Being a Student at Home: A Guide to Staying Focussed

find open days

No school, no uni, no work, right?! Wrong! There is still work to be done and staying focussed at home isn’t as easy as it sounds. Procrastination is becoming public enemy number 2 next to coronavirus, it’s just way too easy to slack with snacks in the fridge, Xbox and bed.

For some, it might seem like the dream, rolling out of bed at 8:30 to just open their laptop to work whilst they eat some breakfast and stick the kettle on. For others, though, this is hellishly difficult and staying motivated is extremely hard.

Each to their own, there’s no right or wrong here but at some point, anyone can become demotivated during lockdown so even if you’re loving it right now, it’s best to be well equipped with some tips if things do turn.

Having a Morning Ritual

Morning rituals are a great strategy to get your day started on the right foot. Even though you’re in your own home, you can fly out of the blocks and start the day with some zest and energy.

Morning routines should have 3 key elements:

  • Breakfast
  • Shower
  • Exercise

Which order you put them in is down to you. Research suggests that a bit of exercise before eating breakfast is very healthy. It can boost fitness, weight loss and enhance concentration. Wake up and try and do some stretches, star jumps, sit-ups and jogging on the spot – you might be surprised about how good you feel after.

You can then shower or eat breakfast in whatever order you like. Building a powerful morning routine can change your entire day. Use apps like Streaks to track your progress and set reminders to help keep you in check. Lockdown is also a great opportunity to clamp down on bad habits and Streaks is awesome there too.

Structure your Hours

Our daily structures have changed hugely. It’s your time to build a routine that works for you. To some extent, your routine might be set by what work you have to do, whether you’re attending e-lessons, lectures and seminars or have to do your own work in your own time. If it’s the latter, it’s best to draw up a plan that will guide you through the tasks for the day.

Try writing a list with the following:

  • 1 max priority task that you’ll be satisfied by doing
  • 2 smaller tasks that you need to do but are secondary to your main task
  • 1 task that you want to keep in mind but don’t necessarily have time to do now

This will help keep you focussed on main objectives without letting side projects fall to the back of your memory.

Make an Office

Lack of study space can be a big issue. We build positive associations to work when we’re in an office space that we find comfortable and productive. A poor workspace, or none at all, will leave you feeling lethargic and distracted. Keep your workspace clear with no distractions. Your phone might be a tricky candidate here, and the fact your PC or laptop is a gateway to all manner of distractions. It’s a test of willpower.

Find a zen state where you don’t need to flick through social media every 5 minutes by closing apps and turning your phone off whilst limiting your browser to just essential windows. The longer you go without being distracted the more you can feel good about yourself.

Take Breaks from Screen Time

We rely on screens more in lockdown than ever (as if that was possible!) Nevertheless, you need to get into the habit of looking away for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so if possible. You can couple this with a walk around the house, garden or other more intense forms of exercise. And that doesn’t mean walking around the house with a phone!

Taking breaks from screens takes the strain off your eyes and gives them a well-earned break from blue light created by LEDs which has been shown to negatively impact our sleep.

Stay Social (Whilst Distancing)

You can still stay social with friends by chatting regularly, calling and using video chat. You might have done this regularly at the start of lockdown but are getting out of the habit now. It’s time to renew the habit! We still don’t know how long this will last or whether it will happen again so it’s best to get into the practice of regular contact rather than assuming you’ll see everyone soon.