Just like in countless other nations across the globe, the Australian workforce is now increasingly working from home. Students have also taken their learning online, and even though studying at home vs school can seem a bit daunting at first, it does have its perks.
So, before we go into how you can stay productive, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of working and studying at home. Researchers from Stanford University found that home working can lead to big improvements in performance, and a recent survey by Airtasker also showed that working from home can increase productivity and lead to healthier lifestyles.
Research into online learning shows that students can also benefit from learning at home due to the greater flexibility which allows them to work at their own pace in an environment that suits them.
So, whether you’re staying home temporarily or would like to make the switch to remote working and learning in the long term as well, give these tips for studying and working from home a try.
Develop a daily routine
Although working or studying at home does give you more flexibility, the first step towards maximising your productivity is to develop a routine. Research shows that routines can help us manage stress and anxiety. They also help us manage our time more effectively, which leads to improved productivity.
Of course, each person’s daily routine will probably look a little different depending on their situation at home, but the important thing is to give your days some structure. For instance, try to wake up around the same time each day and set aside specific hours for things like checking emails and completing work or study assignments, as well as daily exercise and regular mealtimes.
Find your productivity sweet spot
One of the most effective ways to get more done in less time is to find your productivity sweet spot and then plan your routine around this. Research suggests that we all have a specific time of day when we experience heightened energy and focus.
For the night owls among us, the most productive time of day might be in the hours after dinner, whereas an early bird may want to get the most difficult tasks out of the way before lunchtime. If you’re not sure when you’re most productive, track your activity for a few days using a journal or app to see when you feel most alert and when you tend to feel fatigued or easily distracted.
Staying focused on the task at hand can be a bit more of a challenge at home, as you’ll be surrounded by additional distractions such as personal phone calls or kids vying for your attention. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to take some precautionary measures minimise distractions.
This might mean switching off your phone for an hour so you won’t be distracted by notifications, setting aside specific times of day for checking and responding to emails, or using an app like RescueTime or SelfControl to block distracting websites. It’s also a good idea to communicate with the other members of your household in advance so that everyone will be aware of your routine and can be more mindful of it.
Create a dedicated work or study space
Sitting on your bed or sofa with your laptop can leave you very susceptible to distractions, so if you want to stay focused, it’s important to create a dedicated space for work and study.
Ideally this would be a room with a door you can close in order to block out the hustle and bustle of your household. But even if you don’t have an extra room in your home, you can still invest in a desk and create a private study corner in a low-traffic area of the home. Make a point of using this space for work and study only, so that when you sit down, you automatically shift into ‘work mode.’
Are you currently working or studying at home? What are your favourite productivity hacks? If you’ve got some time to spare and are looking for a new challenge, take a look at some of the flexible online courses available at Open Colleges, from Professional Communication to Design & Photography.