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Tips for a better daily rhythm

Studying online is different from studying at school. You are more often on your own, and you have to constantly motivate yourself to start studying. How do you make sure there's enough rhythm and structure in your day?

Start your day with a morning ritual

Start your day with a fixed ritual. Get up at the same time from Monday to Friday, so that you have a clear difference with the weekend. Do the same things at home as you would going to school: shower, get dressed (not sweatpants every day), have breakfast. By following the same routine every day, you ensure that your brain knows that your day is about to start. Do this rigorously for at least three weeks and you will see it has become part of your routine.

Venture outside

Did you know that morning light is best for your biological rhythm, mood, and energy? Do go outside for a walk before you open your laptop. For example, use the walking app Ommetje or try out a Rotterdam walk: check out one of these walks in Rotterdam.

Make sure your workplace is comfortable

To study well at home you need a spot where you can concentrate. How do you create that spot?

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo

A tidy desk makes for a tidy head! Marie Kondo has a great way of making sure you can start your day with a clear head. No idea who or what she is? Watch this Netflix series about the famous tidying guru and get addicted to tidying too!

Organise your study space

Concentration

Choose a place where you will be distracted as little as possible. Make agreements with your housemates about when you are studying and do not want to be disturbed. Do you have a room that you can lock? Great! But even if you can't, choose a place where you can work as quietly as possible.

Music

Music

If you are in a room with others, put on headphones. Make a playlist of music that helps you to concentrate. It doesn't necessarily have to be classical music. Some people study very well while listening to techno. And have you ever noticed how many people with laptops are sitting in Starbucks? The background noise of a coffee shop can increase concentration significantly. Give it a try with Coffitivity

Telephone

Telephone

It's the most well-known jammer: your phone. Put it away (in another room, or in a drawer) and disconnect social media. Make sure you only receive notifications via the channels you need for studying.

Plan your time and... stick to it ;)

Plan your time

Most students know how to make a schedule. There are also plenty of tips on how to do this. But how do you make sure you stick to your plans?

Balance

Balance

If you are responsible for your own daily schedule, you can easily be tempted to forget time. Either you study way too long, or get hooked on Netflix, or you can't get out of bed. Try to stick to the 8-8-8 rule: 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work/study, 8 hours relaxation. Also block out specific time slots in your schedule for relaxation, so you know that your life does not consist only of studying and working. In short, create a clear balance so that when you are free you are really free, and when you are studying you are really studying. This creates peace.

Set small goals

Set small goals

Don't make your daily goals too big and limit yourself to 2 or 3 main tasks per day. Make your goals concrete and visible. Write them on post-its and stick them next to your laptop. 

Work in time units

Work in time units

No one can work for hours on end in a concentrated way. A good way to keep your concentration and motivation is the Pomodoro technique.

What is it?

One Pomodoro equals 25 minutes of work. You set a timer for 25 minutes and during that time you focus completely on your task and shut yourself off from any distraction. So, no social media, phone, or conversations with your housemates. After 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break to check your Instagram account, have a drink or go to the toilet.

After 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes to really give your brain some rest.

It's handy to use an app for this technique. For example use Focus Keeper app or an online Pomodoro timer.

Finish your day properly

When you study at home, you tend to be 'switched on' all day. Communication via Teams, App, Zoom, Skype etc. goes on all day and evening, keeping your brain constantly active. And... that's not good for you. How to prevent this?

  • Agree with yourself on a time when you can 'switch off'.
  • Note a few words down that you are proud of or grateful for today.
  • Plan your day or to-do list for the next day.
  • Write down in a few keywords what you must do tomorrow.
  • Set your status to "absent" on the various communication channels and turn off your notifications.
  • Clear your desk, close your laptop, put it away, so your workplace has really 'disappeared'. You have finished your day of study.
  • Go outside again or do something that gives you energy that has nothing to do with work or study.
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