Tips for Working Remotely

An IU Student works on computer

The spread of COVID-19 has led to some significant changes on Indiana University’s campus. One of the largest impacts on students is the suspension of face-to-face classes. Even though we will not be learning in the traditional classroom, today’s technology allows us to learn and work remotely with similar achievement. Here are some tips for working remotely on your courses.

Plan Ahead

It is important to prepare for working remotely. First, do you have the necessary materials and technology? Don’t forget your textbooks, notebooks, or any sort of school supplies you might need to complete assignments. Make sure your laptop has the means to keep up with remote learning, or find an alternate solution. Another very important resource is wifi; test this out to confirm if it has the capacity to keep you connected. Next, you’ll need to keep in mind your workspace. Since you are not in a traditional classroom, find a place that will stimulate learning similarly. A quiet area with little to no distractions is ideal for most people. Try to get out of your bedroom, especially if you default to working on your bed. Keeping your work space and resting space separate should help you to focus, so find a place that is comfortable and works for you.

Have a Routine

I cannot stress this enough. We are used to a class schedule with meetings and activities sprinkled into our weeks, so sticking to a routine will be helpful. Check to see if classes are meeting virtually at normal times, and schedule those first. Decide when you would like to do all your work. For me, I like to have large chunks of work time scheduled in a row because that is when I am most productive. Remember to build breaks into your day and give your mind time to rest.

Once you have a routine, don’t let little things cut into your work time. It can be hard when you don’t physically have to be in a certain place to do your work, but practice saying no when something could impede your time to be productive. Organizing your class schedule and assignment work time is a great way to keep everything balanced. If you decide to work on assignments from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., begin at 2 and stop at 5. Even if you are motivated to continue your work, get to a good stopping point and stick to the guidelines you previously made. This will help you to stay on track without overworking yourself.

Rank Your Priorities

I once heard a scenario that explains priorities pretty well: say you have a glass jar that you need to fill with large rocks and sand. If you put the sand in first, there won’t be enough room for the rocks, but if you put the rocks in first, the sand will fill the gaps. Even though the environment in which we learn has changed, academics are rocks in this scenario; they are just as important. It’s crucial to strive for excellence in your courses, and working remotely tests that motivation. This can be a good thing because it strengthens your perseverance, so continue to put in the effort. Staying connected via email and Canvas is also imperative; you’ll want to be up-to-date on everything. Keep up with your classes, and let the sand fall into place.

Academics are significant, but the biggest priority is you. Your health and well being should always come first. Your learning style may not directly align with remote teaching, so find ways in which you can adjust and reach out to professors about accommodations if you need them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of online resources out there to assist you. UITS is always available if you need tech help and can be reached remotely by phone, email, or online chat. The university, your professors, and your peers want you to succeed, so take whatever action is necessary for you to do your best.

Despite the nontraditional setting of remote classes, we can still give our best effort. Plan your schedule, stay on track, and identify what is most important for you. I hope these tips can help you when working from home.

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