arts   |   coronavirus

COLUMN: Here's how I make sure I'm ready for online classes


A notebook and book sit on a desk. Claire Livingston

It is going to be hard for me to adjust to online classes. I don’t like working at home because I know I will just jump in my bed and procrastinate. Also, I feel like I’m trapped in one place. I need to get away somewhere far from my room, typically a cafe or library. 

Here are some tips I have on adapting to a work-from-home lifestyle.

Organize your workspace

Organizing your desk will help you prepare your work and ease your mind. Before you begin to clean, select a workspace where you will complete your work, such as a desk or specific area of your living space. 

I recommend a desk because it helps me work productively, while working on bed will remind me of the softness of my pillows and how much I want to sleep at that moment.

If there are too many books or papers lingering on your workspace, clean it up and organize it. I used to have practice exam papers on my desk along with other useless papers piled up, but by removing them I felt amazing.

Include necessary things on your workspace such as your laptop, planner and textbooks, and remove any unnecessary items, such as a diary or magazines, that can distract you from your work. 

By eliminating distractions and organizing your desk, you can create an intentional workspace that helps put you in the right mindset to get your work done. 

Decorate your workplace

While minimizing distractions is important, I find that by decorating my workspace I’m a bit happier while completing my homework or attending a Zoom call. It's OK to have a small scented candle to calm your nerves — my favorite is vanilla — or a small speaker to listen to your favorite playlist. 

Also, it’s always nice to leave some open space for a cup of your favorite beverage or some snacks. 

Keep the decorations minimal, but make sure you’re happy in that workspace.  

Dress up for yourself

From now until the end of the semester, you could wear your pajamas all day and no one would care. However, it’s not a bad idea to want to look good every day even if you have no one to impress but yourself. Putting on a professional outfit, or anything besides sweatpants, can help you to get in the right mindset for work. It provides separation between school time and relaxing, which is normally established by having separate locations for school and rest.

Slightly dressing up or getting ready can be a huge confidence boost, and putting a little more effort into your morning routine (because you're worth it) can improve your mood. 

Another reason you should dress up is so it would be good to get into a routine because it makes you feel like you’re still going to work or classes.

It's also important to remember to still dress up if you have professional meetings or interviews, even if they are over FaceTime or Zoom.

Make a playlist

When completing your work, you don’t have to sit in front of your laptop in silence. Instead, make a playlist that can help you relax but focus on your task. 

I don’t recommend listening to music that makes you want to dance or sing-along because it can divert your attention from your work. I recommend playing lofi beats or any instrumental music that helps your brain to focus. I usually play classical music.

My Spotify playlist includes songs from artists such as Chris Mazuera, Kupla and WYS.

It’ll take time to adjust, but once you manage it, this routine will almost start to feel normal. Just take a deep breath, organize your space, get dressed for yourself and focus on the task at hand. 

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