Working Productively and Staying Motivated: How to make the most of studying from home
Following recent government advice we know that a lot of us are working and studying from home. With these changes come the challenges of working productively, staying motivated and keeping up with your work load. To help, we have put together some ways to help you stay productive and get things done!
Clean your workspace the night before
Have you ever sat down to do your assignment and thought the floors could do with a clean or you must fold your laundry right this second? Procrasticleaning is a real thing and some days you can end up having cleaned your whole house but only written 20 words.
A way to prevent this sudden urge to clean is to prepare your workspace the night before by doing the keys tasks that will seem most important the next day whilst you are trying to study or work.
Get ready for the day
Pyjamas are comfortable but they are not the best attire for being productive. Getting properly dressed, brushing your hair and teeth etc all create a sense of normalcy in this confusing time whilst also creating a clear line between relaxing/sleep time and work/study time.
Break it down! Set simple achievable goals
Break down what you need to do for the day into smaller tasks. For example, instead of writing down “Finish BIO110 Assignment 1,” write down “Research possible topics,” “Choose Topic,” “Write the introduction.” By breaking it into these smaller steps, the tasks seem more manageable and achievable. If the tasks are still seeming too hard, break it down further. When you look at a task that seems achievable you are more likely to take the time to complete it and it will keep you motivated being able to tick tasks off.
Do your most dreaded task first
Each day we have a finite amount of willpower. This willpower depletes as the day goes on and we get more tired. An example of this is healthy eating, you eat healthy food all day and then at night time might be inclined splurge on a whole box of cookies.
Do the task which you dread the most while your willpower is at its peak. You will feel accomplished and good about yourself for completing the task and remaining tasks in the day will seem comparatively easier.
Working from home doesn’t mean that you don’t clock off. Studying online doesn’t mean you need to study all day. Taking breaks from your work has been proven to increase productivity and improve mental well-being and clarity. This is for a variety of reasons such as minimizing decision fatigue, maintaining your attention and restoring motivation.
If this makes sense to you, you might like to read more about the Pomodoro technique or use handy online timer.
Speaking of breaks, Take GOOD Breaks
A break should be time away from the mental strain of work or study. This can include whatever you personally find refreshing and restful. For some this can be going to the gym, talking a walk or going for a run. Other people prefer to take a nap, read a book or draw.
Sitting at your desk and scrolling through emails is not an effective way to recover from work or study and refuel for the work that still has to be completed. Something else to consider in your break is having a meal that will physically refuel your body alongside mentally. Skipping lunch will only worsen the effects of decision fatigue and low motivation.
Don’t multitask – focus on one thing at a time
Recent studies have shown that focusing on more than one task is not good for productivity. Although many people believe they are able to do multiple things at once, it is actually impossible to maintain focus on multiple things at a time. Your brain will flick between each task without ever being fully focused or present. By fully focusing on one task and then once finished moving on to the other, you are more likely to complete both tasks in a shorter amount of time than trying to switch between the two to get them both done.
Last but certainly not least, reward yourself for the things you have achieved! By knowing there is a reward at the end of the task you are more likely to complete it. Think about what motivates you, what is it that you enjoy?
Some ideas of rewards are:
– Watch an episode of your favourite show
– Take a bath
– Go for a run
– Play a video game
– Eat your favourite snack
– Have a Zoom party with your friends or family
Let us know what motivates you or what rewards work for you and your family in the comments below 🙂