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Studying at Home: Your Survival Guide

 

Do you know the right way to study at home? Hitting the books at home is the most productive choice for some students. But before you take out your textbooks, let’s look at the pros and cons of studying at home. In order to be the most productive, you need to know how to study at home, and we have just the right tips to help.

 

 

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Studying At Home

Advantages

 

1. It’s comfortable

 

Many people, especially homebodies, enjoy studying at home because it is a comfortable and low-pressure environment. The decor is bound to be to your liking, and you get to wear pjs all day (although it may not be the best idea, as we’ll see later).

 

 

2. You have everything you need

 

No need to carry around your whole desk and kitchen in your backpack. Studying on campus can be frustrating when you’re carrying around all of your textbooks, notebooks, laptop, and of course, all the food and snacks to get you through the day. At home, you never have to worry about leaving your important notes behind, because everything is right there.

 

 

UoPeople student prepares a healthy lunch at home

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

 

 

3. Free food!

 

Well, not exactly free, but lunches on campus can start to rack up a hefty bill. Food that you buy at the grocery store for meals are way more affordable than buying lunch at a cafe or cafeteria every day. Plus, you have the chance to buy healthier foods when you’re stocking up your fridge.

 

 

4. Your space, your rules

 

You can practice your presentation out loud (given you’re not disturbing your roommates), and that goes for your favorite music as well. No need to wear headphones! You can set the mood with your favorite ambient music and still listen to a lecture or read your notes out loud.

 

 

5. No last call

 

As opposed to studying at the library, your home doesn’t have closing hours, so there’s no need to pack up and relocate if you’re being productive in the evening and want to keep going.

 

 

6. Learning with health conditions

 

For those who need to stay home for health conditions or other reasons (looking at you, coronavirus), studying at home with the help of distance learning or online material can be a real lifesaver. Even if studying at home is not a choice, but a necessity, there are great ways to play to the advantages of being home and tips help with the downsides.

 

 

Disadvantages

 

1. Distractions

 

Studying at home also comes with a lot of distractions. You can easily fall into the trap of doing chores instead, checking social media, or even taking a nap, when you should be studying.

 

 

2. Procrastination

 

Because it’s such a low-pressure environment, it can be hard to stick to a strict schedule. This can easily lead to unproductive days and lots of procrastination — especially if you’re already prone to procrastination.

 

 

3. Getting tired

 

Staying at home can make you really sleepy. Especially if you’re wearing pajamas or studying in your bedroom. Getting dressed and going out tends to energize you, while staying in can make you more tired.

 

 

Student taking a nap at home

Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

 

 

4. Lack of outdoor time

 

Not only does staying inside for many hours make you tired, but getting outside in the sun is also really important for your mood and physical health. When you study at home, and don’t have to get out of the house much, it can be easy to forget about getting some fresh air.

 

 

How To Study At Home: The Basics

 

If you do decide to study online, one great option is University of the People. Studying with UoPeople is 100% online, meaning you can learn wherever and whenever you want. You can choose from a number of quality US accredited degrees to help you take that next big step towards your future career goals. Not to mention, UoPeople is also tuition-free!

If studying at home is right for you, or if you don’t have the option of studying elsewhere, you’ll need a basic guide for studying at home, so you can enjoy the benefits and avoid the common pitfalls.

 

 

1. Study at the most productive time for you

 

Everyone is different when it comes to productivity and concentration. Generally, people can be divided into two groups: morning people and night people.

 

Morning people feel the most energized and focused in the morning hours, and usually feel their focus dwindling as the day progresses. Night people, on the other hand, have an easier time studying once the sun has gone down, and feel that their mind is most sharp during the evening hours.

 

As Socrates said, “know thyself.” Once you know where you fall, you can structure your day accordingly, and get a lot more studying done during your productive hours, and save menial tasks, such as chores and emails, for your less productive hours.

 

 

2. Get a good night’s sleep

 

Concentration will always be sharper when you’ve had enough sleep. Again, every person is different, and the amount of sleep each person needs to be productive may differ — but it’s recommended to get eight hours of sleep a night. Regardless, having a strict bedtime can help you get ahead of feeling foggy and tired during the day when you’re trying to study.

 

 

3. Have a designated study area

 

Brains are creatures of habit. Studying in the same place every day can help your brain distinguish between studying time from the rest of your schedule.

 

It’s important to study away from your bed, and even your bedroom if you can, so that the mind feels more productive. It can be helpful to study at a table or desk, and to do your other activities, such as eating, checking social media, or watching TV, in other areas. This will help you get in the study zone and stay away from other distractions.

 

 

Student studies at her designated study area

Photo by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash

 

 

4. Make a schedule

 

This is probably one of the most crucial steps to effective studying at home. By creating a schedule for the day, and sticking to it, you can more easily avoid distractions and procrastination. Break up the day into tasks, and assign each task a window of time, remembering to make time for breaks and eating, etc. This allows you to focus solely on studying, instead of having to figure out tasks and time management during the day. It can also feel quite satisfying to cross off tasks from the list with a final swipe of the pen.

