By Chantal Souaid Mchantaf, MBA
In the 1800s, Charles Darwin said that “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” More than 200 years after his statement, we are experiencing our adaptability to change when we all woke up to 2020 with a new challenge. The coronavirus. The virus that locked down cities, countries, businesses, religious places, universities, and almost anything except grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals.
While businesses are adapting and finding ways to work online, families are adapting and learning to live under the same roof, and students are also learning to study from home. Students may have never thought their next semester courses would be delivered remotely while they spend most of their time in front of a PC, yet as Charles Darwin said, we all need to adapt so we can survive this pandemic and move on as winners.
As stressful as this whole thing is, we all need to do the best with what we have got. Here are 10 tips for staying motivated while studying at home during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.
Create a suitable studying space that is comfortable and encouraging to study in. The space that you use for studying will greatly impact your chances of a successful study period. Try to set your desk near a window where you access sunlight. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Human Resources, students who are more exposed to the sun perform better in tests.
Make a study schedule that includes breaks. Even if you are studying from home, you still need to create a study schedule. This schedule needs to include your different courses, your online attendance requirements, some research time, and time for working on your projects. Do not forget to include time for your breaks and time for some fun.
Find a suitable way to limit distractions. Depending on where you are locked down, you need to find your ultimate way of limiting distractions. These ways can include noise cancellation earphones, a “do not disturb” sign on your door, or a verbal agreement with your roommate not to bother you. No matter what your circumstances are, it’s crucial that you maintain your focus when it’s study time.
Form an online study group. While you are used to studying in class and being part of a university community, its not easy to get stuck at home abruptly. A positive aspect of navigating through the coronavirus situation in 2020 is the accessibility of online solutions. Find a social network or your university’s Blackboard and create an online study group. According to Florida National University, forming study groups has many benefits: they include help you gain a better understanding of subjects, get better grades, gain team experience, and sharpen problem solving skills.
Set daily goals. Setting daily goals is very important. It sets your expectations for the day and ensures you are being proactive about your life, and not just reactive to what is going on around you. More importantly, during the coronavirus lockdown period, you should set daily goals to maximize your time at home and still get your life going. Make sure to set personal as well as educational goals for each day.
Get ready in the evening. This is a general organization tip that works well during normal times yet will give you a boost when you practice it while locked down at home. Every evening, before you end your day, prepare your clothes for the next day, cook food for lunch, prepare your goals for the next day, fix your desk and space around you, and get ready for the coming day. This simple exercise will help you feel in control of your life in these times of uncertainty.
Engage in well-being practices. According to UNICEF, engaging in well-being practices reduces stress and anxiety during the coronavirus period. As you plan your day, engage in some well-being practices. These well-being practices will help keep you mentally and physically healthy and will help reduce the stress and anxiety that is inevitable during this period. Try to exercise, eat healthy, talk to your loved ones and practice a hobby daily. No matter what you do, limit your news intake to a specific time of the day and ensure that your news sources are reliable.
Get up and get going. Every morning, when you wake up, keep your old daily routine, yet give it some twists. Make sure that you get dressed as you used to get dressed for university. Note: If exercise was one of the things that you used to do, continue to exercise, yet instead of going to the gym, exercise at home. If you used to start your day with coffee with your partner, continue to do that online. Keeping your daily routine will help you stay motivated and keep you focused. Make sure that you get dressed as you would for university.
Start a coronavirus journal and reflect daily. When there are a lot of things going on and your feelings are going through a roller coaster, one good way to reduce this stress is through self-reflective journaling. Write daily in your journal and keep it as a souvenir. After several months or years, you will enjoy looking back and skimming through it.
Acknowledge your feelings and seek help when things get out of control. Staying strong is important, yet one of the most important things is for you to acknowledge your feelings. Being stressed and anxious and feeling all sorts of other feelings are all okay and you should not suppress them. Acknowledge your feelings and seek help when needed. Check what services your community offers or search online for support.
Are there any other things that you are doing to stay motivated while studying at home during the coronavirus lockdown? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
About the Author
Chantal has a background in leadership development and project management, with on-the-ground involvement in local and international civil society organizations in Lebanon.
As the current Middle East and North Africa Director for the U.S. Department of State-funded Leadership Development Fellowship implemented by World Learning in Lebanon and the United States, and as a Leadership Management® International (LMI®) Facilitator specialized in management and leadership, Chantal has succeeded in building a respectable network of connections with a wide range of governmental contacts and many local and international NGOs operating in Lebanon. Her understanding of leadership development was also sharpened by her time managing the USAID funded D-RASATI 2’s Leadership Development Program, helping over 600 Lebanese school principals get official tenure in the government. Chantal also helped hundreds of entrepreneurs launch their businesses when working as the Program Manager of the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute.
With a sense of excitement for giving her all to help those ready to succeed and teaching them the right tools to reach their success, Chantal loves training and writing and sharing her know-how with others.