You have just completed an 8-hour working day from the comfort of your own home – but now you need to do your dedicated hours of online study. Typically, you might leave the office, drive or commute home, have a short break, eat dinner and then sit down to complete your study. However, working from home and studying from home might leave you without the motivation you need.
Environmental changes are incredibly important for productivity. Sitting in the same spot, surrounded by the same scenery for an extended period of time can leave you feeling exhausted, drained and even irritated. The question is, how do you keep productive when you are in the same environment for both work and study?
This guide will give you some helpful tips on how to stay focused, motivated and productive when working and studying in the same space. Discover how to create the best environment to be productive in both work and study.
The benefits of remote work and online study
Working remotely and studying online are very similar, they both give you the flexibility to achieve your set goals wherever you want. At home, in the car, at the beach, on a plane – the choice is yours where you get your work or study done. Another benefit of both is the ability to select your working hours best suited to your lifestyle.
With online study, you can complete your work when it suits you – it might be the first thing in the morning or at 10 pm at night when the kids are asleep.
Remote work is very similar, although you may have less flexibility on work times due to scheduled meetings. However, if you are stuck at home due to circumstances like an injury, sickness or even a pandemic lock-down, you might be left feeling frustrated and unproductive.
Break up your workspace and study-space
If you have the space at home for a home office, set up your workspace there. Then, make a list of the materials and equipment you need for online study, (so you know exactly what you need to take) and move to a different location. This could be;
- The dining room table
- The spare room
- Outside – on a balcony, picnic rug on the grass, or the outside dining table
- In the lounge room
- If you live in an apartment, make use of the shared spaces – might be by the indoor pool, in the foyer, out near the barbeque grills
- If you are able to go outside, go sit in a local cafe or park
It’s often much easier to move your study-space around, due to the likelihood of having less to carry. All you need is your laptop, study materials, and some headphones to listen to tutorials. It doesn’t matter where you set up, but separating your work and study environments will have a great effect on your productivity and focus.
Try these fantastic study tips from a CAL Student:
Add these things to your workspace (or study space) to feel more organised
- A calendar for due dates, assessments, tutorials etc.
- Separate folders for each different subject
- Shelves to keep your books in order and easily accessible
- Candles for a calm ambience
- An array of stationery on hand for whenever you need to replace a pen or use a sticky note
- Inspiring artwork
- Quality natural light and window coverings
Find out more about creating a great work or study environment:
How to Create the Best Work Study Environment for your Phase of Life
Just remember, your workspace or study area can be as flexible and relaxed as you want, but make sure you have work boundaries.
Working from home or studying at home might conjure up thoughts of getting to lounge in bed, but this can confuse the mind’s state between being active and relaxed.
Create a set schedule for each day
A set-in-stone schedule will give you the structure to follow each day. Try this schedule below:
Monday to Wednesday
- 9am – 5pm = Work hours
- 7pm – 9pm = Study hours
Thursday and Friday
- 8 am – 4 pm = Work hours
- 4:30pm – 6:30pm = Study hours
You might even like to complete an hour of study before ‘work’ by doing 8 am – 9 am study, then 9 – 5 pm work, and complete your final study hour before the day is over.
From this overall schedule, break down your work and study hours. You can even write this all down on a daily planner or an online app. Figure out approximately how long your work tasks will take you, and allocate specific hours to the tasks.
Take the same approach with your study – you might have a 30-minute tutorial video to watch, and then 30 minutes of notes to create. By breaking all of your tasks down to shorter time-frames, you can feel accomplished ticking each item off your list.
Use timing devices – like your washing machine
Given you are working and studying from home, you have access to all your comforts and belongings. Instead of using a project timer or stopwatch, try putting on a load of washing and using that time to complete a study or work task. Getting a tedious chore out of the way and ticking a task off your list? Check!
If you feel yourself getting tired or drained, take a 15- to 20-minute break to do something other than work. You could make lunch, go for a walk, or play with your pets. By giving yourself a small break away from your tasks you will be able to return to work feeling rejuvenated and ready to get it done. Go for a quick walk around your house, around your garden, or even do some stretches in your backyard.
Have an early start
A great positive about working from home or studying at home is that your commute time is cut to about… 1 minute! Given you have increased time in the day, try getting started early. Getting into work or study first thing in the morning is actually an excellent way to make progress.
Get rid of your social media or online distractions
Although it is easier said than done, muting your phone or turning it onto ‘Do Not Disturb’, even placing your phone in another room can make a great difference in staying focused. Reward yourself with a phone check when you have completed a group of 3 tasks or study goals.
Give your boss and yourself end-of-week progress updates
Similar to sending your boss your completed tasks for the workweek, write yourself a list of all the study goals you accomplished that week. This helps to keep you accountable for what you have or haven’t done – as well as let you know what to focus on for the following week.
Look after yourself
A major change in your normal routine like moving to work from home can throw everything off-balance if you’re not careful. Try not to get too stuck at home – it’s important to put effort into social interaction, either over a phone call or face-to-face if able. Remember to do your 30+ minutes of exercise every day, and even try to incorporate stretches into your workday to get you up and moving out of that space. Another tip regularly shared is to get dressed for work in neat casual clothes, rather than staying in your pyjamas all day (tempting, we know!). Apply this tip to your study also, you might have a favourite comfy hoodie or jumper that you love to study in, think of this as your ‘study outfit.’
Both working from home or remotely and studying online rely heavily on good habits. By forming these good habits you begin to work up an effective schedule, of which your productivity and focus allow you to actually get things done.