For many of us here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, this is our first entirely remote semester, which could be a significant adjustment for students who are accustomed to traditional face-to-face learning. You may not have been prepared to turn your living space into your workspace for this entire semester. Suddenly your bedroom, dining room, or even your kitchen has turned into your new classroom and workspace, which can be a rough adjustment — especially if you are living with other people who have completely different schedules.
To help make this new normal a bit more manageable, here are four tips for working remotely that will make your experience this semester less stressful and more productive.
Now, more than ever, it is essential to set boundaries when working remotely. This is because more than likely, you have your roommates, family, or pets all in close quarters. Give your family or roommates signals as to when to leave you alone. For example, when the door is closed, that means that you are in class, in a club meeting, or doing school work, and cannot be disturbed.
Working remotely is inherently challenging because it is easy to lose track of time. With the current situation, taking breaks is even more critical. That is because, in a traditional classroom setting, it is easy to see friends between class, grab lunch with friends and classmates, and even simply engage in face to face conversations with your classmates. Taking a break, especially when you have a busy day looking at your computer, is a much-needed way to feel refreshed and more engaged in your work. So, pull yourself away from the computer, even if it is for a few minutes, it will make a huge difference in your overall productivity.
Maintain a Consistent Routine
To help make working remotely more normal, setting a work schedule for yourself and sticking to it can make the transition much more seamless. Try to wake up at the same time every day and treat weekdays just as you did before. For most people, the morning is the time to get serious work done, so try to complete any difficult tasks as early in the day as you can. It might also be helpful to schedule out your weeks in advance with a planner, so you know what tasks you need to complete each day to stay on track.
Stay Connected With Friends and Family
Tools like Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, and many other social networking tools are great ways to keep in contact with friends and family while learning remotely. While you may not be able to meet in person, phone calls, or video chatting are a great way to emulate face to face interaction that you may be lacking. Experts say video conferencing while working remotely helps fight isolation while enhancing productivity and overall happiness. Try to take some time in between class and school work to catch up with friends and family, it will brighten up your day!
This is a stressful time for everyone, so it is important to remember to have fun. At the end of the day, try to embrace the additional quality time you have with your family and friends, it is a huge perk of working remotely!