This year has been an unusual year for many students, with distance education being the ‘norm’ for many. Some have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, while others have found the experience overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you:
Time management – just like you have at school or college, set up a timetable and stick to it. Allocate set times to study and set times for breaks. You can do this using your computer or phone or even draw one and stick it on your wall. Choose one that works for you. Do take breaks, sitting for hours without a break is not healthy. Usually, I would suggest a short run or even a bike ride if you need a good break, but for some who are in isolation, this isn’t possible. In this case, do some stretches, star jumps, push-ups, and other similar exercises that don’t need a lot of space.
Get dressed for school – don’t be tempted to sit in your PJs all day. Get up and get dressed, showered and ready as if you’re going to out to school or college. Many people who work from home have found that getting dressed for work helps them to focus.
Set an alarm to wake up, and act as if you are going to school or college. If you wear a uniform for school, put it on. This action will put you in the frame of mind that you are going to do something productive and not lounge around and watch Netflix.
Learn to use your computer correctly – this is particularly relevant in terms using Microsoft Word. Many students struggle with assignments at the deadline, not so much with the content, but how to present their work. It is essential to take the time to learn some of the fundamentals, such as inserting an auto table of contents, creating charts, and tables, all of which should be clearly labelled. Time spent building these skills is invaluable and will save time in the long-run. I have created five short videos to help you get started with Word; take the time to watch each one and work through the activities.
Finding information – we are surrounded by information, and there are many good sources to help you. YouTubes are available on so many topics, including using a piece of software, understanding a mathematical problem, watching a documentary about a period in history, and more. Do be selective about choosing what to watch, because not all information is credible. However, you will see that many reputable organisations do upload some great videos.
Avoid distractions – Turn off your phone, or at least place it on silent. When using the computer, turn off notifications for social media, and e-mails. The temptation to check out Facebook or any other social media can be very difficult to avoid the reaction to have a look and check out the dancing cat video and cute puppy video turn the notifications off. This also applies to e-mails; I turn my e-mails off and check-in at the beginning, middle, and end of the day. By doing this, you avoid the temptation to look at the sale at your favourite store or see if the movie that has been released is worth booking, or saying hello to someone and starting a conversation. Hours can be saved by not continually looking at social media and e-mails.
These are a few tips to assist you, but it is also essential to ask for help. Many time what seems so difficult to work out by yourself can be easily solved by asking someone for help. This help can be as simple as being directed to a resource. Don’t sit and worry, ask. Everyone has had to learn something new at one time or another.