It is so easy to get distracted when studying or working from home. There are so many things to distract you – from your better half asking (some might say nagging) you not to eat unnecessarily to children wanting to play, from your neighbours knocking on your door asking for some sugar (again) to someone unexpected ringing the doorbell.
Now that you have decided to do an online master’s degree programme, you must be prepared for the challenges that studying at home entails. Most people don’t take these challenges seriously, and by the time they realise they have fallen behind in their programme, it may be too late to recover. So, tackle these challenges from the start.
In addition to all the “normal” challenges of studying at home, COVID-19 has forced some of us to isolate and work from home and forced children to stay home all day too.
How do you stay on top of your schoolwork? What can you do to help yourself study better at home?
Here are 6 tips to help you get started:
1. Location, Location, Location
The first thing you need to do is have an area at home dedicated to your study. Make the space comfortable; add a few personal items to this area that give you ownership. And finally, make sure all the study materials you require are with you in the study, so you have no excuses to get distracted. Remember, when you work in silence, success does all the talking! Set up the study in a place where the external distractions will be minimal.
2. Organise like a pro
People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with the schedule of your family. This will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.
3. Chewing Gum
According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), chewing gum can enhance attention and promote well-being and work performance. The impact of chewing gum is said to be more than that of coffee, the catch being that the effects of chewing gum will last for only about thirty minutes. So, make sure you use the thirty minutes of heightened focus wisely and stock up on sugarless, flavourless gum.
4. Cutting the noise and setting boundaries
Having your family and friends around can get a little noisy. Getting your family, especially kids and pets, to understand that you are studying and not just sitting back and relaxing while reading your favourite LITRPG novel (Gnomes Rule!) might be difficult and, at times, heart-breaking (I know it is hard to say no to kids). But once they understand your schedule and that you are not to be disturbed when you are at your study, they will learn to give you your space.
Another way to reduce the noise is music. Put on an over-the-ear headset and, in low volume, listen to some classical music. It will also have the added advantage of keeping you calm.
5. Engage all your senses
You are already listening to online lectures and reading articles, so why not make notes and ask questions? One of the best ways to learn is by being engaged in your studies, so try to increase the number of ways you can be involved with what you are studying.
Another good way to learn and retain more information is to teach, so once you have a handle on a subject, start by pretending to teach it to someone. Prepare for questions you might get asked by students, maybe join a study group with your fellow students and have a go at teaching them.
If you are not the teaching kind, then doodle. According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, during an experiment on memory and retention, it was found that people who doodled were better at paying attention to the message and recalling the details. They recalled 29% more information!
6. Celebrate the accomplishments
When you have successfully completed a task, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching! Have a couple of squares from that bar of chocolate. You will find that celebrating your success will lift a weight from your shoulders that you did not even know you carried, which will help you focus better and remain motivated.
If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in earning your master’s degree.
You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.
These tips are useful as studying combined with work is not easy….Celebrating success is in fact something i should consider!!!
Another tip that gets me going with my studies is planning my learning periods around my hobbies. For example, fixing a learning period between two football matches. This restrictive time period makes me more focused on my learning, maybe because I feel more relaxed and can concentrate much better.
Hi FAN, An excellent suggestion, and thank you for sharing it with us. I am sure it will prove useful to a number of our readers.
Thank you for sharing these tips!
I am considering pursuing an online MBA programme, and stumbled upon this blog post. I am a fan of your writing style!
Keep up the good work!!
Adam from Canada
You are welcome, and thank you for your compliment. And, I hope to see you join one of our programmes soon 🙂