How to be productive while studying at home

We’ve mapped out some tips to get your productivity back on track. 

You don’t have to get up with enough time to drive to those 9 a.m. tutes anymore because they’re on Zoom.

Your Uni mate isn’t texting you to save them a seat in your next lecture either.

It feels like you’ve been watching way too many TikTok videos and Insta Stories and, quite frankly, you’ve lost track of which day of the week it is.

How are you going to stay productive and motivated to attend class, get your weekly readings done and chip away at those assessments when life has lost a bit of its structure?

Here’s a list to get you started.

Find a routine

Start your day right. Get up at the same time each morning, make yourself breakfast, go for a walk – whatever it is you want to do each day before you hit the books (or laptop). Use this activity as a cue to kick-start your daily motivation. Map out your study over different days and schedule blocks of time for different subjects or tasks. Try to stick to your plan, and leave a bit of buffer room.

Create a study plan

The key to getting through big tasks without becoming overwhelmed is to break them down into clearly defined small tasks. Target the key tasks you can tackle one-at-a-time to avoid being overwhelmed by some huge, intimidating challenge.

Set goals that are realistic, and break them down into small, concrete steps. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T:

  • Specific – what are you aiming to achieve?
  • Measurable – how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
  • Attainable – are your goals or steps realistic?
  • Relevant, and – how will each task help you to achieve your goals?
  • Time sensitive – when will you achieve each task/goal by?

Plan your study in manageable blocks

Who can study for eight hours straight? No-one. Don’t even try it. You’ll just end up procrastinating. Break up your study into tasks, and allow realistic chunks of time to complete each task. Once you’ve completed your tasks within a block of study, reward yourself. It could be an episode of your favourite show, a walk to your local park, or anything you like!

Limit digital distractions

Okay, there’s no need to go wild and break things. Simply log out of Facebook on your computer and put your phone in another room for the duration of your study session. Check it during study breaks as a reward.

Set up the perfect study workspace

To prepare for success, it’s important to have a study space that works for you. You’ll want it to be quiet, comfortable, light and bright. We’ve put together some tips on setting up the sort of workspace that’ll will let you keep on conquering Uni from home.

Plan around your assessments

Head to the La Trobe Assessment Planner online and enter your assessment start date, due date and subject code. Click ‘Calculate’ and it’ll create a personalised set of tasks and timeframes to complete them in for your assessment.

Don’t multitask

While multitasking can make us feel pretty productive, it actually has the opposite effect. Research increasingly shows that multitasking negatively affects and reduces productivity, and instead mindfulness is the key. Time blocking could be the answer for you, rather than jumping all over the place trying to do too many things at once.

Get online study guidance from the Learning Hubs and the library

There are several reliable services to make studying for a tricky assessment feel much more manageable. Even though you’re not on campus, those services are still available – and you can access them from wherever you are right now. Get across the Learning Hubs and workshops available online and via Zoom, as well as the Library’s online services.

Set aside time out for yourself

In times like these, self-care is essential. You can’t do your best work if you’re not taking care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant self-care regime; keeping it simple works too. Practise mindfulness, head outside (away from other people) and go for a walk in nature, run yourself a nice bath, get some chores like washing knocked off your list, watch Netflix, read a book, bake something delish – whatever you’re into and that gives you a little bit of reprieve or reduces your stress levels. Build these activities into your study plan as small rewards to keep you going. And remember, you have extra support including advice and services to help you during this time from La Trobe’s Health and Wellbeing team.

Get an online study group going

Setting up a study group is a great way to keep each other motivated throughout the semester. It always helps to discuss the content with other members of your class. Some of La Trobe’s most successful students revealed that explaining their interpretation of the content to other class members actually helps them better understand it too. You can set up a Zoom meeting with other members of your class and chat about everything from what you’re learning to the different snacking inventions you’ve created whilst in isolation. Chances are, you’re probably all going through some similar emotions right now, so chatting as a group is a great way to support one another too.

Remember your end-game

Remember your ultimate goal. Whether it’s to succeed in your subject, complete your degree, lay the foundations for a career change or get your start on the ladder. Use your ‘why’ as motivation to get up, show up and stay committed. You can do this!