These days, with so many of us spending much more time indoors than ever before, it makes sense that you use the time as wisely as possible. One of the best ways to use it is for studying, whether this is an online MBA program or a short course. Whatever you choose to learn, it is worth setting up the best learning environment at home to make your studying as effective as possible. There is no doubt that this can prove to be a challenge for many people who prefer a more traditional studying environment. In the following blog post, let’s look closer at the ways that you can study better from the comfort of your own home.
Choose a Subject You Are Passionate About
One way of making learning from home not to feel like it is such a chore is choosing a subject you are passionate about. So, when you choose an online MBA program, pick a topic that you want to learn or improve. It also helps if you have some other motivating factors as well, although interest and enthusiasm go a long way toward motivation when things get tough. For example, you may want to take a course because it will significantly boost your job prospects and help to get a higher salary. Alternatively, a certain subject may help you in your quest to start a business directly related to that field. Choosing something you are genuinely passionate about will not feel like work every time you sit down for a big study session.
Optimize Your Learning Environment
Ideally, you will have your own room of the house in which to study, but if you are not blessed with this amount of space, you can still make a comfortable learning corner for yourself. In a perfect world, it will be somewhere comfortable where distractions are kept to a minimum. Plenty of natural light is also a useful addition to your learning environment. When you have selected your space, you can add everything you need, including a computer, desk, chair, textbooks, stationery, and anything else that may prove useful. Some tasteful decoration and memorable photographs can also help to keep your mood elevated while you are studying. Let other family members that you need quiet time while you are in your office, so any distractions are kept as minimal as possible. Obviously, it will also need to be a place that has a strong Wi-Fi connection – especially if you are taking a dedicated course like an online MBA program.
Manage Your Time Effectively
When you are learning from home, you are the one in charge of your own time management. It is particularly important when you are taking a complex course like an online MBA program. This means that you have to be more disciplined in keeping regular study hours. Ideally, it is worth sitting down at the start of each week and determining the time you can set aside to learn. When you get into your office, you should devote as much of the time as you can to studying. You can minimize distractions by keeping your phone out of the room and blocking any time-wasting websites on your browser. When you have deadlines, make sure that you always give yourself enough time to hit them. Of course, sometimes life will get in the way, and you will have to adjust your study hours, so you need a certain degree of flexibility in time management.
Closely linked to effective time management is a good organization technique. While many people use an online filing system these days rather than keeping papers, you still need to ensure that this is properly managed. Ultimately, different people work in different ways, so you need to develop a system that works for you. A big part of organization in the modern way of working is keeping on top of your emails, as well as sending responses in a timely manner. If you are taking part in an organized program such as an online MBA program, you need to make sure that you have the times of your classes marked and you attend them. Also, any face-to-face meetings with tutors and professors need to be marked down.
For some people, being organized also involves making a timetable, which can guide you through what needs doing and when. Write your schedule down so you can keep referring back to it as and when needed. Do not forget to schedule in the breaks that we discussed earlier in the blog post. A timer will help you stick to the schedule you have set aside for yourself, so use one if you would like.
Try Different Studying Techniques
Rather than simply engaging in passive learning techniques like watching videos or reading books, it is worth introducing some more active studying into your regular routine. For example, if you are trying to learn a new language, try having active conversations with a native speaker rather than just reading through a long list of vocabulary and verbs which are unlikely to filter through into your long-term memory. Before you begin your study session, set yourself some learning objectives of what you hope to achieve from the time. At the end of the session, give yourself a reviewing exercise to determine whether or not you have been successful.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A big part of whether you retain the information or not happens between the sheets. Most adults need between seven and nine hours a night, though this obviously varies from person to person. When you are tired, you are a lot less likely to take in information in the clearest way. Ideally, it would help if you tried to pick a time during the day to study when you are not feeling at your most tired. Some people prefer to burn the midnight oil, whereas others are early birds. It may take a bit of experimentation before you work out which kind of person you are. If you are the kind of person who has always struggled with sleep, make sure that you create a comfortable bedroom environment that is cool, dark, and quiet. Get into a bedtime routine each night that follows the same schedule of relaxing activities, and you should try to keep the same bedtime at weekends and evenings to keep a consistent sleep pattern. Try to keep any devices out of the bedroom as these have been shown to be disruptive to sleep.
