For now, most of the nation is working from home as COVID-19 sweeps the country. While this may seem like an answer to commuter prayers, it may not exactly be the blessing it’s disguised as. Being at home can be extremely distracting since the barrier between work and life is lifted, but I have a couple of solutions that should help you. Here are some tips on how to stay focused when working from home.
Make A Workspace
Working in front of a TV or in your bed is a no-no! Having a dedicated workspace is essential when trying to get work done. This could be an actual office that you’ve just never utilized, a desk that has been storing your clean unfolded laundry or even a cramped closet that offers enough peace and quiet for you to hone in on your assignments. The point is, the first thing you have to do is make a space that says, “I will be getting work done.”
Create A Schedule
It’s important to remember that while you’re at home you are NOT on vacation (no matter how close spring break is). For us high school students, as well as many college students, we still have school responsibilities like final projects, papers/reports, and standardized tests.
Pro Tip: Start the day off early, as if you were going to school, and try to follow a work schedule that doesn’t vary too much from your normal schedule. Waking up early and accomplishing bigger tasks leave you feeling more motivated and successful throughout the day.
Please Don’t Procrastinate… I’m Begging You
The number one thing that gets people caught up when working at home is that they procrastinate, but don’t worry… there’s an app for that. I really love this one because you can stay focused by yourself or with friends. It’s easy to put things off when you’re at home because it seems like a million things are more important but that’s where Flora comes in. The habit tracking/to-do list app offers a feature that allows for you to grow a forest, as long as you put your phone down for a specific amount of time. Flora allows for you to do this alone or in a group to improve studying or working and has been working wonders for me.
Other ways to avoid procrastination are to implement the block schedule method that splits your time up: 20 minutes of (actual) working with two-minute breaks. Once you complete an hour, reward yourself with a 20 minute break. Remember, brain breaks are super important if you want to not overwhelm or overload yourself but still try to avoid social media or watching TV.
Have People to Support You & Hold You Accountable
I should really stress the importance of still attending online study groups or talking to team members that you can count on to hold you accountable. You should also do the same for others, a quick text saying, “Have you started [insert teacher name]’s work yet?” or “We can work on this assignment together,” can really motivate yourself and others, especially if you like or need the social aspect of social distancing.
During this scary time, many of us are adjusting our way of life to stay healthy and safe. While working from home may be a bit different from what you’re used to… try to think of this as a test of discipline. The virus has modified our way of life, hopefully for the better in some ways. Stay safe guys, wash your hands, and keep working productively from home.
By Patience Hurston, Senior, Thornwood High School
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