It’s happening again. Exams, coursework and dissertation deadlines are looming. Once again, you are ready to get to work when you walk into the library and almost every spot is full, and any spot that isn’t is beside a group who don’t understand the need to quiet. You have no choice but to work from home – but this can be one of the most difficult places to work. You need to be focused, self-disciplined and ignore distractions of technology and housemates. So, here are a few tips for staying focused when working from home.
Remove Any Distractions:
Start by removing any distractions, especially your phone. Often we start the day thinking that we have iron-tight willpower but as time goes on and your energy starts to drain, it can become harder to resist the temptation of our social media feeds. The easiest way to tackle this is to switch off your phone and put it out of sight. If you need your phone during the day, there are many apps designed to help you focus and limit distractions during work. The app ‘Forest’ is an example of this. It allows you set a timer to plant a virtual seed which will only grow if you remain on the app. This helps you to keep focused until your plant grows.
Develop a Routine:
Study leave comes with a distinct lack of lectures and seminars, the basis of our weekly routines are gone leaving us with empty, unstructured days. Developing a routine for before and after your day of study can help with focus. At the beginning of the day setting your intentions, having a shower or just getting dressed, although it is tempting to stay in your pyjamas, are all great ways to signal to your brain that it is the start of the day and time to focus. The same way that changing into pyjamas or having a bath can signal that it is time to relax. Balance is key.
Set Aside a Work Space:
While some people are happy to work anywhere in their home, it can be tricky to focus whenever you are working while sitting on the sofa, slouched in your favourite spot. This is because our brain likes to set aside separate spaces to work and to relax. Help your brain focus by setting aside a work space for during the day; it doesn’t have to be an entirely different room. Even setting aside a certain chair at your kitchen table that you sit in everyday to work can be enough to signal to your brain that it is time to focus.
Switch Up Your Scenery:
Sometimes being in the same place can be a bore; especially if you are staying in your room all day for study and relaxation. One of the great joys of having all your notes digitally is that you can work anywhere that has an internet connection. Something as simple as going to your nearest café or using the public library can be enough to reinvigorate you and keep you focused. Even taking a break and going for a walk outside can be enough to refocus the mind and help it be productive again.
It is important to remember while studying to find what works for you and stick to it. Stay hydrated, go outside, stay active and get plenty of sleep. Good luck!