The study during quarantine.
In these difficult times, in which a large part of the world population is confined due to the coronavirus , it seems that studies have been relegated to the background or even set aside due to the fact of not attending the classrooms in person and having changed the method of teaching studies.
Although it is true that teachers and students have tried to adapt to new circumstances by inserting digital communication channels and using e-learning , there are students who are unable to focus and find the necessary balance between leisure time and the study during the coronavirus quarantine. For this reason, the following post will be dedicated to exposing a series of guidelines that can help improve student performance, concentration level and motivation.
What is the ideal space for study during quarantine?
In order to concentrate on studying during quarantine, it is necessary to choose a comfortable and practical place where the task can be carried out without being interrupted, avoiding the temptation to use the computer in bed , since electronic devices increase the level of brain activation , so that, in the long term, one can end up unconsciously associating being in bed with the need to increase the level of attention.
It is also important to have enough space to easily access the necessary support tools (eg books or a glass of water to avoid getting up during the study). It is also essential that said room remains orderly, since it has been found that there is a direct relationship between the space in which one is located and the perception of one’s interior , so that disorder can increase mental chaos and vice versa.
On the other hand, it is convenient that such a desk is located near a window , since natural light improves concentration. Regarding the temperature, it is recommended that it be between twenty-one and twenty-three degrees, being able to open the window during breaks to oxygenate and ventilate the room.
It should be noted that not only the environment of the place predisposes to study, but also the appearance and personal care. For this reason, it is advisable to maintain care routines and dress in comfortable clothing – but different from those used at home – as it makes one feel in a work environment, thus favoring concentration and separation of work spaces. leisure and work.
Tips to avoid injury while studying in online quarantine .
Due to the large amount of time that will be spent studying in quarantine, here are a series of tips to avoid damaging health during the study:
- Regarding the position of the screen:
- It is preferable to place the upper part of the computer screen at eye level at an angle , avoiding possible reflections and reverberations.
- The minimum recommended distance for the mobile is thirty centimeters, for the tablet forty centimeters and for the laptop fifty centimeters (although the ideal distance from the computer screen is between sixty-five and seventy centimeters ).
- Regarding eye health:
- It is advisable to rest your eyes every twenty minutes, looking away for about twenty seconds and focusing your eyes on an object that is relatively far away (preferably about six meters).
- To avoid dry eye syndrome and its possible complications, it is advisable to blink frequently while working with screens (it has been detected that when in front of a screen the blinking is decreased up to five times).
- Regarding body posture:
- To avoid unnecessary pain and injury, it is recommended to have a non-forced body posture and to maintain right angles between the back, thigh and leg, as well as between the arm and the forearm.
- It is preferable to place the keyboard at a distance that allows you to rest your arms and hands on the desk.
Advantages of online classes versus individual study.
The current online class system has a series of advantages such as promoting the responsibility and autonomy of students, so that they become masters of their own time, being able to manage it at their convenience. Thus, the present relationship with the students , who due to the quarantine cannot attend the classroom in person, supposes a vote of confidence in the student’s work , since the student agrees to express their doubts after having worked on the syllabus and not only after having consulted the corrections sent by the teacher. Thus, going to the online class and paying attention to it, participating and taking notes, will facilitate familiarization with the agenda and content retention, which will have a positive impact on subsequent individual performance.
Why is it necessary to create a study habit during quarantine?
Given the current situation due to coronavirus, it is essential to establish a routine with a marked study schedule during quarantine, since it is especially difficult to differentiate leisure spaces from work spaces . Some research indicates that it takes between twenty and thirty days to adapt and create a new habit, so getting used to having a study routine requires effort, dedication and time, that is, a long-term vision.
What factors must be taken into account to organize a study schedule?
In Spain, the average time spent by adolescents is ninety minutes , reserving two hours a week for each core subject (language, mathematics and science). L os university spend a half hour of just over thirteen weekly hours preparing their subjects . Therefore, given the hours that are used on average in each subject, it is advisable to try to keep up with the delivery of work and studies. For this reason, even if there are no daily video classes, each one has to schedule their own classes and give some continuity to the subject, avoiding binges that favor short-term memory versus long-term retention.