 

 

5. Do chores beforehand

 

Studying at home can be difficult if you start noticing all the things that need to be done around the house. Chores can also become a great excuse for procrastination when you’re just not feeling up to studying. That’s why it’s important to get chores out of the way.

 

An alternative can be putting chores into your study schedule, so that if the laundry pile is starting to bother you, you’ll know that there is a time for it on your schedule, and will get done eventually.

 

 

6. Take breaks

 

It’s important to take breaks throughout the day. In university, classes are spaced out with breaks in between, because it’s understood that your brain can only focus well for a certain amount of time before you need a boost.

 

At home, it can be easy to forget this because there’s no class schedule to break up the day. It can be helpful to take a break for lunch, and take smaller breaks throughout the day for a coffee, a chat with a friend, or a brisk walk outside.

 

 

More Effective Tips For Studying At Home

Now that we have the basics down, let’s look at some tips that can help you make studying at home the most effective that it can be. Each person has their own study habits and needs for good concentration, so try out these tips and see which of them work for you.

 

 

1. Use a timer for tasks

 

If you’re the kind of person that has a hard time focusing on tasks, it can be helpful to work in short intervals that are spaced with mini breaks. Focusing for 25 minutes at a time, instead of an hour or two, can be helpful for morale and provides the instant gratification of short 5-minute breaks in between. Just make sure not to get sucked into social media during those breaks. It can be helpful to get a drink or go outside for a breather during those breaks.

 

 

2. “Active studying” questions

 

Active studying questions are a great way to focus your mind and keep your studying on track. Simply asking yourself questions before, while, and after engaging with your study material can help you absorb more information and stay focused for longer. This can also be really helpful if you tend to get overwhelmed by the sight of long texts.

 

Questions to ask yourself before delving into your material could be, “What am I about to learn?” “What do I already know about the subject?” or “What information do I still need to find out from this text?”

 

Questions to ask during study may be:

  • “Do I understand the page I just read? If not, what am I still confused about?”
  • “How can I paraphrase what I have just learned?”
  • “Are there any key words or sentences that I can write down? What makes them crucial to the larger picture?”

 

Questions for afterward can be:

  • “What important ideas/information did I take away from this study session?”
  • “What do I still need to review? And where can I turn for clarification if I’m confused?”

 

 

3. Take notes

 

Much like the study questions, some people find that taking notes helps structure the study session while also helping absorb information. By taking notes, you naturally begin to ask yourself questions about what is important enough to write down, and you naturally learn to paraphrase information in your mind which helps clarify what you understand and what you still need to study.

 

 

Student taking notes as she studies from a textbook

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

 

4. Drink coffee (at the right time)

 

Many people enjoy, and even depend on, coffee in the morning. But did you know that it matters what time we drink coffee? Our bodies naturally produce cortisol in the morning, which helps our body wake up. Drinking coffee first thing in the morning may actually make the body dependent on coffee even when it doesn’t naturally need it. Most people find that they need an energy boost after 2 p.m., so if you’re looking for the right time for a coffee break, it might be around then.

 

 

Drinking coffee at the right time can help with productivity

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

 

 

5. Time tasks with chores

 

A helpful tip, as an alternative to timing tasks, can be to time tasks with chores, so that you can feel doubly productive as you work. Pop the laundry in the washer, and use that time to get a task on your list done. You can do the same as you wait for your lunch to cook in the oven, or for your pizza delivery to arrive after you’ve placed the order.

 

 

6. Don’t be a hermit

 

Getting out when you’re studying at home for a long time is really important. It’s also important to make time for friends and socializing. Use your breaks during the day to take a short walk, have lunch with a friend, or even call someone up to chat. This will not only be a break well spent, but can keep your mood up when you’re feeling bored or lonely.

 

 

7. Wear pants

 

Though wearing pajamas all day is technically one of the advantages of studying at home, it is also important to get dressed for the day. Wearing real clothes helps productivity levels and sends messages to the brain that you’ve switched from sleep and lounge mode to work mode.

 

 

8. Switch things up

 

If you find that you’re feeling especially unfocused or foggy, it can be helpful to switch up your precious schedule. You can switch to a different study spot if you’ve been in one place the whole day and need a boost to get one more task done.

 

If possible, you can even switch up your environment. If you’re not confined at home, you may want to try doing some studying in a cafe or a friends place.

 

You can also try switching tasks. If you’ve been reading from your textbook all day, and find that you can’t focus anymore, you can try watching a lecture online instead, or writing down what you’ve understood so far.

 

 

So, What Have I Learned?

Studying at home has its perks and also its downfalls. If you want to know whether studying at home is good for you, you have to know how to study so that it can be most effective.

 

Hopefully, these tips and tricks can help you the next time you’re at home studying or cramming for an exam.