Let’s be real. Students will be studying at home once again. But, it’s not as bad as everyone’s saying it will be. Learning how to effectively study at home is a challenge. After some trial and error, I’m here to share with you some of my tips and tricks to surviving this semester.
When it comes to school, consistency is key. Some people like to re-read a chapter just to get information that they missed, and others like to repeat flashcards just before a test. Keeping a consistent schedule and having an organized space to work is a few of the many things that can keep me going after almost a year of studying online.
The following are some tips and healthy habits that you can try this semester. Let me know if they work out for you as well!
Tip 1: Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
I know… this one may seem impossible at first. However, if you really stick to it and mentally discipline yourself, I promise it will have lasting effects on your school performance. Not only does this teach you about time management, but it also keeps away from overworking your brain.
Have you ever heard someone say that studying the night before a test doesn’t really work? Well, that’s because of the lack of sleep you’re getting. Getting that good night’s rest will help you stay alert while taking the test and you won’t feel so lazy the next day.
What has helped me effectively study through this pandemic was the Health app on my iPhone. I recently discovered it through Apple’s annoying tips notifications (I guess this one wasn’t as annoying). I decided to try out their sleep schedule just to see how it worked. From then on, it has changed my productivity completely.
You tell them what your desired amount of hours is for sleep every night. Based on that information, you will set your desired wake up time. The app will tell you what time you will need to sleep to fulfill your amount of hours. It’s a really simple and effective way to start becoming more organized.
Also, this helps with setting your boundaries, which I will talk more about as you read on. That way, you are putting your needs first before anything else.
Tip 2: Create a space to work.
Organization and a clean area to do my work have helped me effectively study during this pandemic. I am that girl who loves to go to class and work at libraries because of the environment. Spaces like those helped me stay on task. But when that wasn’t an option, I had to find a way to create that same space for myself at home.
One way I did that was to buy accessories for my desk. I use the 13″ 2020 MacBook Pro. What I looked for were things that will help me work in the safest and efficient way possible. I bought the Soundance Aluminum Laptop Stand so that I could create a good posture while I worked, the Logitech K380 Multi-Device Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard that worked well with my Mac, and the Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Mouse so that I don’t strain my wrists.
Since my friends and family are what inspire me to keep motivated, I also surrounded my area with pictures and fun things to look at when I need a little break. Not only does this make my desk area look more like my own, but it helps create a sense of happiness while working on the same thing for so long.
Of course, these are just suggestions on what you can get for yourself at home. However, I think getting the right space to work will help you keep that momentum going for the new semester.
Tip 3: Set Social Media Boundaries.
A lot of the times I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram just because I felt like it… and then the next thing I knew, I’m two hours into stalking other people’s accounts. I am so guilty of that!
Setting a boundary for what time and for how long you will scroll on social media is an important part of finding that balance between school and play. If you want to see results this semester, studying effectively means knowing when it’s time to work and when it’s time to have some fun.
Studies have shown that the more you limit your daily use of social media, the more time you have to create, appreciate, and motivate. Yes, social media is a great tool to use. I do a lot on there for my blog and podcast. However, there’s always time to say yes and a time to say no. So set those boundaries for yourself and replace that time of scrolling with something productive.
Tip 4: Get a Planner.
I am a huge advocate for this strategy because I am so forgetful! I would tell myself to go and get something in five minutes and when the time comes it’s like the idea was gone. But then, I started using a daily, weekly, and monthly planner and this changed my life forever.
I would usually set my schedule a day ahead and I would start with setting my time to wake up and go to bed. Then, I would put in my time to eat because this girl cannot work with an empty stomach. Finally, I would figure out the tasks that I need to do and schedule them in between.
I prioritized my sleep and breaks because if I am not my best self while working, I won’t be productive. This also includes my tendency to overwork myself. I love being productive and sometimes I forget to eat or even check the time. I think scheduling and sticking to that schedule is important to effectively study at home.
If you love pen and paper, there are so many beautiful yearly planners at your local Walmart, Dollarama, Michael’s, or Indigo. If you are into digital planning (like I am), I love to look for different people on Instagram and YouTube. Designers and influencers usually attach a link in their bio that directs you to their recent planners for the year. Definitely give @shopjanicestudies on Instagram and YouTube a look!
Getting a planner not only keeps track of what you have to do and what you have done, but it also helps organize your busy life. Online school has a lot to do with time management, therefore, having this planner helps you stay on task without overloading you with too much in one day.
Tip 5: Find what motivates you.
A lot of the time, I find myself going through the ropes of life just by swinging past each day like it’s one task to another. But from what I found out, was having an understanding of your end goal or having something (or even someone) that motivates you really help create efficiency in what you do.
For example, I began studying online since the beginning of the pandemic. I used to take it every day thinking that this whole thing would end soon and I would be able to see my friends again. But as time went on, I came to realize that we’ll be stuck in this for a while, and that caused me to become unmotivated.
I began to think, “What’s the point in all of this? Why am I studying this useless information?”
I lost motivation. This started to show on my designs and assignments. I started to see my positive attitude disappear and I started to feel useless, alone, and depressed.
But as I started to get into that deep hole, I found this article that showed me some things that I could do in my spare time, and that sparked a whole new world for me. I began my podcast in October of 2020 and now I have a blog that helped me create a sense of purpose and motivation.
Someone reading this now is probably looking for ways to get out of that hole and that’s okay! Everyone goes through their own ups and downs. It’s totally normal. But now, I challenge you to open your eyes and find that spark of motivation. It could be your dog that you haven’t taken out in a while or a paintbrush that waiting to be used again . Seek for something that motivates you, and I promise, this is one of the best ways you can start effectively studying with a purpose.
These five tips are what I believe the best things you can have or do to survive this semester. Don’t be discouraged that this year didn’t start the way to plan it. But, be grateful that you have the opportunity to keep working on yourself. We’re all in this together and after this is all over, we will definitely be stronger together too.