When you’re studying from home, it can be really hard to distinguish work time from rest time. In this blog, we will be exploring how to create a schedule, and stick to it, while undertaking online study.

Create your schedule

If you are finding it difficult to create a routine while studying online, you’re not alone. It can be a real challenge to switch focus to study which is why we recommend that you create a study schedule. Follow the online example to create your own.

Creating a schedule has a range of benefits. It will make you be realistic with how you spend your time – after all you still have the same hours in the week, even while staying home. You will also be able to clearly see where and when assessments are due and how to tackle periods of higher stress.

Having a plan means you do not have to waste will power deciding when to study because you already made the commitment. Instead, start each by day by making a list of your tasks and prioritising them from most to least urgent. Do the hardest task first and start your day off with a win!

…and stick to it

Making a plan and then sticking to it can be two very different tasks, but there are few ways we can hack our brain to stop procrastination in its tracks:

  • Five-minute rule

The five-minute rule is very simple. Start a task that you have been dreading and tell yourself you will stick with it for five minutes. If you still do not feel up to it after five minutes, then you can come back later. Nine times out of ten, we become so engaged with the task that we decide to keep going. Trick your brain by saying “just another five minutes” until the end of your designated study block.

  • Habit triggers

Habit triggers are what make lecture theatres and the library so powerful. When we attend a lecture theatre or find a quiet space at the library, we associate both of these environments with learning. When working from home, this association can be really hard to make. You may associate your room with sleep and the living area with recreation and mealtimes. It’s important to find a space that’s yours, whether that’s a desk or a part of the kitchen table and use that space only for study. This means each day when you head to your space, your brain will automatically make the association that it’s time to work.

  • Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro Method is a highly effective method to get tasks done quickly. All you need is a kitchen timer or your phone and some work that you’ve been putting off. Set the timer for 25 minutes and away you go. At the end of 25 minutes, take a five-minute break to check social media, make a coffee, or anything that popped into your mind while working. Once the break is over, it’s back to 25 minutes of straight study – no social media, no text messages and no procrastination.

  • Eliminate temptation 

What if you find it really hard to stop yourself from pressing Ctrl + T and typing in facebook.com? Try extensions like StayFocusd for Chrome which blocks you from accessing certain websites. You can set a time limit on how long you can access these websites during your set working hours before it redirects you to a page encouraging you to get back to work.

Don’t forget to rest

After you’ve completed your tasks for the day, don’t be tempted to keep working. You need to make time for rest and play as well as eating well and exercise. Once you’ve done your schedule, you will have a clear idea of how you need to spend your time. Once you’ve ticked off all your tasks for the day, pat yourself on the back and take time out for self-care, you deserve it!


About the author:  Jessica O’Leary is a Learning Skills Adviser at the Law Library.