You can be a professional furthering your education or a student with a full-time job. Regardless, balancing both is difficult during the pandemic. What once seemed like the biggest convenience in your balancing act is turning out to be a hindrance, and you may be faring worse than before. The logic behind this is simple: there used to be an external force that makes you accountable for your time and performance. With remote work and learning in place, it’s all up to you.
One of the most effective means to cope is to create a semblance of your old lifestyle into your new, and the simplest way to achieve this is through your workspace.
Assess Your Workspace
It’s not all in the mind. The physical aspect of this challenge has a huge contribution to your success or failure. This is why you’ll see so many people nowadays investing in creating their ideal workspace. If you’ve done the same, that’s good. The only problem is that “ideal” is not always the same as “conducive.” Your current workspace could be picturesque, but if it’s not helping you balance your work and study life, then it’s not what you need.
Spend a week assessing your workspace. Keep a notepad with you to jot down observations you make while you study and work. Is having a view of the street helpful or distracting? Do you have enough space on your table, or are you struggling to place everything you need within reach? It’s by knowing exactly what steals your focus and adds to your stress that you’ll be able to create a workspace conducive to both learning and working.
Switching tasks is easier when you give yourself physical cues. After eight hours of work, you can schedule a quick shower and snack to signal that one task is over. If you don’t have the capacity to create two different workspaces for school and work, you’ll have to put in the extra effort of packing and unpacking.
Depending on which online master’s program you’re taking, you’ll want to create a space that helps you immerse yourself in your course. Perhaps you’re taking up your masteral in business administration. Bring out any textbook related to your subjects and place them on the side of the desk. Print your module and schedule and place it on the wall for easy reference. Do you have lanyards, mugs, or flags from your university? Bring them out and either display them or use them.
Once done, store these items in their designated box and shove them under your desk. This way, in the morning, you get to start to clean every time you see your uncluttered desk. Thirty minutes before you clock in for work, set it up the way you would in your office.
These might seem excessive and time-consuming at first but creating a physical separation from your work schedule and your study schedule will benefit your focus.
Honor Your Timetable
One of the main reasons the people who balance work and study during the pandemic are stressed is because of poor time management. Without a clear separation of tasks, one tends to mix in with the other until you find yourself overwhelmed with a growing list of tasks. It also doesn’t help that being at home compels you to work overtime.
Honor your timetable and know when to carry over tasks for the next day. Make a to-do list and jot down the things you weren’t able to finish. Assigning them a time on your schedule reduces the pressure to over-commit and gives you an objective view of your performance. Otherwise, your busy work and study schedule can easily consume time that should be spent resting or socializing.
Assess your current challenges, create separation, and honor your timetable at all times. The methods you employ may differ from the ones suggested above, but as long as they achieve their purpose, you’re good to do. You may find that you’re managing your time, stress, and responsibilities better simply by being more attentive to your workspace.