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How to reset a bad day

Posted on 08/06/2016 by
Baking a delicious treat is one way to turn your bad mood into a good mood!

Baking a delicious treat is one way to turn your bad mood into a good mood!

We all have them. Those days when nothing seems to go right, when you run out of milk and can’t have your morning coffee, or when you just can’t seem to focus on your study, let alone get anything done.

Bad days happen to everyone, but you don’t have to let it run its course. Instead, hit the reset button. Even though it can take some time, ‘resetting’ can significantly increase your productivity and mood afterwards – saving you from toiling away and not getting anything done at all.

Here are a few great ways to start fresh, even if it’s 2pm!

Clean your house

There’s something about the act of cleaning that simply makes you feel good. Whether it’s vacuuming the whole house, scrubbing the oven or getting the bathroom spotless, the feeling of accomplishment after achieving a tidy, clean home is undeniable. Put on your favourite tunes and get ready to scrub, because this activity can completely reset your day (not to mention, give you a clean house and win you brownie points from the flatmates/family, too).

Exercise

Pull out your yoga mat, put on your running shoes or head to the pool for a swim – any form of exercise can work wonders for your mood. This is because when you get the body moving, your brain releases endorphins, which are chemicals that create a positive feeling.

Once you’ve had your workout, you should be in a much more positive frame of mind, and ready to start the day over.

Phone a friend

Phoning a friend isn’t just a game show shortcut, it’s a legitimate way to improve your day. Give a good friend a ring and catch up, make plans for the weekend and have a good whinge about how badly your day is going. The kind and understanding voice at the other end of the line will help get you out of that rut.

Make a good meal

Cooking and baking can be an extremely cathartic exercise. As you give your hands and mind something specific to do with a set outcome, you’ll quickly lose yourself in the process of making a delicious meal or treat. By the time you’re ready to try studying again, you should feel refreshed, and at the very least, you’ll have something yummy to eat!

Have a nap

If all else fails, head back to bed for a nap. It’s entirely possible that you’re just a bit tired and need an extra hour before you’re truly ready to face the day.

Posted in Inspiration and motivation, Study From Home Tips | Tagged | Leave a reply

How to set up a distraction-free study space

Posted on 20/04/2016 by
Are you someone who gets distracted easily? You'll probably learn better if you strip your study space of any unnecessary distractions - read on for some tips.

Are you someone who gets distracted easily? You’ll probably learn better if you strip your study space of any unnecessary distractions – read on for some tips.

Distraction: “Something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention.”

Distractions are easily one of the toughest parts of studying from home. Whether it’s your kids, your pets, a sunny day outside, a new game on your phone, or even a pile of laundry that needs sorting, distractions will get in the way of your study and can slow you down significantly.

So how can you avoid them? Start by setting up a study space that’s as distraction-free as possible with these simple tips.

Remove your phone

We’re all guilty of idly picking up our mobile phones to see what’s happening on Facebook or in the news. When it’s sitting right in front of you, it’s hard not to.

So remove it.

It’s unrealistic to suggest to turn it off completely, so leave it on loud in case someone tries to get in touch with you, but place it on the other side of the room where it’s out of sight, and out of reach.

Make your decorations boring

Nobody wants to sit at an ugly study space all day, so many people decorate it with photos of loved ones, fun calendars and other cool items. As great as they are, they will ultimately distract you as you stare at them.

Keep some decorations, but make them simple things you won’t stare at – such as a pot plant or set of fairy lights.

Move your desk

Where does your desk currently face? Out the window and into a garden or over a nice view might sound blissful, but it quickly becomes a distraction when study becomes tough.

The trick is to keep the natural light but avoid facing directly outside, as this can help you focus on what’s in front of you on the screen, rather than what’s in front of you out the window. Save those scenic views for your breaks!

Store snacks at your study space

When study becomes a slog, the kitchen can suddenly start looking like a beacon of light. You’ll find yourself opening the fridge and cupboards looking for snacks and ultimately wasting time.

Start each day with healthy snacks and plenty of water at your study space so you don’t have an excuse to leave and look for something to eat.

Warn others

Flatmates, family members, and children can all be effective distractions from your studies. While some things are important, and some kids won’t understand why they can’t talk to mummy or daddy, make it as clear as possible to others that you need time to focus.

Setting up a routine will help those in your household to let you have your alone time for study. One idea is to let them know when you are planning to take breaks so they can talk to you then.

What’s your biggest distraction when studying from home, and how do you manage it?

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5 signs you’re studying too hard

Posted on 13/04/2016 by
Studying too hard can be just as bad as studying too little. Here are five signs you might be overdoing it (+ how to avoid burnout).

Studying too hard can be just as bad as studying too little. Here are five signs you might be overdoing it (+ how to avoid burnout).

When you study online via distance learning, it can be all too easy for your study to take over if you don’t set some study-life boundaries.

While keeping busy with study is a fantastic way to learn and grow, it’s important that you’re not overdoing it. Here are five signs that you might be studying too hard and need to find a way to cut back!

