Is procrastination getting the better of you? You need these skills…
Whether you’re a university student, you’re studying a professional qualification, or you’re carrying out your school work at home, maintaining focus and productivity in a non-work based environment isn’t always an easy task. Especially if you’re juggling other commitments at the same time.
To make sure you’re meeting your goals, here are three essential skills you need to study at home:
First things first, you need to develop a productive mindset.
Understandably, that might be easier said than done. After all, you’re in the comfort of your own home, and no one is within range to throw a pencil at you if you start to slack. All these things combined could be a recipe for disaster…if you don’t motivate yourself.
In other words, when it comes to studying from home; it’s all on you. You make the rules. You set the goals. And you give yourself rewards.
Of course – you’ll probably have some kind of deadline to work to. But that’s the big picture. And if you focus too much on that you’ll probably be too overwhelmed with the sheer size of your task, not to mention have no idea where to start. Cue: procrastination.
Instead, break your workload down into manageable chunks (AKA small pictures), and set yourself realistic milestones on a regular basis. For example, ‘complete module X by X date’ or ‘write X words by the end of the day’. Taking daily progress towards your goal (even if it’s small) will give you the motivation you need to keep going.
Then, reward yourself – whether it’s with an hour of Netflix or a chocolate digestive. And if you don’t fulfil all your goals? That’s OK. Review and re-evaluate. They don’t call it trial and error for nothing.
The end result is a clearer direction, targets you can actually reach, more rewards, and increased productivity. And biscuits. Lots of biscuits.
Time management skills
Let’s face it, you won’t get anywhere if you can’t manage your time effectively.
You might think you can avoid routine, structure, and timetables, but it might not turn out the way you hope. Before you know it, it’s 2am the day before your deadline and you’re frantically scrambling to write 5,000 words. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
That’s why if you’re studying from home, a self-made structure is more important than ever.
The good news is, you have autonomy. You don’t have to make it to your classroom, lectures, or seminars by a time that, quite frankly, does not suit you. Instead, you can organise your schedule in the way you want.
More productive at night? Make your study hours then. Prefer mornings? Set aside time to do work then. Like a lie-in? Start studying at 11am. As long as you’re consistently putting the work in, it doesn’t matter what time you do it. You just have to stick to the schedule you create.
The same goes for prioritising work. To make sure you’re doing everything in the right order, it’s vital to make daily to-do-lists to help keep you on track – putting the most important tasks first, and updating your progress as you go.
And remember: your routine should include breaks too.
You’re not at peak genius after three energy drinks and ten straight hours of studying. You’re tired and you don’t know where you are. Eating, sleeping, and relaxing are just as important as working, so make sure you create the right balance.
OK, you’re in your own study bubble.
It probably feels like turning off your phone and avoiding all forms of communication is the best way to focus – and it might be, sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you should cut off the outside world completely.
Maintaining remote communication with your classmates and tutors is a great way to ensure your work is on the right track, not to mention give you an opportunity to share any concerns you may have, ask questions, or request feedback.
Not only will this make you feel less isolated, it’ll also encourage a sense of teamwork and solidarity. For example, you’re not alone, because Sally totally got stuck on that module too. Phew.
But these aren’t the only people you can talk to. It’s also a good idea to follow thought leaders in the space you’re studying in – with social media providing the perfect platform to share ideas, discuss industry news, and keep up-to-date with the most recent developments.
If you hit a brick wall, simply reading about your subject area and getting to know people who are working or studying in a similar field could spark inspiration and give yourself a new perspective on your work.
Thank you, internet.
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