The Lowdown on Learning during Lockdown: FD’s Top Tips for Studying at Home
By: FD Recruitment Team
With university libraries and local coffee shops no longer an option, millions of university students worldwide are adjusting to studying at home. But with concerns surrounding the health of family and friends, employment prospects and mounting university workloads at the forefront of students’ minds, along with distractions created by family and friends, getting into a focused mindset for studying is proving a difficult task for many students globally.
During these difficult times, we are proud of how smoothly our FD Family (who are working from home locations across the world) have transitioned into this new normal. Therefore, based on our experiences of working from home, we thought we’d share our top tips to help you focus and study effectively during this period of adjustment.
Assign a Dedicated Study Space at Home
Ever wonder why you are able to focus so easily in your university library? This is because over time, you have built up associations in your mind between this place and the act of studying, allowing you to automatically fall into a focused mindset every time you go there. Therefore, you should assign a dedicated space in your home where you go to study. Eventually, when you sit in this space, you will automatically enter your “study” frame of mind, allowing you to work as productively as you would in the library. So, while it may be tempting to study from the comfort of your bed or sofa, these areas carry associations with leisure and relaxation and should be reserved for your down time.
Pre-plan and Structure your Day
Begin every day by setting aside 15 minutes to write a schedule outlining what you plan to do and when you will do it throughout the day. Whether you prefer to create a highly detailed schedule or a simple to-do list, having some form of structure will help you to focus your mind and encourage you to define exactly what you want to achieve from each day. Be sure to schedule in clear breaks away from your work area so you return to your study area feeling refreshed and ready to focus.
Capitalise on your Hours of Optimal Productivity
Of course, no one can work continually from morning to evening. Your levels of productivity will fluctuate throughout the day. The key to a great study schedule is identifying the times during the day when you are at your most productive, and capitalising on those times to focus on more difficult tasks. Use your less productive hours to do simpler tasks such as writing flash cards, organising notes or tidying your study space so you are still using this time effectively.
Having so much free time to focus on studying may cause you to be a little overambitious about what you can achieve in a day. During this difficult period, many students are dealing with concerns about the health of family members, adapting to changes to their assessment formats and what the future holds. While adjusting to this new normal, it is important to be understanding of the impact that these worries may have on your productivity levels.
Setting unrealistic goals may cause you to lose motivation and ultimately result in disappointment if you are unable to achieve them. When writing up your study plan, be realistic about what you can achieve in a day. If you can exceed those expectations, you’ll feel even better!
Decide on your “Study Hours” ahead of time
Be sure to decide ahead of time on the exact hours you’ll work between each day, for example between 10am and 5pm, or if you’re a morning person, 7am-2pm. Leaving your day open-ended may encourage you to fall victim to procrastination and distraction.
Communicate your “Study Hours” to Family and Friends
If your family are at home while you are studying, communicate your active study hours to them clearly at the start of the day, and ask them to avoid distracting you during this time. Other simple ways to remind your family not to disturb you include putting your study plan on your bedroom door, or if you are working in a communal space, by putting your headphones in to communicate that you are focusing. Also communicate this schedule to your friends so you can organise your social calls around your plan.
Make your Physical and Mental Health a Priority
Most importantly, be sure to take care of your physical and mental health. Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals, aiming for your 8 hours of sleep each night, monitoring your level of news consumption, and making time to do things that you enjoy. Activities, like exercising, meditating, and doing puzzles and crosswords, can help to calm your mind and generate feelings of positivity.
Focus on the Positive
While these are undeniably difficult circumstances, it is important to remember that this is all temporary. Try your best to treat this period of lockdown as an opportunity to invest time in your learning to create the best future for yourself you possibly can. However, it is also important to remember that your grades do not define you as a person. Therefore, no matter the outcome of your assessments, remember that there are many more things you have to bring to the table that will impress prospective employers.