Studying Productively, Remotely
Hello everyone! Welcome back to the new semester and I hope the first week has been great for you. Even though Singapore is currently in Phase Three, most of our modules are still conducted remotely through e-learning due to COVID-19 measures. Faced with such a new normal, we may find it difficult to navigate e-learning, online interactions with our peers and lectures while keeping up our studying productivity.
Here are some tips adapted from “How To Work From Home” by Erik Devaney that I found useful that will hopefully work for you as well :)
Getting Started Early
Instead of physically attending lectures at Lecture Theatres (LT), we often find ourselves just switching on our electronic devices, clicking into a zoom link and voila – lecture time!
Miraculously, our brain somehow has to assume this productive frame of mind within that few moments.
While it is undeniable that attending e-lectures is so much more convenient as compared to spending precious time (which could be better spent resting/studying) commuting to a physical LT, you may find that this much shortened “start-up” time to get you into the right frame of mind for a (dull, maybe?) two-hours zoom session may just be the last thing you need for a productive lecture.
Consider getting started about 30 minutes before the session, grab a cup of coffee or tea, make yourself comfortable and perhaps go through any readings you need for the session. Your brain will thank you for that additional buffer time to get into a serious studying mood. >:)
Source: Viktor Hanacek
Finding a Dedicated Workspace
This may seem very common-sensical but trust me, it helps! Knowing that many of us have the pre-COVID-19 habit of studying outside of our homes, be it in libraries or cafes, this may be very relevant as we struggle get into that productive mood in our homes.
Although we are in Phase Three, many cafes may not be as open to customers studying, and libraries may not be the most conducive place to have an e-tutorial where there will be discussion sessions. In light of this, some of us may prefer to just stay at home where it is safer and more convenient to attend online sessions in ease.
However, this may adversely affect our productivity. We all know… the siren lull of the bed for a short cat nap between lessons and next thing we know, we have just spent the entire day slacking, productivity and readings be damned.
What we can do to adjust our frame of mind would be to dedicate a specific room or corner in your home to e-learning. Spaces that you usually associate with leisure time, such as the couch or your bed are a huge no-no. Overtime, your brain will start accepting that once you are in “that” chair, and “that” position, it is time for a productive studying sesh!
Communicating With Your Housemates
Let’s face it, most of us do not live alone. And with the current situation, more often than not we are not the only one studying/working from home (WFH). Hence, it is extremely crucial for us to communicate our WFH/e-learning expectations with whoever is sharing the space with us.
For example, you could share your timetable with your housemates to inform them that you will be occupied during your e-learning sessions for them to not disturb or distract you.
Something that I think those sharing a room with their sibling can relate to is that there are times when both you and your sibling have online sessions concurrently. Do remember to communicate clearly and early with one another, compromise and reach a solution on who should have the space during that time.
Connecting With Technology
Although e-learning may not exactly be something that is entirely new to us, having been through a semester of it and all, it can still feel lonely and isolated from the rest of society when you are just faced with your electronic devices and the droning never-ending monotonous lectures all day.
What can help with both your studying productivity and your mental health can just ironically be connecting with technology – that is, connecting with your friends through technology! Try setting up zoom study sessions with your friends. A little peer pressure to keep each other in check and some Netflix sessions or even online games to motivate and perk yourselves up when bored may just be what you need to boost the effectiveness of your studying sessions :)
That's all from me! I hope these little tips helped you a thing or two in making your studying-from-home more fruitful and productive. Remember to take breaks, deep breaths and all the best for your semester ahead~