Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Dr. Scaffa's Tips for Working and Studying at Home

Marjorie Scaffa, Ph.D., health and wellness counselor at the USA College of Medicine, shares some helpful tips for working and studying at home. They serve as a follow-up to the Tips for Online Learning that Timothy Gilbert, Ed.D., recently presented in a Health & Wellness Chat.

Tips for Working/Studying at Home
  • Schedule regular breaks. Take time to mindfully drink your coffee or focus on your breathing.
  • Write a weekly goals list. Break tasks down into smaller steps and cross them off as you go to maintain a sense of progress throughout the day. 
  • Identify one to three “Most Important Tasks.” Creating a daily MIT list helps you prioritize your most important and urgent tasks. 
  • Review your crossed-off items at the end of the day. Taking stock of your achievements can help boost mental well-being. 
  • Try a to-do list app. 
  • Experiment with productivity strategies such as The Pomodoro Technique and Eat The Frog (see more information below).
  • Write your daily to-do list the night before. You might find that being able to start work right away in the morning helps increase your productivity. Also, this practice can help you clear your mind and switch off in the evening. 
  • Tidy your work space at the end of the day. Research finds that cluttered environments interfere with your ability to focus. 
  • Develop a regular sleep schedule. 
  • Create an end-of-workday ritual. You might find it helpful to create an end-of-day ritual such as listening to your favorite music, spending time with family (in person or virtually), meditation, or taking a walk. 
  • Create weekly traditions and schedule activities to look forward to. Strengthen family/friend routines through traditions such as “Board Game Fridays” and “Movie Night Mondays.”
  • Be kind to yourself. You have a lot on your plate. Be mindful of your inner critic, and remind yourself that you can only do the best you can. 
Productivity Strategies
In order to improve your productivity while you work/study at home, you might try either the Pomodoro Technique or the Eat the Frog Method, or a combination.

The Pomodoro Technique
Was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. He called it the Pomodoro Technique because the timer he used was shaped like a tomato.

Eat the Frog Method
Was developed by Brian Tracy (2001) based on a Mark Twain quote: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
  • Decide on your Most Important Task (MIT) - “the Frog”
  • Pick something realistic you can check off your to-do list in 1 to 4 hours.
  • If your MIT is going to take more than half a day, break it down into smaller subtasks that will take 4 hours or less.
  • Resist the temptation to plan ahead (for example, a whole week). Stay focused on today.
  • Commit to and prepare for (set up) your MIT the night before.
  • Do your MIT first thing. Focus all of your mental energy on your MIT.

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