Sadhvi Mathur 8 min read Academic Tips and Info, Coronavirus

10 Tips To Stay Productive While Studying At Home

When you’re at school, it’s easier to remain focused and productive than it is when you’re at home. At home, you have to do your best to avoid the lure of your phone, the TV, your laptop, your bed, and so much more! At school, many of these distractions aren’t even present. So how can any student, even the most responsible ones, study efficiently when they’re not in the school environment? 

 

There are a few simple things that students can do in their everyday life to make sure that they are productive while they’re working from home. If you want to be able to study hard during the day so you can have some carefree hours to yourself in the evening, check out these easy-to-implement study tips. 

 

10 Tips To Stay Productive While Studying At Home

 

1. Create a Distraction-Free Study Space

 

The key to studying at home is to create a space within your home that has some of the benefits of a school or library, with as few of the distractions of the home as possible. In other words, you need a nook where you can work without a TV, bed, or other distracting objects near you. 

 

Some students have achieved this by setting up their study space on a dining room table in their home. Others have set up a desk in the hallway so that they won’t be tempted to go to their room and sleep. Some may be able to use the common computer room or study space.

 

Of course, this study space doesn’t have to be barren and plain. You can have a bright and comfortable study space with color, light, and even fun things like stress balls and bean bag chairs for when you need a break. As long as this is a space where you can block out the rest of the world and spend a few hours focused on schoolwork, you can decorate and set it up however you want.

 

2. Follow a School-Like Schedule 

 

The easiest way to mimic the focus and productivity that you have in school is by working on the same schedule you would when you’re in school. Similarly to how you spend consecutive periods in different subjects during the school day, you can set a schedule for yourself that has you spend a certain amount of consecutive hours studying each subject every day. 

 

This routine may seem a bit odd at first since you won’t be moving around like you do when you switch classes at school. However, much like you get used to the school schedule in a few days after summer vacation, you’ll get used to the new schedule you set for yourself as well. 

 

The great thing about setting your own schedule is that you can create a schedule that is optimal for your study habits. You can set as many breaks as you want for as long as you want. You can give yourself as much time as you need to study each course sufficiently. Unlike school, where every study follows the same schedule, you can optimize your study-at-home schedule to fit your study needs. 

 

3. Dress The Part 

 

Remember the feeling of comfort and laziness you feel when you’re in pajamas (some of you may be feeling it right now)? Now think about the feeling of purpose and determination you can feel once you’ve showered and gotten dressed for the day? They’re very different mindsets, and you can probably guess which one is best for studying from home. 

 

Something as simple as getting ready in the morning as if you were going to school can really put your mind in a more determined, focused state. This can really help you get into that focused, productive mindset. In other words, if you dress the part of a focused student, you have a better chance of acting the part of a focused student. 

 

So when you get up in the morning, if you know you have a long day of studying ahead of you, take a shower, brush your teeth, and put on clothes as if you were going to school. You’ll likely feel refreshed, clean, and ready to tackle the day’s work. 

 

4. Avoid Your Bed At All Costs

 

Most students have fallen prey to this sneaky trap. We get tired in the middle of the day from being productive in the morning. We think we can take a small nap break. Next thing we know, we’ve slept most of the afternoon away and then wake up not wanting to do any more studying. It is so easy to do, and it can ruin what could have been a very effective study day. 

 

So, as a general rule, when you’re trying to study, avoid your bed as much as you can. Try to study in a chair or at a desk, where you have to sit up and pay attention. If you let yourself lie down or try to study in bed, you are guaranteed to feel sleepier and not be as productive. If you don’t really have any other space to study, try to sit on your bed a different way, away from your pillows, so you’re less tempted to fall asleep.

 

5. Take Breaks

 

There is no sense in trying to study for 10-12 hours straight if your body and mind can’t handle that. After the first few hours, you are going to get tired, and your brain won’t be able to absorb and retain information as well as it could if you were rested. At this point, you can study all you want, but you will not be studying productively. 

 

It’s okay to take periodic breaks during the day as often as you need to. Mind you, these won’t be long breaks. You don’t want to lose your motivation! But you can take 15 minutes here and there to clear your head, recharge, and be ready to tackle those books again at full force. 

