Copyright © 2020 Federation of Students, University of Waterloo operating as Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association
Creating a work space at home
With the University's transition to online learning for the remainder of this term and next, if you didn't already have a space to work from home, it's likely a consideration that is now on your radar. Creating a workspace for at-home learning can help put you in the right mindset for productivity and motivation. When working at home, you dictate your own schedule. A strong routine can help you stay on top of your to-do list and offset some of the stress you may be experiencing as a result of these unprecedented times.
Here are some tips that may help:
Create a morning routine
Waking up in the morning will be different now that you're working from home. Your first instinct may be to just jump straight onto your laptop or computer to begin working in your pajamas, but that may not always work. Try starting with the routine you had when you were able to leave the house: wash your face, do your hair, throw on a clean shirt. All of this will help you get into the right mindset to begin working. If you also liked brewing yourself a cup of coffee or making breakfast, don’t forget to do that too!
Find/create a space that is separate from where you sleep
If you live in a room with limited space, a desk or even a flat surface can become your new working station. If you're limited to your bed, try turning your pillows and creating a seat against the wall or any other direction that is different from when you sleep, so it signals to your brain that you're now using the space for another purpose.
If you do have the space to create a separate workstation at home, find a table or a flat surface and clean off the clutter. Only keep your laptop, desktop, or whichever tools you need for work on it, so you can focus on the task at hand. By keeping clutter away from your workstation, you're less likely to be distracted.
Make a list (or lists!)
Perhaps you have already been someone who makes lists, but for those that do not usually make to-do lists, try making one now! Whether it is a to-do list for the day, the week, or even the month, having a small list that you can keep track of will help you stay on top of what needs to be done, and the priority of each task. Allowing yourself to complete each task and to cross it off will also help you feel accomplished because now you have one less thing to do, and there is proof of your accomplishment!
If you overwork yourself at home, you may begin to burnout. When you're in a place that's typically one of comfort and relaxation, it can be tiresome to always see the same scenery. Make sure you give some time between work sessions to take a breath, look out the window, make yourself a snack, or even do some stretches away from your workstation. This will help you take a break both mentally and physically so that you can rejuvenate yourself before getting back at it.
With our phone, computer, and possibly even television readily accessible, it may be more distracting than we think. Try finding productivity apps or browser extensions that help you stay on top of your work. It's fine to use your phone to browse the news, social media, or whatever else during breaks, but make sure your breaks do not last longer than the work sessions!
Working from home, you may forget to drink water, thinking you'll get to it later. However, to stay focused and healthy, it is important to have water on hand. Whether in a cup or a bottle, be sure to have some water available so you can refresh yourself while you work.
Create a night routine
Now that we’ve gone full circle from the morning routine, it is also vital to have a nighttime routine that allows you to wind down and steer away from the workstation and into your bed. Make sure to set a bedtime and stick to it as best you can. This will help manage your time and allow you to put the work of yesterday behind you and begin fresh the next morning!
As we adjust to working from home, whatever that looks like for you, it's also important to keep in touch! We'd love to hear what works for you. Send us a message on Instagram and let us know how you've created an at-home workstation for yourself.