In order to organize the schedule, you have to take into account your own preferences , this means that if you concentrate more in the afternoon you have to organize your study time in that time slot. In addition, the student must differentiate the school days of the weekend to be able to clear up, trying to avoid intensive study sessions (of more than three or four hours with breaks, but without differentiating the morning from the afternoon or without resting a minimum of two hours followed), which saturates and demotivates. It is also advisable to avoid studying at night and set a specific schedule, in order to get used to studying at certain times, which will facilitate concentration in the study.
In any case, it is essential that the student specify the real time that he is going to dedicate to each exercise , using his own experience (usually less time is calculated than necessary). In addition, this action plan reduces anxiety due to disorganization, also appreciating the objectives achieved.
How can you set more realistic goals?
It is difficult to motivate yourself to study when you see all the syllabus and the work that remains to be done. Therefore, it is advisable to set intermediate objectives , these are small goals to gradually reach the desired result based on effort and perseverance. For example, the intermediate objectives to carry out a work on anxiety would be to find and collect information, write the symptomatology section, refer to the differential disorder, comment on possible interventions, etc. Setting these shorter goals will facilitate their achievement, reduce the level of stress and increase the level of motivation by having an action plan in place.
On the other hand, having the syllabus is a clear advantage, since study hours can be organized based on the level of perceived difficulty and the actual thickness of the subject . Of course, a realistic workload is essential to avoid failure. Also, it is preferable to start with the most difficult tasks , since at the beginning is when you have more energy and the task becomes less complicated.
Regarding how to select the tasks, a list can be made with all those pending (those that need to be executed within one or two weeks). Then, a time limit has to be established for each one and organized in order of priority , setting increasingly higher goals as different objectives are crossed off the list. Regarding the list of tasks, it is recommended to write them down integrated in a physical study schedule or in a virtual calendar, since it is a way of structuring the time while helping to commit to the task, which serves to avoid letting the day go by without doing the planned activities.
How often should the breaks be done?
Different studies of the psychology of attention have found that after forty-five minutes the level of concentration is reduced , so it is recommended to schedule breaks once that time has passed at least, without exceeding one hour and average maximum. Said breaks should be approximately fifteen minutes and vary according to the level of concentration, that is, if you feel concentrated and are working effectively, the rest can be postponed or vice versa.
What does the duration of the breaks depend on?
In this sense, it must be taken into account that the duration of the rest depends on several factors, which are detailed below:
- Time worked and mental fatigue : Logically, the longer the time worked or the level of difficulty of the task, the longer the break will have to be prolonged. Also, given that performance and mental fatigue tend to worsen as the study time lengthens, it is advisable to slightly extend the breaks.
- The physical and emotional state : There are days when one is fresher and performs better, while there are others when one feels discomfort or fatigue. It is convenient to self-observe and be realistic when it comes to limiting the rest time. It should be noted that, contrary to what some people may think, experiencing a certain level of stress is not harmful, as it helps to stay active and attentive. However, do not allow this feeling to end up saturating and leading to anxiety that prevents concentration.
- The habit : When you do not have a study habit or it is difficult to maintain your attention for a long time, it is advisable to take short breaks more in a row (eg studying for 25 minutes and taking breaks of 5 minutes).
During breaks, you can take advantage of it to eat something (a piece of fruit or other nutritious food), as well as to check your mobile phone, although without overdoing it, as it is convenient to relax your eyes . It is also advisable to try to relax by talking to other people or taking the air on the balcony or patio.
Why is it important to stay in contact with classmates?
Isolating yourself can lead to a significant drop in academic performance due to the boredom it can cause. Therefore, sharing doubts or reflections about the agenda can help increase interest in it, in addition to improving the mood. In fact, it has been shown that students absorb more easily the information that they have explained to each other, as well as that the act of teaching improves the understanding of the syllabus , so that sharing knowledge serves to reinforce learning.
Following the above guidelines will help not only to improve academic performance, but also to gain free time, which is vital to maintain motivation and the correct state of mind of the student. But, what can be done when one cannot concentrate despite having carried out these guidelines? How can one overcome laziness or the burden of having a large amount of material ahead of him?
In the next blog entry we will answer what can be done to improve concentration and avoid continuing to postpone the study.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.