestas after lunch (how stereotypical, I know haha), they can do miracles to your overall mental health and can release the tension too.
Good luck with your assignments. Stay safe. Keep up the good work. Stay productive and let’s hope this will all be over soon.