Managing Work and School in the Home

At a time when most of the country has experienced new levels of working and/or studying from home, it’s essential to keep the two separate so you can prioritize effectively and experience maximum productivity. We want to equip you with some of our best tips for success in managing these two endeavors from the same workspace:

Ensure you have the right tools.

If you’ve found yourself working and studying at home, it’s important to keep the two separate as much as possible. While your desk or table space will likely have the essentials (pens, notebook, computer, etc.), have a filing system with unique things you need for both endeavors. Perhaps one drawer of a file cabinet can be reserved for school and one for work documents. Pack separate bags: one with textbooks and the other with work materials and bring them with you to your workspace.

Think about your workspace.

If you’ve had success in the past studying in the campus library, don’t expect the same success sitting on your couch while your housemate binges The Office or the kids are playing hide and seek. Identify an area where you can sit and work: a desk, kitchen table, etc. Keeping your study space clean and uncluttered can often produce a more productive study time. A strong Internet connection is crucial for ensuring success when watching recorded lectures or posting to a discussion board – find a space close to a WiFi router.

Designate Study Time.

When studying in your living space, it is easy to get distracted. There’s laundry to fold, grass to mow, and snacks are close. Identify the hours when you are most productive and plan to get your schoolwork done during that time. Be sure to involve others in your house in the conversation about designating study time so they understand your expectations. Take breaks as needed and know that it’s okay to walk away if you’re feeling unproductive (you have permission!). Return when you’re refocused, and your efforts will be more effective.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Engage with your professor and fellow classmates early in your classes and as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to mention that you’re juggling work and school from home. This brings a sense of reality to the discussion and can often create a strong sense of camaraderie. Be active in EduCat discussions and set-up phone calls or Zoom meetings with your professor. Not only can this create a more engaging experience, but it also shows initiative and that you care about your academic performance.

Reward Yourself.

Positive reinforcement is an excellent tool for staying motivated. Create a task list and reward yourself as you check things off as complete. Find something that you can look forward to and treat yourself for a job well done.

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