Posted 24 Sep, 2020
Creating a dedicated study space: Easy e-learning from home
Studying or working from home is a challenge many of us are facing right now. Losing the structure of going to our schools or jobs in order to work and study is a challenge, and not one that’s easy to overcome. There’s a lot of power in the routine of waking up, getting ready, travelling to a place we only go to in order to work, and then coming home when we’re done. Without that routine and that environment, we can be left feeling adrift, and it can become a lot more difficult to be as productive at home as we used to be at school, or work. But the power of a routine can help make that change easier, too.
Losing a supportive routine is one of the reasons university students often struggle in their first year. They are moving from a very structured, regimented school environment and into one with a lot more freedom -- too much in some cases. But in the same way that university students eventually find their equilibrium in their new environment and develop their own routines to replace the ones that high-school provided them, so too can those of us in a work-from-home situation.
Defining your physical work space
The first step in that process is creating a dedicated work space. Ideally, this would be a room or area dedicated to nothing but working and studying, maybe even going so far as to have a laptop dedicated to school. And while that’s not possible for most people, the concept is still important to keep in mind. It doesn’t matter if you have a whole room dedicated to an office, or if you can only carve out a corner of your bedroom for work, or if your “work space” is a laptop on the dining room table. Even if you have to wear noise cancelling headphones and face the wall as you work to block out the distractions around you, that’s okay. Your work space doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to exist, so that you can use it. What matters is the commitment you’re making to yourself when you sit down in your work environment. You’re training yourself to associate that space with working, and that mindset will help make it easier to focus on what you have to get done.
Separating your digital work space
Having a dedicated work environment on your computer is equally important. It’s hard to resist the urge to open up your favourite online distraction when you’re supposed to be working, so rather than forcing yourself to resist that urge constantly, why not just design your environment around taking that temptation away?
Doing this can be as easy as putting your phone out of reach, or flipping it over so you won’t get distracted by notifications, or it can be as involved as creating another account on your computer dedicated to studying, or using an app that limits the websites you can access while it’s running. Even just closing all your tabs and starting over with a fresh browser each morning before you start to work could be enough to keep you focused, but whatever technique you choose, committing to it is a great way to boost your productivity.
Setting aside time to work
Scheduling time to work is equally valuable. Sitting down to work at the same time every day is another easy way to lower the amount of effort it takes to get started. You don’t need to think about when you’re going to start to work; you already decided that, and made it a part of your routine. Over time, you won’t have to think about it at all; sitting down to study will become as much of a habit as getting ready for school used to be, and you’ll be able to focus all of your effort on actually being productive.
Plus, by defining the hours in which you’ll be working, you’re also setting aside time when you aren’t working, and that’s just as important when you’re living and working in the same space. It’s difficult to maintain a good work-life balance when you’re doing both of those things at home. Too much of either isn’t healthy, but by following a pre-defined schedule you can feel good about working and guilt-free about relaxing.
It requires a lot of mental fortitude to develop your own routine, but only in the beginning. Once you’ve made a habit of sitting down to work at the same time every day in your dedicated work environment, you’ll find it a lot easier to get started, since you’ve already gotten rid of most of the obstacles in your way.
Sitting down to work
Once you’ve cleared off your desk and carved out your digital workspace and decided on your version of working 9-5, there’s still one last, huge part of studying or working effectively from home. Actually doing it. There’s no tip or trick to make that part of the process any easier, and you can’t form a new and productive habit without working at it. All you can do is try, and not give up. Good luck!