In light of recent self-isolating and social distancing government restrictions, many of us have found ourselves working and studying from home.
This new reality might be well received by some but to others, it might not be the most welcome situation, this especially may be the case if you’re a student living in a small space.
We reached out to our RGU staff community to gather their top tips to help you keep up the morale and motivation when studying from home. Here is what they said:
- Arrange and protect your workspace. The first step to studying from home is to tidy up your workspace and make it functional. If you don’t have a designated home office then choose a quiet corner with minimal distractions. Let everyone know that from now on this is your working space and that you are working from home. If possible, sit at a desk or a table and avoid working from your bed or the sofa. This will help reduce back pain from hunching over. If you stay at student halls then make sure you separate your desk area from the rest of your space, this will set some limits between your work life and actual life.
- Have a structured day. You might be tempted to work in your pyjamas all day long but we would recommend having a shower and getting dressed as you normally would for a day at uni or work. Having set lunch break times and a general structure in your daily workload will also help you focus and be more productive.
- Keep your spirits up by arranging virtual coffees, group chats and lunches. Utilise technology to continue to feel those human connections – we are all in this together. There is a range of options available including but not limited to FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Feel free to pop any others you use in the comments below.
- Don’t be tempted by TV or social media. Distracting yourself by scrolling through social media, having your favourite TV show on in the background, and constantly checking WhatsApp group updates can easily make you lose track of time. Try to set some boundaries with phone time and challenge yourself to stick to it!
- Use the Pomodoro technique and break down large tasks into smaller ones with breaks in between. This trains your brain to focus for short periods of time on important tasks and helps you stay on top of your workload. Firstly, choose the task you want to complete, then set the alarm for every 25 minutes and start working. Once the alarm goes off allow yourself to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat the process 4 times and then let yourself have a 15 minutes break. Do it as many times as you need to complete the task.
- Exercise is key to maintaining both your mental and physical health. Put on some music, open the window to get some fresh air and sunshine into your room, and stretch. There are lots of workouts on YouTube or free apps to help you move, so why not try learning a dance routine or start yoga?
- Go easy on yourself. You might feel a combination of isolation, stress and loneliness all of which can lead to a decrease in motivation, but with any transition, you need to give yourself some time. Don’t forget you have online access to the RGU Student Support Services if you need any help or would like to discuss any concerns.
- Tell your classmates how they can reach you and be realistic with any expectations. Work through your priorities and make sure everyone involved understands what these are. Try to be prompt with your email responses but if you need time to work away from emails then pop on your out of the office to let people know. If you need support or clarity on anything then reach out, use video calls for meetings so you can ask your classmates or colleagues any questions about projects you are working on.
- If you have any questions to address get in touch with your supervisor or course leader, they are there to help you.
- If you live with others and you can’t concentrate because of noise (or lack of it) there are some things that can help. Listening to white noise or instrumental music may help. There are some brilliant apps and YouTube videos. Be careful not to listen to music that will actually distract you from work though!
The Coronavirus outbreak continues to be a fast-paced and evolving situation. Robert Gordon University has been monitoring it closely and is taking government and health authority guidance. Although face-to-face teaching has been suspended for the foreseeable future, the University is working to minimise any disruption to the students’ learning experience. The University remains operational, and staff will continue to assist students albeit remotely.
Keep up-to-date about COVID-19 on our website.
Do you have any tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!