Student sitting on balcony with tablet

8 tips for smarter studying at home

Whether you are doing your homework, preparing for an assignment or studying for an exam, studying from home can be a challenge. Saxion gathered 8 tips to stay productive studying online from the comfort of your home.

#1 Create a morning routine

A good morning routine can really set the productivity tone for the rest of your day. By making sure that you are mentally as well as physically prepared for your day of studying, you will kick-off your morning in a productive way. Although it can be attractive to sleep in late or stay in your pajamas all day since you have no physical class to attend, it’s better to stick to your old routine. Set your alarm clock on time, take a refreshing shower after waking up, enjoy a delicious breakfast and get ready for a new day.

#2 Establish a study area

It can be a challenge to create a study area in your student apartment, but try to create an individual study area separate from your sleeping and living space. Try to avoid studying from the comfort of your bed, but rather sit at a desk, kitchen or dining table. It might be hard to be productive while buried in your duvet.

#3 Schedule your day

  • To use your time effectively, it’s best to create a daily schedule. If you are unsure how many hours a day you should be putting in, try following your normal routine (as if you were still attending your courses offline).
  • Eat your problems for breakfast! Start your day by finishing the most important and difficult tasks. If you postpone these tasks, you might not finish them in time. Moreover, in the morning you are more focused and concentrated.
  • Virtual courses will likely be scheduled at set times, but studying from home gives you also the flexibility to work around these. Remember to schedule in breaks for lunch or a walk to get some fresh are. Experiencing trouble with finding a suitable schedule for your day? Try the pomodoro technique, whereby you work in blocks from 25-50 minutes, alternating with short breaks. Research shows that our maximum concentration span is 50 minutes, so in order to work effectively you should regularly schedule a break between your study blocks.
  • Don’t forget to have some fun! For sure, it might be harder nowadays to schedule some fun activities, but there are plenty of alternative activities that you can do for fun. Be creative and make sure you have at least one fun activity planned each day to keep you motivated.

#4 Keep in touch

It’s important to keep in touch while you’re studying from home. Make sure you regularly check in with your lectures and don’t be afraid to ask for any clarification if there’s anything that you might not understand. Your lecturers might be working from home but they are still available to help you. If you’re looking for any help (whether this might be educational content wise, motivational wise or in case you experience any stress), please contact your study career counsellor. Are you looking for additional support? Please contact our student psychologists and student counsellor, they are happy to (online) support you. Schedule your appointment via our Servicepoint via telephone +31 (0) 88 01 93 000 or send an email to servicepoint@saxion.nl.

Socializing is an important part of your student experience, so use technology devices to stay connected to friends and fellow students. Create a WhatsApp group or set up a meeting in Microsoft teams to keep in touch.

#5 Take care of yourself

A good night’s rest, healthy nutrition and staying hydrated are essential in order to be fit and to feel good. Sleep needs can vary from person to person, but experts recommend in general to get an average of 8 hours sleep per night. Moreover, a healthy nutrition and hydration can positively impact your concentration span. Try to stick to a balanced diet and to try drink enough water or tea. Or charge up with a cup of coffee!

#6 Stay active

Several studies show that a short daily exercise (10-40 minutes) can increase your concentration span, boost your confidence, increase your night rest and decreases your stress levels.

Check your posture regularly and try to stretch your body by following an (online) yoga or mindfulness class. You can also set an alarm clock to remind yourself to stretch. Also try to look away from your screen every 20 minutes.

#7 Stay motivated

It can be a challenge to commit yourself to studying online during these turbulent times. Make sure you stay motivated by finding out what helps you focus. Reward yourself for ticking things off your to-do list, decorated your study working space, put on some music or stick to a podcast. Whatever works for you!

#8 Stay positive

It’s important to keep positive during these hard times. Stay positive by doing things that make you happy. Go outside, meet your friends (online) or sign up for a voluntary job.

Some practical tips

  • Make sure your shut down all your online applications that are non-essential, before you log in to an online course.
  • Put away all your devices at least one hour before you go to sleep.

*The above-mentioned tips and tricks are based upon scientific cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and educational science studies and Saxion’s own studies on motivation, stress, enthusiasm and study drop-out amongst students.