Remote work has become our new reality, especially in 2020.

A lot of us are new to working or studying from home. It can be challenging to organise our work processes in our homes. As a Cass MSc Global Finance student, my programme is taught online so I have unique insights into how to study effectively at home.

Here are my top three tips that help me stay productive while working and studying from home:

  1. Create a schedule

For me, the benefit of studying from home is that I do not need to follow a typical 9-to-5 schedule. While you need to be present online during normal working hours to be able to contact your colleagues and classmates and join meetings, you also have the opportunity to optimise your day according to your productivity.

Figure out what your peak workflow times are by writing down your state of mind throughout the day. Some people would rather get all of their hard work out the way in the morning, even before breakfast, while others can only start thinking clearly after lunch and reach the top of their productivity by late night, like I do. Luckily, working from home means that no matter which category you fall into, you have the choice of making a schedule that best suits your peak workflow times.

Separating your working hours from personal time is helpful too. I always include regular breaks in my schedule. I use five to 45 minutes of rest every few hours to do things like home workouts, making another cup of tea or coffee, reading the news or even scrolling through my Instagram feed. I don’t consider my break times as a working time, otherwise, I’d be frustrated by the fact I’ve been working all day long!

  1. Dress for work

I think home clothes are so comfortable! However, they make me feel too relaxed and don’t motivate to study and work. A business-casual look would be the best option for me for working from home.

The smarter you look while working from home, the more dedication you show to yourself and your peers. If you were used to taking a shower and shaving every day for the office or university, keep doing it at home too.

  1. Make a to-do list

I am a firm believer in making to-do lists, with one caveat: don’t make it too long! The optimal size for me is three to seven tasks per day. It’s easier for me to arrange the whole week in advance by evenly spreading my plans throughout the week.

Why should it be short? Because there are going to be some unexpected or urgent tasks coming up throughout the day that you didn’t expect. Your schedule has to be flexible to manage those cases. If it’s already full, it means you’ll have to delay tasks to another day, which has a knock-on effect on your next day and I know the disappointment of having uncompleted tasks in your to-do list at the end of the day. To-do lists help you to see your work progress and keep you motivated.

Following these three simple rules, I can stay productive when I’m self-isolating and I can achieve even more goals right from my home. I hope my experience will be helpful to you too.

Stay safe and work hard!

Nikita Kozachenko, MSc Global Finance (2020)