In fact, taking breaks is another important part of effective studying. Our brains are not wired in such a way that we can continually retain information for hours on end. For every hour that you study, you should at least take a few minutes off. Try to do something that gets you away from the computer for a while. Scrolling through your social media feeds is not the best way to refresh your brain and get it ready to take in more information. Instead, walk around or do some gentle stretches. Listen to some music or take part in another activity that is not too taxing to your brain. For some people, taking a quick ‘power nap’ is a great way to recharge those synapses and getting them firing again at full power.
Give Yourself Rewards
It can help your motivation levels if you have a clear aim or target that you are working toward on your online MBA program. When you achieve that milestone, it is worth marking it with a personal reward of some kind. This can range from ordering your favorite meal to a trip out, but if you have something to work towards, it gives you that extra impetus to work a little bit harder to achieve your goals. The biggest reward should be saved for the time that you complete your online MBA program or finish your final exam. Just having this clear end in sight can be enormously motivating and beneficial to you.
While it may be tempting to eat and drink sugary and unhealthy snacks and drinks, these can end up with you crashing rather than giving you the sustained energy that you need to get through the study session to the end. You also do not want to study while you are hungry, as this can make it very distracting when you are studying. At the same time, you may not want to study on a full stomach as this is the time when a lot of people feel like taking a nap. Prepare some healthy snacks in advance, and you will have enough sustenance to get you through to the end of your session. It is also a good idea to have a water bottle to hand as H2O has been shown to be enormously important in proper brain functioning.
Get Distractions Out of the Way
Often, study sessions can be disrupted by little chores that you suddenly remember to do that cannot be left for a couple of hours more! So, if you get your cleaning and tidying out of the way well in advance of the session beginning, you will have no excuses that will drag you away from your books. A cluttered environment can make it more difficult for some people to concentrate, so there is another natural advantage involved in cleaning and tidying before a study session. On top of this, if you have any other basic admin preying on your mind, you should aim to get this completed. When you have a clear mind, you are much more likely to absorb information.
Coordinate Group Chats
It can get lonely when you are studying an online MBA program all by yourself and scheduling some chats can be a great way of giving yourself some new learning perspectives, as well as some much-needed social interaction. Ensure that you download the software you require for the chats such as Zoom and Skype and schedule the meetings in advance. Ideally, someone should take charge of the chat as they can easily get out of control if you have many people all wanting to speak at once.
Keep Your Technology Updated
There is nothing more frustrating than a slow laptop when you are trying to study. A big part of the problem may be that you are not installing the updates when required but remember that this is important for the computer’s overall health and security. New software is easier to download than ever before. Sometimes, it is free, but you may have to pay for the most advanced tools out there. In certain circumstances, your equipment may be too old, and in need of an update, so you get the very best learning experience.
Studying from home can be an enormously rewarding experience, but you need to ensure that you make the most of it. Before anything, you need to select the online MBA program that you are passionate about, ensuring that you have a high level of passion for the subject. First, you are going to need a proper learning environment where you can concentrate on a minimal number of distractions. It would be best if you also stayed organized to ensure that you hit any deadlines that you are set. Get enough sleep, eat properly, and drink water regularly as these activities will all set you up well for a great study session. Ensure that you keep in regular contact with your tutors and your course-mates as this will help give you some new and alternative learning perspectives. Try to set clear study hours and keep distractions out of the way in the best way possible. Always keep in mind your ultimate goal and when you finally get around to achieving it, give yourself the rewards that you deserve. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the experience as studying online is certainly worthwhile for all types of people from a wide variety of personal and professional backgrounds.