10 tips to help you master your new studying situation
You will come a long way with short sessions, clear goals and your cell phone hidden in a drawer.
If you are having difficulties concentrating and feeling a lack of self-discipline right now, you are definitely not alone. Working from home places great demands on structuring your own daily life, without the help of external frameworks and routines such as regular lectures and study groups. In addition, you may have concerns and uncertainty due to the coronavirus situation.
The uncertainty you are feeling is a normal reaction to this kind of situation. Still, try to focus on creating structure and routines in your everyday life, and try to feel good about yourself. Here you will find some specific advice on what you can do to still be effective in your studies.
1. Focus on short sessions with frequent breaks
Set up a daily schedule that also includes breaks. Then you won't have to make many choices during the day. Find out when in the day you are most concentrated and plan your study schedule from that.
Be sure to switch between different tasks. Some days it is easy to read the new syllabus. Other days, it is easier to repeat study notes. Choose fun activities during breaks.
2. Set clear, short-term goals
Make a list of realistic tasks in a session, such as:
- Answer questions
- Find a reference
- Write a summary of a text, lecture or conversation from your digital course
- Read 10 pages of the syllabus
Try as far as possible to follow your plan. At the same time, it is not the end of the world if you do not reach all your goals on some days. Your day will probably vary in line with what is happening around you, both close to you and in society at large. Perhaps working with your studies can be a welcome break from what is going on elsewhere in the world.
3. Use study techniques and be engaged in digital lectures
In addition to reading, making notes and writing, dialogue with your lecturer and with your fellow students is essential in acquiring new knowledge. Participate in the digital teaching of your study. To learn a new subject, it is useful to know how such a dialogue or conversation should be organized.
In order to have conversations that will lead to knowledge, the teacher should frame and give clear rules and expectations for his or her digital teaching. As a student, you should be active, ask questions, present and explain what you think about a problem, question or phenomenon.
Listen, support the arguments of others, build on an idea or suggest alternatives and different perspectives. Use chat and various tools to participate actively, and don't forget to take notes.
Tell the teacher if things do not work out. After the lessons and talks you can make a summary.
4. Join a study/colloquium group
If you do not have a study group, contact your teacher and ask for help to organize groups. Be generous with each other and let others into your group if they ask. Also, try to include others who may not have anyone to work with, as digital meeting places are the most important social arenas for many right now.
Keep in mind that it is allowed to spend some of your time in the study group on outside talk or take a break together in the Zoom room.
5. Avoid distractions
It is very tempting to look at news online or your feed on Facebook when your home studies are slow, but this will ruin your concentration. Rather, set a set time or times for this every day, and use this as a small reward during breaks.
For many of us it can help to put your cell phone in another room or drawer to make it less accessible.
6. Schedule your sleep
Sleep deprivation weakens the part of the brain that controls self-discipline. It is therefore important to get enough sleep. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day so that you maintain a normal circadian rhythm.
7. Eat healthy
The area of the brain that strengthens self-discipline needs energy from what we eat and drink. A healthy diet will ensure that you have a steady energy throughout the day and help with concentration.
8. Stay active
It strengthens self-discipline, makes you happier and can help with stiff shoulders and necks after reading a full day.
9. Find a digital study buddy
If you have someone to keep you company, it may also be easier to stick to the plan you have set up. Ally yourself with a fellow student so you can follow up and cheer on each other if needed.
10. Sit properly when studying from home
Your body needs a good sitting position even if you now have to work from the living room or kitchen table.
Sources: These text is based on research and texts from the Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Educational Sciences and the Faculty of Law.