Winter has arrived and our days are shorter, darker and colder. Add to that the fact that most educational institutions have taken their courses online and many students are studying at home. However, for a lot of us, the thought of being inside all day can bring on the winter blues and make it harder to stay motivated. We have some tips to stay on track at home and beat burnout this winter!
Create a good study space
A cosy and comfortable study space is even more important during the winter. Your body temperature drops when you aren’t moving and long hours at your desk quickly become uncomfortable. Invest in a portable heater and some blankets for colder days. Your seat should be comfortable and your desk should be big enough to fit all your study supplies. Get creative and pin some inspirational pictures or quotes about your goals to a board for when your motivation drops!
Social media, phones and loud housemates can all cause you to lose focus. Set yourself up for a good study session by minimising your distractions before you start. Turn the notifications off on your phone and sign out of social media on your computer. Let your housemates know that you will be studying so that they won’t interrupt you. Sit down with a snack and a glass of water so you don’t need to keep getting up.
Develop a schedule
Developing a schedule will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed about your workload.
You can use a paper planner, bullet journal or electronic calendar to organise your assignment and exam dates. If you have a clear idea of your weekly schedule it will be easier to organise your daily goals. If you are more productive in the morning you should schedule your social commitments in the afternoon. It’s important to create a schedule that suits you.
Use study techniques
There are many different study techniques you can use that make learning more interesting and engaging. These techniques also help you study more efficiently. A good way to learn new information is to use the process of paraphrasing and reflecting. This is where you rewrite new content into a short paragraph of your own words. Self quizzes involve creating your own questions and answers about a topic. Practice exams prepare you for the real thing and highlight the areas that you need to work on.
Use time management techniques
Take ten minutes before you start studying to plan out your day. Divide the sections of your day into the topics or projects you will be working on. It can also help to break down large projects into smaller ones. If you struggle to focus for long periods of time then consider using the Pomodoro technique. This involves setting a timer for 25-minute intervals of highly focused work. At the end of each interval, you take a five-minute break. You can personalise the timer to suit your own focus levels, for example, 30 minutes work and a ten-minute break.
Connect with others
Studying at home often feels a little isolating during the winter months. People don’t feel like going out in the cold and it sometimes feels easier to stay curled up in bed. But connecting with others will help you feel more motivated about studying. Knowing that others are also working is a great motivator and some healthy competition will push you to work harder.
Set up a study group with other students from your classes and create a class Facebook group message to keep yourselves accountable.
Take productive breaks
If you have assignments due, then breaks can sometimes feel like a waste of valuable time. But if you sacrifice your breaks then you won’t be doing your best work. Taking a break actually gives your brain the chance to rest and reset. If you have been sitting for a long period of time then make sure you move your body. Despite it being cold, a walk or run outside will clear your mind and get your endorphins flowing. You might want to call a friend, get a snack or simply step away from your desk for half an hour. Make sure you save watching TV shows and playing video games for after all of your study is complete or you might find it hard to get back to work!