 

It’s important to note that the most effective breaks are those where you get away from your study space and take your mind off of the task at hand. You’re not really going to be resting your mind if you’re still at your desk and thinking about all the assignments you have to do. Instead, walk around the house, take a short walk, get something to eat, and just clear your mind as much as you can. 

6. Form Virtual Study Groups

 

Who says that study groups need to be in person? In this day and age, with technologies like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or just a plain phone call, you can connect with your fellow classmates from the comfort of your home and help each other learn just as if you were together in class. 

 

There are several benefits to virtual study groups. Some video conferencing platforms allow you to record your meetings, so you can look back on the study session you and your peers had if you ever forget what was said. You can also mute yourself whenever you need to so that you can multitask, if needed. Finally, the home environment seems far less lonely and maybe even more fun when you have students like you to talk to you and compare notes with. 

 

If you think it’ll help your productivity, try to connect with some friends and form a virtual study group. Even if you don’t get as much out of it academically, it may be beneficial for your mental health while you’re studying at home. 

 

7. Get Your Other Chores Out Of The Way 

 

One of the most annoying things that can happen to a teenager is to be working in the zone, then to be distracted by their parents asking them to do the dishes, laundry, etc. Taking unplanned breaks during your study time to do something else can really mess up your concentration. It’s hard to get back in the zone once you’ve been pulled out of it. 

 

So if you know that you also need to do some household chores in addition to your math homework, try to knock the chores out either before or after your study session. This way, you won’t be constantly worried about getting them done, and you’ll be less likely to be distracted while you’re trying to study. 

 

8. Set Boundaries For Yourself 

 

If you find that you’re going to be working from home for a few days or even a few weeks, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re setting boundaries for yourself that will allow you to keep your sanity while not leaving the house. For instance, if you let yourself study for 12 hours a day for days on end, odds are that you are quickly going to get really sick of studying at home. 

 

Set time limits for yourself each day. Maybe you won’t start working until mid-morning so that you can go for a run and eat a healthy breakfast. Maybe you won’t work best at 6 PM since you want to spend that time with your family. If you set these boundaries for yourself, you will help keep your mental health in check. You may also find that placing time limits on your study time helps to motivate you to get more done during the hours that you are studying. Generally, the more time we give ourselves to do something, the more time we take.

 

You can also consider setting physical boundaries for yourself. Maybe while you’re studying, you make a deal with yourself to not go into your bedroom. This way, you won’t interact with as many things that can distract you. On the flip side, try to not dawdle in your workspace after you’re done studying for the day. And, if you need to take a break, go to another room; that way, you associate your study space with studying. 

 

9. Exercise Regularly 

 

It is well known that exercising can give your body the endorphins and serotonin that it needs to be relaxed, focused, and more productive during the day. The downside to studying at home is that you probably don’t have a gym inside your house where you can get in an intense hour-long workout. While you can’t necessarily do a full workout if you’re stuck at home, there are little exercises that you can do at home to help you be more productive. 

 

If you have an empty and clean space in your home, you can do floor exercises like crunches, push-ups, and jumping jacks. There are tons of YouTube videos with quick workouts, and they don’t have to be boring; there are even dance workouts! If you are in a safe neighborhood, you can go on a quick walk or run before you start exercising to get your blood pumping. And, if all else fails, walking around your house counts as more exercise than you might think. 

 

Overall, exercising and staying healthy will not only be good for you in the long run, but will also help your productivity in the short run.

 

10. Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To 

 

At the end of the day, if you’re truly not feeling like you’re studying your best, try to set some goals for yourself and reward yourself for hitting those goals. For instance, you can set a goal to memorize 100 flashcards by the end of the day. If you do, you’ll reward yourself with an hour of watching your favorite show. 

 

When you have to study from home for a while, it can be easy to fall into a rut. After all, you’re in the same place day after day, and your days aren’t that varied. So positive reinforcement mechanisms like this can really help to keep you going and give you a reason to keep studying. 

 

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Sadhvi Mathur
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Sadhvi is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she double majored in Economics and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!