10 Tips to Manage Studying from Home
Home Studying in Times of Social Distancing
Over the past weeks, the COVID-19 virus has utterly disrupted our daily lives. While many may have joked about wanting to spend more time working from home, few will have wished for a lock-down accompanied by social distancing. Being forced to work from home five days a week, with no time for preparation, can turn out to be quite a challenge.
This unique situation is allowing you to grow as a digital leader in a world where change is motivating us to continuously innovate.
Navigating an unfamiliar work situation
However, we at HHL are very fortunate to be able to adapt most of our work to an online environment. Something not everyone is able to do at the moment. We are grateful to have managed the transition to online lectures and group work within such a short period of time. Our students have been paramount in making this change so easy and successful.
Therefore, we would like to say thank you and hope we can make this transition period a little easier with these ten tips on how to study remotely from home.
1. Structure your workday
You’ll hear this a lot, but that’s because this is so essential. A little structure can bring peace of mind and allow you to feel in control of your workload. Set yourself a start and end time to your workday. It can help to add a small daily ritual, like brewing your favorite kind of coffee in the morning.
Be sure to add breaks and maybe a walk or two to your daily routine while home studying. It can be tempting to stay indoors all day, but that can slowly drain your energy level and make it harder to concentrate.
Schedule transition time
Now that you work from home you have obviously gained all the time you would normally spend commuting. This is great but also comes with a flip side.
It’s easy to forget to plan for transition time. You end up doing one task after the other and completely forget to transition out of one task and take a moment to mentally prepare for the next thing on our list. Allow yourself to get up, walk around the room, grab a drink and continue with the next group meeting.
2. Create a designated work space
Working from home can quickly lead to a blending of work and leisure time. Combat that from the start, by creating a designated workspace where possible. It’s totally fine to adjust your work day to your personal preferences, as long as you keep all your deadlines and meetings. If you like a slow start to the day – that’s okay. This is your chance to see what works best for you. It might even come in handy when it’s time to write that final thesis or dissertation.
Some people like to switch their workplace depending on what tasks they are working on. Why not do that at home. Group work in the kitchen and lesson preparation at your desk. This is your home. Make it work for you.
3. Prioritize your health
Focusing on your health is more than just remembering to wash your hands and practice social distancing. While those are very important, you’ll want to incorporate some of the activities you might normally do outside of your home into your new home office life.
Check out an online workout video, download a meditation app and most importantly indulge in some healthy and delicious food. You’re home now, why not use the chance to prepare a homemade meal?
4. Manage virtual team work
Thankfully virtual team work is quite the norm for many teams nowadays, which means there are a lot of smart tools to choose from. To avoid having to check a million and one inboxes, decide on one project management tool to work with. As HHL students you have access to the Microsoft Office 360 suite which includes Microsoft Teams. A useful tool to hold video conferences, share files and chat with group members.
Be sure to save all your documents in a cloud. This might sound like a no brainer, but in this case it’s better to be safe than sorry. No one needs a meltdown because the computer crashed right before a paper’s due.
5. Stay focused and prevent procrastination
Working from home means we are in charge of our own time. That can initially be difficult when there’s a multitude of things that can distract us. Try turning of your phone notifications – this can make a huge difference.
Close your email inbox while working on other tasks and silence all technical gadgets. Add some noise-canceling headphone or turn on some music if that helps you relax.
Remember those breaks we talked about? They’re still a good idea.
The HHL Community is here to support and guide you through this time.
6. Manage media exposure
Be mindful of how and what media coverage you are currently consuming. It is vital to be informed, but all the various media platforms can quickly feel overwhelming. If you are feeling anxious and fearful, it’s okay to limit your news intake and allow yourself a short break to breath.
7. Stay connected
Social distancing is not comfortable. For some people it’s just boring, for others it can be outright anxiety inducing. Staying connected with friends and family via phone, video and chat can help you feel less alone. Little things like a shared lunch break via video hangout are a great way to keep updated on what’s going on in other people’s lives.
Student Affairs has created a virtual “HHL Living Room” on Microsoft Teams for all HHL students. You are welcome to join this space and connect with other students and exchange tips on how to study remotely.
8. Ask for help if you need it
Studying remotely comes with new freedom, but also some initial challenges. The HHL Community is here to support and guide you through this time. We would like to encourage you to use the technology available and reach out to your classmates if you have any questions.
The professors and staff will do their best to answer any additional requests. Please keep in mind that everyone is adapting to a new situation at the moment and working extra hard to transition to a digital learning experience.
9. Indulge in a little digital detox
Virtual learning is synonymous with spending a lot of time in front of your screen. That’s not necessarily something everybody enjoys. If you end up spending your breaks browsing through social media (don’t worry, we all do), your brain might start feeling a little fuzzy by dinner.
Luckily, there are multiple apps that will block your screen and keep you from spending hours on your phone. With fun apps like Forest you can watch a tree grown on your screen for the duration of your digital detox time.
10. Relive old memories
Finally, if you are longing for some social connections, why not go through old photo albums, yearbooks or those secret notebooks from school? Remembering fun times with friends will lift your spirits and might even encourage you to share a memory with those loved ones.
Don’t have any photo albums? Now’s the time. You can order prints through various online services or create a digital photo album, if that’s your thing.
- Start a newsletter for your friends.
- Take part in one of the many challenges on social media (especially Instagram).
- Cook dinner with friends via video hangout.
- Support small business by ordering from their online shop.
- Send a physical letter with a handwritten note. Remember how much fun it was to receive those?
- Learn a new skill and take an online course (Skillshare, Udemy & Co).
- Organize a virtual game night with friends. Fun drinks recommended.
Removing the pressure to optimize
Is all this talk about managing your extra free time leaving you feeling guilty? We understand that the current situation can feel really challenging – technically and emotionally. On the other side, this crisis also provides us with a new perspective on things. One we didn’t ask for and might not even like, but it does allow us to realize what we value.
More importantly, it’s okay to not want to optimize every free minute of your time. If you feel like you would just like to lounge on the couch for an evening to two, that’s really okay! No one should feel like they need to produce stimulating and engaging content nonstop.
Focusing on new growth opportunities
We hope these 10 tips can help you out while you try to navigate your new home office situation. We invite you to celebrate the wins along the way and focus on how this unique situation is allowing you to grow as a digital leader in a world where change is motivating us to constantly innovate.
Hej there! I'm Alexandra, Content Marketing Manager at HHL. One of my favorite tasks is interviewing the HHL community and sharing their success stories with you. My goal is to create a digital home for all the experiences and stories found in our community - and hopefully inspire you to join us on one of our campuses in Leipzig, Cologne or Munich.