Okay let’s just kick this off by saying that I am just as unmotivated as everyone else – even though I have pretty much nothing better to do, I’m finding it really hard to focus and get some work done. Unfortunately, exams are still going on so that means that, like most of you guys, I still have a bunch of studying I need to get done!
Take it easy on yourself
Right now I know that I’m not going to complete the kind of to-do lists I’d usually be able to get done in a day. Don’t feel like you have to push yourself to cover 7 different topics or complete three different practice tests if your brain just really isn’t up to it. Instead, set yourself one or two concrete tasks that you really need to finish and then a couple more than you want to finish (but it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t).
Similarly, make sure that any tasks that you do set have clear goals and instructions, for example:
“Look for research surrounding *insert essay topic here* and plan the points I want to cover”
is much better than
“Plan out my essay”
Setting yourself clear goals can make them seem a little more achievable and it can help to keep your brain on task as you don’t have to sit there trying to decide where you should start.
Don’t just study all day
I know, you’re used to studying all day at school or at university but being at home is different. Not to mention that at school or college you’ll get scheduled lunch breaks and time outside of lessons – so even they understand that you shouldn’t be stuck at a desk all day. Each day decide on a non-study task/activity that you want to get done and actually make time to do it.
I’m going to include a couple of my favourites here but feel free to substitute them with whatever brings you a bit of joy during these stressful times!
- Go and join a random Twitch stream for a bit – or just watch the Non-Stop Bob Ross Marathon for a while
- Watch Gourmet Makes on Youtube (I would die for Claire from the Bon Appetite Test Kitchen)
- Practice a skill (but nothing too stressful!) – if you’re looking to get into hand-lettering then there are tonnes of useful tutorials on Youtube!
- Play some video games – my personal recommendations would be Stardew Valley, Pokemon (of any kind) or Mario Kart (if you need to release some frustration)
- Join a random Discord and just chat to people online about things you’re interested in – chatting with people, even if you don’t really know them, is a really good way to take your mind off of things for a while
- Journal for a while – if you’re the type of person who likes to add photos to your journal then I’d highly recommend checking out Unsplash
- Watch Monster Factory – the chaos in this content always cheers me up
- Bake! Something! – or if baking isn’t your strong point, try making a mug cake instead ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Exercise in some way! – if you can, go for a walk for a while, or if not try looking up workout or yoga videos on Youtube that you can follow at home
If you can’t get a task done, don’t force yourself to stare at your computer for hours on end, instead, go and give yourself a break and then come back to it later when you’re in a better headspace.
Make your study environment work for you
Not everyone has the same ideal study environment and being at home can have all sorts of distractions (parents, siblings, just general noise from neighbours) so it’s a good idea to move around in the house until you find the place that works best for you – although this might change every day!
I tend to prefer to sit in a place that I can chat with my family every so often instead of being stuck in my room and I also like to listen to podcasts whilst I study. If you’re one of the people who likes to work in silence, then try and set up your study area in a quieter area of your house (if there is one)!
Also, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to aim for 100% efficiency and productivity every day – you’re not a production line and you shouldn’t treat yourself like one. If you’re feeling unfocused and stressed out, then make your study environment a little more comfortable by watching a TV show in the background (preferably one you’ve seen before so you don’t watch it too closely), getting yourself some good snacks and sitting in a comfortable place.
Figuring out where you work best is a bit of trial and error so unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of advice other than keep trying different places and don’t be afraid to change it up if you feel like you’re stuck in the same place all the time!
Also, just for fun here’s a list of the things I’m currently enjoying listening to/watching whilst I study:
- Not Another DND Podcast – if you’re a fan of Critical Role/TAZ/Dimension 20 (especially Dimension 20!) then I’d definitely recommend giving this podcast a listen!
- Random speedruns on Games Done Quick
- Sawbones (because it feels like I’m ~kinda~ doing extra studying)
- Bob Ross (again)
- The Legend of Zelda soundtrack with rain
- Undertale but make it a music box
- Basically, whatever relaxing video game soundtrack Youtube recommends me today
Realise you’re not alone
This is unprecedented, nobody knows what they’re doing including your teachers so don’t feel like you should know exactly what you should be doing. We’re all slowly figuring things out for ourselves and that’s going to take a bit of time and helping each other out.
If you can, try video calling your friends or setting up a Discord server so you can work together or chat whilst you’re studying. Just because you’re studying from home, it doesn’t mean you have to study alone and that’s a really important thing to remember right now.
Hopefully, this somewhat helped right now – my head is kind of all over the place so I’m still trying to figure things out too. If you need to chat, my DMs are always open on Instagram or you can drop me an email too: