As a fourth-year BCom Marketing student, I never could have imagined that the end of my semester would be suddenly shifted from in-person lectures to online learning. While the adjustment was at first stressful, it is certainly necessary so that we can all practice social distancing.
After two full weeks of this “distance learning” thing, I think I’ve finally got a handle on balancing productivity and self-care by trying to stick to a productive schedule. Here’s how my days of studying at home are going:
9:00 a.m.I try not to sleep past 9:00 a.m. in the mornings in order to avoid that groggy feeling. I start off with a few stretches to some of my favourite tunes. Then, I usually make tea and oatmeal for breakfast.
9:45 a.m.This is my 15-minute window to scroll through social media, text friends and family, and just relax before starting a day of studying. I’ll also go through my playlists to decide the type of music I want to listen to throughout the day. The right type of music will help you focus and stay motivated. I highly recommend Spotify’s Brain Food playlist that’s specifically designed for studies.
10:00 a.m.Once I open up my laptop, the first thing I do is check-in with my teammates on various group projects. It’s important to stay updated on everyone’s progress to help the team feel supported, and stay on track to meet deadlines. One of my groups recently started using Google Hangouts, which is a great tool for group video calls and screen sharing.
Depending on my priorities, I’ll usually take the late-morning to work on assignments like my Business Ethics essay or watch online lectures. Yesterday, I learned about paid advertising in the online lecture for my Digital Marketing class!
After a couple hours of studying, it’s lunch time - be sure to eat something nutritious and rich with vitamins to strengthen your health. Sometimes I check out EatingWell’s website for hundreds of quick and easy healthy recipes. I try to make lunch even more fun by scheduling video lunch dates with friends and co-workers so that you can eat and chat together, virtually, to avoid feeling lonely or isolated.
2:00 p.m.:I’ll take the next 3 hours to be as productive as possible, knowing that after 5:00 p.m., I start to get distracted easily. Being productive doesn’t mean non-stop work though. I try to take 10-minute breaks after every hour of work to breathe, move around, or step outside. I love using the short guided meditations from the non-profit, Smiling Mind app, which has hundreds of meditation programs for free.
5:30 p.m.:Depending on upcoming deadlines, I might need to do more work into the evening, but I am always sure to go on a walk in my neighbourhood before sunset. Whether you go on your own with music, while chatting on the phone with friends, or with family, the fresh air is sure to brighten your spirit and clear your mind.
For the rest of the evening, I try to connect with my friends and family over video calls, plan my schedule for the next day, and watch some TV, of course. Netflix Party is an awesome extension so that you can watch Netflix “with” your friends, from anywhere in the world.
Regardless of what your distance learning routine is, the important thing is that you have a routine that will help you feel normal and stay organized during the remaining of this unprecedented semester. Your schedule should include time to connect with your loved ones and with yourself so that you can maximize your study sessions and ace the rest of the semester. Even if you stray from your schedule, it’s alright - simply try to refocus when you catch yourself getting distracted, and don’t add too much pressure on yourself. The University of Ottawa and the Telfer School are here to support you through this crazy time.