Whether you’re working alone at home, or in a residence, flat, or house full of people, chances are you’ve made some changes to the way you’re studying. We’re all trying new ways to work, solo and with others. Here are a few things to think about as you find your ways to strike a balance of work, rest, and play; maintain concentration and productivity; and stay connected with friends and family.
When are your best times of day for focus and concentration? How do you take advantage of that prime time? How can you ensure you’re not interrupted during that time?
What are the various key dates and deadlines coming up?
How do you use calendars – electronic or paper – to manage and prioritise your tasks?
What is your workspace like? What kind of changes or additions could you make to create an environment that suits your ways of working?
Do you have one dedicated space at home for studying?
Are there different spaces you could use?
How do some spaces lend themselves to different types of tasks – desk, sofa, garden, balcony?
Think about your daily routine: what things do you do regularly, on most days, or several times a day? Of these habits, which ones do you think are constructive? Which habits would you like to change?
Do you set boundaries between study and leisure? If so, how well do you and people around you respect them? If not, could formalising your time and energy between studying and relaxing be useful? What works for you?
Thinking back to “prime time” for intellectually demanding tasks – what are the other times of day when you really could use a break? Are there regular patterns in your day?
How varied is your leisure time? With physical activity, fresh air, playing games, naps, time away from computers/devices, cooking? How seriously should you take having fun?
How well do you eat and sleep? Have your eating or sleeping patterns changed? How well do they suit you?
What do you do to connect with people around you—near and far? Who are the people you are (or could be) in touch with regularly? How do you stay in contact with them?
Who can you call on for support with personal matters? Concerns about your study? Are they people you already know, or have you yet to meet them?
There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions. What’s more, what works well one week might not work the next! Even if you find a great approach to getting an essay done, you might need to change your strategy once you’re revising for exams or conducting research. We’re all developing new ways to work – with some hits and some misses!
Take time to reflect on how you’re working, studying, and carrying on with your everyday life. Use the questions above – and come up with your own. Think of your own responses; it might be helpful to keep a journal.
Be willing to question how well the ways you’re studying are serving you. If you need to, be creative and seek new approaches.
Be patient with yourself and with others. No one has tried to study or work under the circumstances that we are currently experiencing. Remember, it’s not straightforward or easy for anyone!
Share your experiences with others. Ask them how they’re managing, too. Whether it’s with your classmates or friends and family—or your academic mentor, course teachers, or LSE LIFE study advisers, it can be good simply to talk about it.