RPS Voices: The Rutgers Prep Blog
As many of us have had to make adjustments in transitioning to remote or hybrid models of learning, it's helpful to know how best to set ourselves and our children up for success in this new setting. Sara Nardulli, our Director of Learning Support has put together the following tips and video to help students of all ages (and maybe even parents who are working from home!) set up a workspace and create a productive environment.
Tip #1: Dedicate a space exclusively for work
First, do your best to set up a space where the sole purpose is for studying. This way, when sitting down to work, it lets your subconscious know that it's time to focus. Mrs. Nardulli recommends a desk or table with a flat surface that allows you to spread your work out, and a chair that you can sit in comfortably for a while. It may be tempting to work from the couch, or even your bed, but your brain is trained to relax in these areas, and you're more likely to get distracted there. Additionally, finding a space with natural light has been shown to reduce grogginess and increase focus.
Tip #2: Gather your materials before you begin
Depending on the type of work you'll be doing, this could include your laptop, iPad, books, a notebook, and something to write with. Mrs. Nardulli also recommends keeping a glass of water and a light snack handy. Reducing the need to get up from your workstation also reduces the chances of getting distracted along the way.
Tip #3: Anticipate distractions and minimize them
You want to intentionally minimize potential distractions, and by thinking ahead about what is going to distract you, you can mitigate those distractions. For many of us, our phones can be a huge distraction, so Mrs. Nardulli recommends keeping your phone in another room on silent. Placing your iPad on "Do Not Disturb" can also help remove distractions. There are also apps, like Cold Turkey and SelfControl, which will block distractions on your computer.
Additionally, letting the members of your household know that you are working can help remove the distractions of conversations that may come up during your studying time. Light music or a white noise machine can also block out sound from other areas of your workspace, especially if there are others in your household also working from home.
Tip #4: Switch up locations
After finishing tasks, or after a certain amount of time, it really helps to switch locations. A new spot actually helps you concentrate, and helps boost your motivation; your brain is piqued by new surroundings, so it can serve as a nice refresher. Doing some reading on a comfortable couch, or creating a makeshift standing desk by stacking books or board games on your desk help to break things up a bit, and can feel like taking a break when you change locations.