One of the benefits and challenges of being a graduate student is managing your own time. With only 1-2 courses this term, and the majority of my energy focused on my thesis, I find that it isn't necessary to go to school to do work.
Last year, with such a large course load, finding time between classes to do work was advantageous. I associated certain spots at the school with working, and would make good use of 30 minutes here and there to churn out emails or recopy notes from yesterdays lecture.
Being able to identify your situation when you are most productive is the first step in planning a successful work space.
This second year, I'm managing my own time and goals and it was hard to break from my previous work habits that did so much for me! Convenience and efficiency became increasingly more important over this second year, and so I've developed a system to work at home. When I need to get out of the house, I'll usually post up at a cafe with study buddies to change it up.
Working home works best when I adopt 2 key approaches.
Separate home and work. When I'm at home not doing work, I don't do work! This means not checking email. I also don't do work in bed. I get errands and chores out of the way before I sit down to work, or schedule time after. You can think about this like the decorating tips for people living in lofts or studios - divide your "space" into different living areas.
Take frequent breaks. I use the Pomodoro method (20 minutes work, 5 minutes break). My breaks include stretching, stepping outside for fresh air, or doing at-home exercises. These are 'rewards' I cannot have when I am out studying at a cafe or in school.
Building off this, and perhaps more applicable to those that have office space, there are some easy methods to use your workspace to actually make you more productive.
Think it out and make it happen.
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