Now that libraries are closed and people have to self-isolate, law students all over England are left working from home. Despite these strict security measures, law exams are still on and so we have to continue studying.
It can be difficult to re-structure your day when you’re used to getting your work done at coffee shops and library rooms. It might seem impossible to not grab that guitar in the corner of your room or hang out with your flatmates when you’re supposed to be working. This article will give you five tips on how to keep from being distracted and ensure that this self-isolation period does not turn into one long weekend.
Do What You Usually Do
Those pyjamas are particularly appealing when you know you’re not going out. However, maintaining some of your usual habits can help you stay productive and help you get in your ‘work’ mindset. Get ready as if you are going to the library or coffee shop: put on something that is not loungewear and makes you feel like you are actually going to work.
Do you have other ritualistic things you do in the morning, like making a cup of coffee? Keep them in your daily routine. Have lunch and take small breaks at the same times you usually do. These things will help you maintain some structure and get some actual work done.
Create a Separate Workspace
One of the problems with working from home is that you start mixing your work and leisure time. Don’t fall for the temptation to work from your bed. Now, most of us students do not have that much space, but if you can, set up your workplace in another room. If you have to work in your bedroom, you should make one corner of it your office space.
This might seem trivial, but it is important to separate your workplace from your leisure space. If you start mixing it, it will make it that much more difficult to keep from getting distracted. If you don’t maintain boundaries, you may always feel like you’re at work and lose a place to come home to. Distinguishing a separate space in your home for work will help you set those boundaries.
The feeling of isolation can weaken your productivity and motivation. Schedule in facetime conversations with other law students in order to overcome this. You can also discuss any issues you have with the revision topics and share productivity tips.
When you take your breaks, make sure to schedule in facetime conversations with friends and family. Since you are isolated most of the time, you should use some of your breaks to socialise instead of relying on Netflix to get you through it. Staying connected with others is crucial for your psychological well-being, which will help you stay motivated and productive when it comes to studying.
Make a Plan
You might feel a bit lost now that you can’t go to lectures, seminars or even the library anymore. Whether it is for the day or the whole week, making a plan can help you structure your workday at home. Knowing what to do and when to do it will help you maintain your productivity and structure in a time where your usual habits are thrown out the window.
For instance, you may decide to revise company law on Tuesday and medical law on Wednesday. You can go even more specific and schedule what exactly you will revise on the day in question. You may decide to revise all the relevant statutes in the morning, case law around noon and then how to apply those legal rules to previous exam questions in the late afternoon.
Set Rules With Your Flatmates
OK, this one might be a bit awkward. However, now that all your flatmates are probably lounging around in the flat all the time it might get a bit crowded – and loud. If they’re not as hyped about getting work done as you are, ask them to keep their music and chatter down during the day.
You can also give them a heads up and say that you can’t hang out with them at certain times during the day. In that way, you won’t be distracted while you work, and, let’s be honest, its much more tempting to hang with them than to re-read Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co for the sixth time.
We are all in an unusual situation right now. However, there are thousands of people who work from home year round and actually manage to stay productive. If you implement these tips, you’ll be fine come exam time.
In fact, take this self-isolation time as an opportunity to really revise the exam topics. Read the cases in detail, listen to podcasts on the subjects, and read the additional reading on the seminar sheets. And, if the isolation is making you feel down, take a break and call some friends. You won’t have a very productive workday if your head is in a completely different place.