Working from home has lasted a lot longer than any of us expected! Many of us may be stuck in a routine which we are used to, but may not necessarily be the most productive. Physiotherapy student Andrea shares his top tips on how to stay healthy and productive while studying from home.
1. Maintain your focus
There is a common problem I encounter when I study from home and that is getting distracted. Family members, pets, neighbours, house chores, sofa and TV, are just some of the many distractions we can encounter when we need to work, making the already challenging task of focusing even more difficult. For this reason, I believe that it is important to find a quiet space that is distraction-free. Ideally, it is best to work in a designated room rather than working on the bed or sofa. If that is not possible, create a space in your house where, once you get there, you know that is time to work and everything else has to wait. Also, keep it tidy and organised!
2. Set daily goals
I think that it is quite easy to lose sight of what I am working towards, particularly with an assessment that may take weeks or even longer to complete. So, setting daily goals and sticking to them can be helpful to make a task less daunting and keep me on track. I set new tasks for myself every morning before I even start working on my laptop. Once I have thought about what I need to acheive, I write it down on a post-it note and stick it somewhere I can see it.
3. Look after your back
Many of us will be working from home in spaces not designed for spending long periods of time sitting at. Not many things hurt my back, but sitting for a long time while studying is definitely one! For this reason, I try to take a short break every hour to stand up from the chair and move my legs. I usually try to take advantage of these moments to do some quick stretches. These are some of my favouite stretches to do that help me. You can find out more information on back exercises on the NHS website.
4. Pace yourself
I am no stranger to overdoing it, particularly when it comes to working towards an assessment. However, I have learned that you get more done if you give yourself the time to rest, rather than by persevering for hours on end. Think about something that you enjoy and find time in your day for those activities, even if it’s just taking your dog for a walk. Once back to work, you will find that you will be more relaxed and productive.
5. Stay active
We have all heard about the importance of exercising and staying healthy, but we may not always think that is a priority, particularly when a deadline is around the corner. When I am focused on uni work I can easily forget about everything else. However, physical activity is extremely important not only to keep us healthy and fit but also to maintain and improve our cognitive functions. So, even if it’s only 30 minutes of exercising scattered throughout the day, I try to make sure that it’s part of my daily routine. In my case, I like cycling. Take a look at RGU Sport for some inspiration on activities you can do and to find out more about their memberships.
6. Stop checking your phone all the time
The majority of us have a smartphone, most of which are filled with apps and gadgets that can keep us busy, it is probably our biggest distraction! I often find myself checking emails and What’s App for no reason, just out of boredom. A good method I use to encourage me to put my phone away is a smartphone app called Forest. The app allows me to set how long I want to focus, and then boom: no more access to anything until that time has passed by. You earn credits whilst using the app and these can be turned into trees which are then planted around the world. You can also look for similar apps to help you. Alternatively, why not mute your phone and leave it in another room, only checking it in your study breaks?
Do you have some top tips on how to stay healthy and productive while studying from home? Comment below!
Andrea Terranova – Masters of Physiotherapy Year 3 at RGU