Last Updated on December 28, 2022
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how to learn from home
Tips for Studying from Home
The University of Washington has transitioned from in-person classes to online classes due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Studying from home can be challenging – you may find yourself easily distracted by your pet, family members, the fridge, the TV, roommates, and your bed. Tech problems or limited access to equipment might also create a barrier to effective online learning. For a number of reasons, you might just find yourself not as motivated or productive. Some of you may also struggle with anxiety related to COVID-19 while also facing academic stress. Studying from home will require stronger willpower than usual to stay focused and adapting those tried and true strategies in this new learning environment.
To make this difficult adjustment a bit more manageable, we’ve included some tips below for distance learning.
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Establish a Routine
Treat your study from home as if you are going to the library/classes. Set a time to wake up, freshen up, eat breakfast, and get dressed. Having an established routine can provide structure for your life and signal your brain “it is time to get work done”.
Have a Dedicated Study Area
Creating a physical boundary between your study area and your relaxation area could be very helpful to stay focused when studying from home. This can also help you to contain your academic stress to the study space.
Take Notes for Online Classes
It is important to put your phone away, turn off notifications from messages and social media on your computer, and close irrelevant webpages to minimize distraction. Taking notes during the online classes can also keep your hands busy and help to turn your attention to the class content.
Keep a Routine for Physical Activity
Set break times for your study session (i.e. every 45 minutes) to get up, move around, and activate different parts of your brain. You can stretch, do a set of jumping jacks, walk around the room, and take a look at the view outside the window.
Don’t Forget Your Social Time
Build in some social time during your day can motivate you to stay focused when studying. You can set a time when you are less productive to reach out to friends and family. You can connect with them either through phone calls or video chatting.
Create a Study Plan and Share It with Others
Write down what you need to accomplish in the next 3 days, and break them down into small tasks to complete in each day. Break down a big task into smaller chunks can make things less overwhelming and help you to get more motivated in getting them done! You can also share your study plan with your friends (study buddies!) to keep yourself accountable.
Eat Well, Sleep Well
Select healthy snacks when you study, and prepare lunches that will not put you to sleep afterwards. Having at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night is the best way to help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start your study during the day.
You can designate your less productive time of the day to attend to chores. Set your schedule in a way that you can focus on one thing at a time (i.e. studying, chores, relaxing, exercising) and know that you will have designated time later for other things on your to-do list.
how to study at home without going to school
13 Ways to Study at Home Without Going Crazy
1. Establish a routine
Set a time you wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and begin studying. If you don’t set a routine for yourself, you may find your breakfast break stretch into… lunch. A routine provides a structure to get things done, keep the little things (like showering) from falling through the cracks, and frees you to plan for times to not study as well.
2. Get dressed
I know it’s tempting to wear pajamas all day or neglect brushing your hair for 15 days in a row. After all, you’re not planning to leave the house except for picking up emergency Doritos. However, you’ll feel much better about life and your studies when you take care of yourself. Make it a point to get dressed, brush your hair, and look presentable every day. (You might end up feeling a bit more motivated, too.)
3. Change your location
Discover a good coffee shop (and learn to like the house brew), grab a blanket and take your books outdoors, or scope out your local library to provide a change of scenery when hitting the books. Even moving to a new location in your home can work wonders.
4. Switch your schedule
If you have a set routine, but find yourself in a rut, switch your schedule around a bit. Often, a bit of variety is all it takes to restore enthusiasm. If you generally stay up later and get up a bit later, try an early to bed/early to rise routine for a bit. Perhaps slipping in a few hours of study before anyone else in your house is up will transform your study process.
Or, if you’re a night owl, try taking a longer break in the morning or mid afternoon and getting a few hours of work accomplished at night when the rest of your family is asleep. If you’re trying to get 4 hours of studying in each day, try working in a 4-hour block with only short breaks, or four 1-hour sprints at various points during the day. There are no hard and fast study rules—mix it up and see what works best for you.
5. Shut down your computer every night
Shutting down your computer will give you a sense of closure. Set a “quitting time” for your day, and get away from the screen. Take some time to play a board game with family or friends, read a good book, or take a walk. By shutting down your computer, you’ll ensure your work is saved and you won’t feel like you are in eternal study mode (plus, regularly shutting down will help your computer will run faster!) Since you may not be able to change locations when your study day ends, it’s important to use other means to create a sense of closure to your studies each day.
6. Keep your study space clean
This one is more important than you’d think. First, a clean space helps you think clearly and focus, but that’s not all. When your study space is clean, you can find the supplies you need, when you need them. Nothing derails a study session like spending 15 minutes looking for that pencil you know you saw somewhere yesterday….
7. Get a Beta fish
Random, I know, but having a low-maintenance “study buddy” can be a fun way to perk up your study space. If fish aren’t your thing, find some way to make your study area fun and interesting. Try a lava lamp, silly putty, a Rubik’s Cube, a coloring book and crayons, or a stress ball to help you stay focused or challenge your brain while at your desk.
8. Invest in a good headset
No matter how excellent your focus, if you study at home it can be virtually impossible to tune out the noise around you. Dogs, younger siblings, and ringing phones are all very distracting and difficult to avoid. A good noise-canceling headset will be a huge help in this regard! You’ll be able to preserve both your sanity and your love of those around you.
9. Have a good chair
It’s tough to stay focused on the Battle of Waterloo or that tough statistics problem if you’re distracted by your aching back. Invest in a chair that is comfortable and promotes good posture. You’ll be able to focus more and be healthier along the way!
10. Don’t work from your bed
Your bed is comfy. The pillow WILL beckon to you. And if you’re sleep deprived, the temptation just may be too much to bear. But that’s just one of your concerns. Sitting on your bed when studying also promotes poor posture—which will decrease your focus and cause long-term health problems. Not to mention, crawling into bed at night won’t provide the same sense of restful relief if you’ve been using your it as a study station all day.
11. Resist the snack attack
The beauty of studying at home: you have a kitchen and fridge at your disposal. The downside of studying at home: you have a kitchen and fridge at your disposal. Even if food is plenteous (and your mom’s peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are legendary), resist the urge to constantly snack. You’ll feel healthier and avoid the dreaded “freshman 15.” Stock some healthy snacks—carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, nuts, and hummus—for those times you simply must munch… and the Oreos are calling.
12. Have friends
Maintain your relationships while working on your degree. If you don’t have regularly-scheduled social events (like volunteering or study groups), this will require creativity and effort. But good friendships are worth the investment. Allot time for 15-minute calls just to catch up, and schedule the occasional coffee date. By carving out time from your schedule now, you are solidifying lifelong friendships.
13. Be considerate
Of course, you’ll have to block out time to study, and you won’t be able to participate in every activity you’re invited to. And you’ll probably need to kick a sibling out of your room from time to time for some peace and quiet. Your family is making sacrifices to allow you to be successful—so show them the same consideration you would to receive.
If you have been studying for a few hours, and your sister needs the room to make a personal phone call, take a study break to let her use the room for a bit. Help with household chores, and do little things to make each family member feel special.