2020 Spring Sarah Short Staff Feature

5 Work (or Study) from Home Tips from a Study Abroad Road-Pro

As the Institutional Relations Manager, I work remotely year-round from my home office in Denver, even when there’s not a pandemic! I’ve been doing so for several years now (when I’m not traveling the country to promote Temple’s study abroad programs). During this turbulent time, I’ve been busy trouble-shooting and liaising with our university partners from around the U.S. who send us their non-Temple students. So when I need to unwind at the end of the day, I’ve been going for walks in the (finally warm!) Colorado weather and keeping up with my music–I’m a singer and pianist. It’s been fun to make musical recordings for friends and family during this period of social-distancing! See below for my tips on working/studying from home!

Me at the piano

1) Stick to a regular daily schedule. If you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (making sure to get at least 7 hours), not only will you feel healthier, but you’ll have a much easier time being diligent about sticking to your regular study/work schedule.

2) Eliminate distractions. Do your best to set up a study/work space that’s removed from others you’re living with and where you’re not facing potential distractions. Use noise-cancelling headphones if you have them, and try to keep clutter off your desk/workspace. This will help you focus.

3) Take care of your body! I know from experience how damaging sitting for 8+ hours a day can be for your back, no matter how young you are. If you don’t have a sit/stand desk, alternate between sitting and standing by putting your laptop up on a high dresser, counter, or other piece of furniture that will allow you to stand comfortably while studying/working. Don’t sit for more than an hour at a time. Your future self will thank you for a healthy, pain-free back! 

My home office set-up

4) Communicate with your peers/team. One of the easiest pitfalls of studying/working from home is feeling a bit isolated from your peers/colleagues. Video meetings can help with that, as can scheduling a 30-minute session once a week to just catch up, like you would in the student union, library, or break room, for example.

5) Designate your work area. If you tend to move to lots of different places around your home during the school/work day, it can be hard to “shut down.” It’s best to have one designated study/work area that you can leave behind at the end of the day and tell yourself, “I’m done, and I’m leaving the work here.” (This is much easier to do if you also follow steps one and two!) 

Bonus tip) Don’t be hard on yourself while you adjust to studying/working remotely. Even those of us that have been doing it for years took some adjusting at the beginning. You’ll figure out what works best for you soon, so take care of yourself and be kind to yourself!

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