Top Tips on Working from Home
We are now in a situation where working from home over the next few weeks to months will become the new normal.
Despite most of us being in lockdown at home, our academic work hasn’t been suspended until further notice.
The University of Warwick will still be setting “online” alternatives to on-campus examinations for intermediate and finalist undergraduates, similar to other universities. Across the UK, schools have closed but students including Year 12s are still enrolled in their A-Levels/IB courses and will be expected to work from home. It’s important for school/college and university students not to fall behind, even if face-to-face teaching has been cancelled. Here are tips on making the most of working from home.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
This may sound counterintuitive right now. What do we plan? How far in advance can we feasibly plan? What about all the uncertainty? Whilst indoors for the foreseeable future and potentially even when restrictions are lifted, you’ll need to plan on organising your time to identify how to tackle your workload. Many of you know the requirements for the rest of the academic year. Whether this is completing coursework/assignments, revising for end of year exams (online or self-administered mocks) and finishing up on learning on modules. Identify how you can best divide your time to complete this work
Specifically, you can approach planning by using various tools and applications. I have found that using Microsoft To-Do lists as useful in creating a day-to-day checklist.
Also, I have created an excel document with each day generically planned out. For example, I have blocked out a whole week to do my Economics assignment and each day represents a different element e.g. planning, reading, writing sections. There’s flexibility to adjust with my work-pace and unforeseen events. The idea of planning is to ensure discipline by breaking down tasks to make them manageable. Each time you tick something from the list, it provides satisfaction and a real morale boost.
Create a Routine
After creating a rough plan, outline a day-to-day routine. For example, if you aim to work 6-hours a day, split this into maybe 3 blocks of 2-hour work sessions. Some people, like myself, are early risers and we tend to be the most productive in the morning. Others are late risers and find it difficult to get started early on in the day, which means productivity picks up as the day passes. Which category do you fall into?
Dress for the Day and Adjust your Environment
I find that when I have to work on an assignment or something important, being dressed-up e.g. smart-casual makes me productive as I usually feel fresh and ready to go. Sometimes your environment makes a difference. Not everyone, including myself, has a work-desk or a quiet house environment. Maybe you can do important work in some environments and other mundane tasks in a more casual environment?
Schedule in breaks, even with your 2-hour work sessions. I’m guilty of not doing this enough, which often leads to eye strain. Walk around your house, go to the kitchen to get food or out into the garden for fresh air. Sometimes you’re in the element and going for a break may disrupt your flow, so take an extended break afterwards to recharge yourself.
With the “Breaking News” cycle and being tagged in all sorts of challenges on Instagram, it’s easy to not end up sticking to the schedule and becoming unproductive. There are ways to get around distractions. On certain smartphones, you can set time-limits to the amount of time spent on each app. Also, there are apps designed to enhance productivity. Ease yourself into your work and begin working- reading or writing. Once you get started, you’ll naturally get sucked into working.
Use this valuable time indoors to do some work from home!
Complete the uncompleted work. Be proactive.
For school students, if exams are coming up or are postponed, set-up a mock exam season. Create an exam timetable, do an unseen past exam paper and send it to your teachers to get feedback. University students don’t get a free pass- there are still “online” exams to revise for and assignments to write. I have some revision tips in my previous blog.
Let me know if these tips were helpful. Comment below and share what tips you would give to others!