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Self-discipline in the home office

Working from home requires discipline! It is important to have a work-life balance despite it taking place in the same part of your home, and that requires a little bit of imagination. Here are five steps for a productive day working from home.

Pretend to go to work

Get ready in the morning as though you are going to a lecture or to the library. Have breakfast, wear clothes that you would wear if you were meeting people and walk or ride your bike as if you were heading to school. If you want to go the extra mile, wear shoes indoors and prepare a packed lunch.

Create a workplace

Remove all distractions when you are studying (yes, mobile too – turn it off, put it as far away from your workplace as possible) and once you are free, move everything study-related away (including programs and tabs on your computer). If possible, use different spaces in your home for study and leisure, get creative and move things around to mark the beginning and end of the working day.

Make a schedule and share it

Decide beforehand when you will study and when you will be free. Make a "to-do" list. Let people in your household know ahead of time when you are busy and when you are available. Otherwise, there is a risk that all of your time will be potential study time and you will never feel free, regardless of whether you study or not.

Actively take breaks 

Schedule breaks, both short and long, and set the clock. Neither the brain nor the body can manage hours at a time in front of the computer, and above all it is difficult to stay focused. You can exercise a little during short breaks, dance to a favourite song or just stare at something farther away than your screen to rest your eyes. On longer breaks you can make plans with a classmate to have a walk-and-talk telephone conversation or take a Zoom coffee break so that it feels like a real break and not just browsing the internet. 

Sign in

If you have a lesson taking place on Zoom in real time or on another online forum, join those sessions, even if they are recorded and you can watch them afterwards. If you do not have any real-time teaching – schedule some time when you can study digitally with classmates so that you have a meeting to attend and social stimulation. Having the camera on and seeing each other is enough for positive peer pressure, but a step up is to share your sub-goals with each other and give each pep talks during the breaks.