According to recruitment firm Robert Walters, there are three types of remote worker: the workaholic, the daydreamer and the recluse.
Adopting the same principle, aspects of this article could be applied to students who, although they may not be remote working within a confined 9.00am-5:30pm structure, are still preparing for their exams and completing assignments.
Without a structure to adhere to it can be difficult to organise your time and you can easily find yourself studying too much or not at all.
Below are some timetables which may help each type of student organise their day and get the most out of their time when it comes to university work. But before that, we have broken down the three types of students and outlined what traits dictate the category they fall into.
Everybody has a workaholic in their life, and we can sometimes be envious of the amount of work that they are able to get through. They always seem to be ahead of schedule and never put a foot wrong. However, from the perspective of the workaholic it is an entirely different story. They struggle to switch off and often have a hard time separating their studies from their personal life. Although they may be handing in their assignments on time, they may miss out on social occasions because of this.
Now that students are at home it’s easy for a workaholic to get drawn into the trap of using all their free time to work more. They feel a pressure to be more productive during this period and often burn out.
In the same way that others can be jealous of workaholics, daydreamers possess a quality that many people wish they had – the ability to switch off. Daydreamers never seem to be overwhelmed and take everything in their stride. They have an abundance of imaginative thought and are able to separate their studies from their personal life.
However, now that we are surrounded by constant distractions, day dreamers are finding it more difficult than ever to complete tasks and can often have three things on the go at once without giving each task the attention it deserves. Despite having good intentions, daydreamers can often see a day end without getting any work done.
Recluses like their own company and enjoy working alone; however this can be a slippery slope that leads to isolation.
Recluses don’t enjoy video calls and shy away from social interaction. They prefer to hide behind emails and limit the amount of interaction they have with their classmates. They might find that they are becoming too comfortable at home and they are beginning to fall behind in their studies.
|Suggested daily schedule: The Workaholic|
|8.15||Try to fit in some light exercise or just take half an hour to clear your head.|
|8.45||Shower and get dressed|
|9.15||Have breakfast and catch up on any emails or texts you may have.|
|9.45||Set out your daily tasks in priority order|
|10.00||Get to studying/completing assignments|
|11.30||Make a coffee or healthy snack and have a catch-up with someone from your course.|
|11.45||Back to study/assignments|
|13.00||Lunch break – get up and get away from your study area. If it’s safe to do so, go outside for some fresh air; otherwise, stay indoors and read, prepare a healthy lunch or work on a hobby. Take a full 30-60 minutes to give your brain and body a chance to recharge.|
|14.00||Back to study/assignments|
|15.30||Take a tea break, message a friend or take a few minutes to help around the house.|
|15.45||Back to study/assignments|
|16.30||Start to wind down for the day. Avoid starting a new task if it’s likely to be complicated or take a long time to complete.|
|17.30||Finish up for the day – take a moment to appreciate the shutting down of your laptop and then unwind for the rest of the day.|
|Suggested daily schedule: The Daydreamer|
|8.15||Have breakfast and check your emails/texts or catch up on the news.|
|9.15||Shower and get dressed|
|9.45||Start study/assignments — set out your daily objectives and categorise them by urgency or importance. Highlight any tasks or deadlines that you absolutely cannot miss.|
|10.30||Make a coffee or healthy snack and have a catch-up with someone from your class.|
|10.45||Back to study/assignments|
|12.15||Take a step back – Revisit your daily objectives and assess your progress. If you’ve gotten off track, adjust your afternoon schedule to get yourself back on track.|
|12.30||Lunch break – get up and get away from your study area. If it’s safe to do so, go outside for some fresh air; otherwise, stay indoors and read, prepare a healthy lunch or work on a hobby. Take a full 30-60 minutes to give your brain and body a chance to recharge.|
|13.30||Back to study/assignments|
|15.30||Time for a break — make a cup of tea and get up to stretch your legs. If you’ve been using a computer all day, try not to look at any screens, including your mobile phone.|
|15.45||Back to study/assignments — the final stretch! Revisit your daily objectives to assess your progress. Focus on getting your most urgent tasks done before the end of the day.|
|17.15||Start to wind down for the day. Finish off any remaining urgent tasks, and perhaps look at re-prioritising any uncompleted tasks for the following day.|
|17.30||Log off and shut down your computer (or, at the very least, your emails). By giving your workday a definitive end, you can help improve your focus during the day and avoid working late into the night to finish tasks you should have completed during normal business hours.|
The Recluse – advice
Unwilling recluses don’t necessarily need help in structuring their day. They can get their work done on time and can also switch off once their study is complete. It’s the virtual interactions that they need assistance with and how to come out of their shell to make their days more enjoyable.
C u l8r
Although text language is a thing of the past now, shortened sentences and abbreviations are still used. It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation through text so if possible, make a phone call instead of creating a long chain of text messages. You will be able to say everything you want in the space of 45mins instead of texting someone throughout the day, which will prove distracting. Having a phone call also prevents you from staring at the screen for long periods (provided you are not using FaceTime).
Make a small contribution
If your lectures are taking place online it’s very easy to leave yourself on mute for the duration of the lesson and not say anything. Try to set yourself the challenge of asking one question per lecture. This is a small step but will make a huge difference. In these times it’s the only way to show that you are engaged with what is being taught and you will be surprised how many of your classmates are just waiting for someone to ask the first question before they chime in.
Silence is golden
In these times of solitude, it’s important to embrace silence. It is a good thing to enjoy your own company so use that to your advantage. Take time at the end of each day to compartmentalise everything and acknowledge the good work that you’ve done and the steps forward that you have taken.
At this moment in time everyone has begun to adjust to the new normal and has accepted that this is how things are going to be for the foreseeable future. That’s a good first step. The next stage is about embracing the new world we live in and making the most of the positives despite what is happening around us. If you can give your day structure and make progress with your study and assignments, it will go a long way to helping you adapt now and be ready for the new future when it arrives.