As the government continues to encourage everyone to stay indoors except for essential errands and work, those days of studying at the library or coffee shop are unfortunately on pause. It’s just you, your computer and your course work for now.

But studying at home doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact, it can be more productive than the alternatives. Whether you’re studying biology at the University of Toronto, or taking an English course through the website, here are a few ways you can study effectively while at home.

Before Anything Else, Take Care of Yourself

Yes, it’s a general piece of advice, but it’s such an important thing to keep in mind. Taking care of yourself includes getting a full restful sleep, eating a healthy diet and, if able, getting in some physical exercise. This isn’t just broadly beneficial for your health, but it puts your brain in the ideal space to study. With poor sleep, for example, you’re liable to be irritable and distracted throughout the day, not exactly moods conducive to studying. For the sake of your health and studies, take care!

Create a Dedicated Workspace

Laying on the couch, laptop on your belly, may seem novel and fun at first but it can easily lead to poor posture and increased distraction. To set yourself up for success, first set up a dedicated workspace. Move your computer, a comfortable chair and desk to an isolated part of the home. Try and remove as many distractions from your sightline (yes, that may even include your phone!) Have whatever you need at hand, including a pen and paper, glass of water, coffee, etc. On the couch, you may be attempted to roll over and grab a remote control; with a dedicated workspace, you’ve removed those temptations.

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Hatch a Plan

A little structure is never a bad thing. Before beginning your studies, take a moment to jot down a structure for the day. You’re studying for three hours? Break those hours down into 15-minute pieces, using each chunk of time to focus on different material. If you need some inspiration to study better, – it is possible to get it from social media essay topics for inspiration and your writing process will be easier and more effective. Take stock of what concepts are challenging you and weight your time accordingly. And be sure to include both short and long breaks so you can give your brain a rest. Apportioning your time can help keep you on track, and tailor the studying process to your learning needs.

Consolidate Your Materials

It’s helpful to have everything in one place, including lessons, support and supplementary materials. That’s why it’s beneficial, while at home, to enroll in an online course. You’ll have everything you need right there at your fingertips, along with the guidance of a teacher. And everything will be laid out in an intuitive, digestible way.

Try the 5-Second Countdown

Finally, this rule comes courtesy of the business-world (by way of some solid science), but it may just help you curb procrastination. The rule goes something like this: if your mind wanders, don’t beat yourself up about it; just resolve to count down from five, and by the time you’re done counting start your work again. Sometimes, all the brain needs is a simple, gentle ultimatum.

Studying from home can be a wonderful thing. With a little self-care, a good setup, a supportive online course and a small motivational trick, you’ll be set for studying success!

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