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How to study in distance mode

As a result of coronavirus, we had to switch to distance studies, and study from home. There are many advantages to this. Here are lector Aseel Berglunds best tips to help you get the very most out of your home-based studies.

An enjoyable setting

  • Separate study space
    If possible, find an out-of-the-way spot where you can study. Do you have a desk? Use it! The kitchen table is also a good place. Avoid studying on the couch or in bed. If you don’t have a separate place to study, you should tidy up your study space at the end of each day. This way, you separate your studies and your private life.
  • Eliminate distractions
    Make sure you have a pleasant study setting at home, one that encourages you to study. Remove clutter, dishes that are in the way, etc. This will make it easier for you to concentrate.

Morning routine

  • Get up
    Get up at your regular time. Avoid sleeping in, as this will pull you out of your routine.
  • Put some ‘outside’ clothes on
    Start the day by getting dressed. This will mentally help you shift to study mode. Forget your pyjamas and cosy sweatsuit – items like these make you feel like it’s chill-out time.
  • Take care of your body
    Be sure to eat breakfast and brush your teeth. It’s important that you have energy as you start your day.
  • Go to campus, but at home
    Go for a short walk, to ‘go to campus’. This also helps you realise that today is a study day, just like all the others.

Study day

  • Set goals for the day
    What do you want to have finished by the end of the day? Make a bullet list of the most important things you want to do during the day, and focus on getting them done. If you do this at the end of each day, you should start the following day by prioritising your activities. When you have a plan for the week, it’s easy to break it down to daily plans.
  • Structure your day
    It’s important that you separate your studies and your leisure, so the two don’t merge. Make a timetable for yourself, including when the day starts, when you have lunch, and when you finish for the day. Remember to include breaks. You will have remote, timetabled components such as lectures, seminars and labs. Make sure you participate in these – this will give your day a natural structure. If you don’t have any timetabled events, it’s even more important that you structure your day into different sections.
  • Plan lunch ahead of time
    When you study at home, there’s a greater risk that you’ll forget to eat. Make sure you eat lunch, and that it’s not just a crispbread sandwich or boiled pasta. Prepare a lunchbox the night before, so you reduce the risk of losing focus if you’re cooking food.
  • Do the important stuff first
    Start the day by working on the most important things you’ve listed for the day.
  • Take breaks
    Make sure you take breaks. When you do, leave your study space. It’s good to take a short walk, even if it’s raining or cold outside. Fresh air and physical activity help you concentrate better.
  • Study with others online
    Meet up with other students online, for a study session. Having a fixed time will benefit your study skills.

Finishing off your day

  • Finish the day by going over your goals for tomorrow
    Finish every day by planning the next day’s activities: write down the five most important things that you have to do the following day. It’s great if you can make these visible, e.g. put your to-do list on your keyboard or computer screen, and your assignments on the desktop.
  • Tidy up your study space
    Make sure your study space is in order at the end of the day. This makes it more pleasant to get started the next day. If you don’t have a dedicated study space, you should still tidy up and remove your things.
  • Go ‘home’
    End the day by taking a walk – that is, ‘going home’. This makes it easier to mentally let go of your studies and create a division at home between study time and private time. On your walk, think of all the good things you’ve done during the day.

Continue your collaborations

Everyone’s in the same boat, so remember to help each other. Create online groups together with your study mates, where you can work together and discuss your assignments and projects.

Stay motivated

To maintain your motivation, reward yourself. Seeing your progress is important for your morale. Make sure you have a list of activities or things to be done during the day, and check them off so you feel you’re making progress. Or you can reward yourself when you meet a target or finish an assignment by taking a walk, having a break, looking at a video clip or an episode of a series – if you can limit yourself to just one, and can get right back to studying afterwards. Examples of this strategy: “When I’ve studied for 30 minutes, I’m going to get a cup of coffee”, or “When I’ve gone through these assignments, I’m going to take a five-minute walk”.

Identify digital distractions and eliminate them

Distractions are just a click away on your computer, tablet or mobile. When you’re studying at home, there’s a greater risk that you’ll be distracted by all the apps and entertainment programmes that you have on your various devices. Studying on a computer makes it easier to be distracted, because everything is so accessible. Put your phone away, at a distance, so it’s not as accessible, and set it to flight mode. To reduce the risk of distraction, identify the things that distract you – YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Steam or whatever the case may be. Block them during your study day.

Have a proper weekend

Make sure to take Saturday and Sunday off. Do what gives you energy and makes you happy.

Keep in touch with friends and family

Make sure you maintain contact with friends and family by way of social channels, chat rooms, phone calls or video calls.

Keep updated

It’s important to stay up-to-date, both in terms of the situation nationally, but also as regards LiU centrally, and your courses. For instance, schedule three or four times a day when you check the news updates, on reliable channels.

Spend time on your interests

Provided they fall within the current recommendations and guidelines, it’s important to keep spending time on your hobbies and interests.


Read the checklist from LiU on distance studies

Page manager: studenthalsan@liu.se
Last updated: 2021-06-18