Working remotely as a student has its advantages and disadvantages.
On the one hand, it means no more lengthy commutes, no more trudging around campus halls, no more contending with inconvenient weather conditions, and no more missing important seminars or lectures due to bike punctures or inadequate public transportation. However, on the other hand, it means missing out on the traditional experiences of education. This is perhaps tougher for an undergraduate student who hasn’t had the chance to sample the conventional student life, but it isn’t always easy for postgraduate students either. Their studies are significantly more demanding, after all, and working remotely introduces limitations.
Perhaps the core issue for postgrads studying via distance learning, then, is keeping productivity high when they’re unable to draw upon facility resources or typical student gatherings. In this post, we’re going to look at five tips for staying productive while remotely pursuing a postgrad program.
Keep a clear-cut schedule
When you’re not required to be at particular places at particular times, it’s really easy to let your schedule fall into disarray. This is even more of an issue for postgraduate students because they don’t tend to have as many fixed lectures or seminars to attend, with much of their time going towards independent study. As tempting as it may be to sleep late and work sporadically, you’ll get more done if you create a schedule and stick to it. Treat your studies like a job that you take seriously. This will also help you sleep better and focus more when you are working, because you’ll have obvious delineation between your studies and your free time.
Commit to your general health & wellbeing
As with letting your schedule slip, it’s tough to focus on your health and wellbeing when you’re busy worrying about the state of the world around you — but it needs to be done. The more you can protect your health, the better you’ll sleep, the more reliably you’ll be able to concentrate on your studies, and the stronger your mood will be. If you think it’s necessary, invest in your health. Buy some home fitness equipment. Get some breakthrough coaching (you can do this online, after all: here’s one example geared towards women). Start making your own meals. Get a wearable fitness tracker and pursue some goals. Investing in your health will always pay off.
Find ways to relax & enjoy yourself
Defining a schedule with a good amount of free time is one thing, but actually using that free time effectively is another. You might just sit around browsing YouTube and feeling frustrated about the time we live in — and that really won’t help you overall. It’s vital that you make an effort to use your free time effectively. If you need activity, find something suitable that you can do safely. Take up running, perhaps, or start building ships in bottles. And if you just want to relax, then relax properly. Set out a comfortable area, put your phone on silent, and truly get your mind off everything else.
Keep in touch with your peers
Although it’s often nice to just buckle down and study with no distractions, it’s important for your wellbeing and your intellectual progress that you continue to converse with your peers. If there aren’t already conversational threads bringing you together, you should take the time to set some up on some appropriate platforms (something like Facebook or WhatsApp). In addition to sharing notes and arguments about your studies, you can talk about your feelings of anxiety and isolation. Being able to talk to people who know what you’re going through is incredibly valuable, so don’t imagine that you can get by alone without any consequences.
Optimise your study area
However you feel about libraries, they tend to be pretty good for students. Even light coverage, seating that’s not uncomfortable but won’t let you zone out, and minimal noise. Studying from home, though, can introduce a lot of problems when it comes to your immediate environment. Are you working from your bedroom? Your kitchen? If you can’t go to the library for whatever reason – for example maybe it’s currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic – then make sure you do what you can to make your study area good for productivity. Install a new bulb, get the temperature right, opt for low-volume instrumental music (if any music at all), pick up a new chair, set up a large monitor so you can avoid eyestrain. These tweaks to your study environment will really help.
There’s no reason why you can’t be extremely productive when taking a postgraduate course remotely — you just need to know the pitfalls of remote studying and do what you can to overcome them. The tips we’ve covered here will point you in the right direction.