1. You’re not sleeping well

Sleep is a vital component in everyday life – from health to happiness and energy. Unfortunately, when you study too hard you can become stressed and anxious, and by the time you go to bed, you can’t get to sleep because it’s still all churning through your mind.

Stress about your study might also lead you to wake up throughout the night, or wake up earlier than you need to in the morning. It may help to write a to-do list before bed so that you can get those thoughts down on paper for the next day, rather than letting them circle around all night and keep you awake.

2. You don’t have much to show for your study

As much as this one doesn’t sound like it makes sense, it’s actually a common indicator that you’re studying too hard. If you get to the end of the day and can’t really say what you managed to achieve, it’s possible that your brain was too tired and unfocussed to actually achieve much at all.

It takes focus to get a lot done, and you can’t focus 24/7 no matter how hard you try. Make sure you’re taking regular study breaks to give your mind some reprieve from its workload so that you’re refreshed for the next task.

3. Your friends are giving up on you

Did you turn down that coffee date or miss out on that movie you wanted to see with friends because you were too busy studying? Your mates are probably almost as tired of your study schedule as you are.

Don’t forget to give yourself breaks to see your friends and family. Study is important, but you should never have to miss out on seeing the ones you love.

4. You procrastinate more

Procrastination is a normal human behaviour that you shouldn’t worry about too much. However, if you’re getting to the point where your day is more procrastination than study, it’s a good sign that you’ve already burnt out and simply can’t face getting anything done.

Rather than feel guilty about procrastinating, plan time out so you can do other things, then return to your study ready to get started – without checking all your social media accounts first.

5. Your health is suffering

This is a serious one – if you’re eating poorly, missing out on regular exercise, or simply spending too much time sitting still, you won’t be doing your body any favours.

As it’s all too easy to find an excuse to skip the gym or order takeaways instead of cooking a nutritious meal, health is one of the first things to go out the window when study comes a-knocking. If it goes on too long, it can adversely affect your studies and leave you feeling listless and tired.

Look for ways you can fit exercise and nutrition into your days to maintain good health and put yourself first.

Do any of these signs apply to you? Share your ideas for reducing your stress and workload in the comments below.

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Five study break ideas to boost your concentration

Posted on 30/03/2016 by
One of the best ways to recharge your mind when you're studying is by taking a quick break to exercise and stretch.

One of the best ways to recharge your mind when you’re studying is by taking a quick break to exercise.

As counter intuitive as this may sound, one of the best study tips we can give you is this: take regular breaks. Many studies have shown that the human mind can only concentrate for short blocks at a time and requires a ‘pause’ approximately every 45 minutes.

Studying for hours and hours on end, without taking breaks, may actually negatively impact your ability to retain key information. For better results, aim to step away from your notes and recharge your batteries at least once every two hours.

Before you get too excited and turn on the television, ‘recharge your batteries’ doesn’t mean binge-watching your favourite television programme. Ideally, study breaks shouldn’t last any longer than 30 minutes and should be something which relaxes and clears your mind, and reenergises you to tackle your next assignment.

Unsure what constitutes a ‘healthy’ study break? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below are five study break ideas which are guaranteed to boost your concentrate levels.

1. Exercise

The best thing you can do for your brain is get your blood pumping. Go for a walk around the block, hit the gym, do some weights in your lounge – whatever you do, aim to get out of your computer chair and increase your heart rate. If possible, exercise outdoors – the fresh air will do you good!

2. Meditation

Studying can be stressful and overwhelming. If you begin to feel anxious, take some time away from your desk to practice meditation. Never meditated before? Don’t worry, there are several free smartphone apps which can guide you through the process. Download one today to be one step closer to relaxation.

3. Nap

As indulgent as it may feel to take a nap in the middle of the day, this is often exactly what your brain needs. Just remember a nap is about 20 to 30 minutes maximum, so remember to set an alarm. If you sleep any longer than this, you will likely feel worse.

4. Colouring In

There’s a reason adult colouring in books are flying off the shelves – this arty activity is incredibly relaxing and brings out your creative side. Many people view this as a form of meditation, as the act of colouring allows your mind to freely wander and break free from anxious thoughts. Grab your colouring pens and give it a try.

5. Clean

Feel like you have ants in your pants and can’t concentrate on your study? Put on some gloves and give your home a spring clean! The simple act of doing dishes or vacuuming can help to relax your mind and give your body a much-needed break from the computer chair. Plus you’ll get to enjoy a sparkling clean house!

How do you enjoy your study breaks? Share your favourite break ideas in the comments below.

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5 apps to help you study

Posted on 09/03/2016 by
Technology can be a massive distraction... but it can also be a huge help! Read on for five great apps to help you study.

Technology can be a massive distraction… but it can also be a huge help! Read on for five great apps to help you study.

Study can be a challenge in a digital world that’s full of online distractions. Between updating Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, it’s a wonder we find the time to do anything else!

In all seriousness, social media can really undermine your ability to study from home if you don’t find ways to manage the addiction (yes, addiction!). When was the last time you went for an hour without checking your phone? It can be tough to concentrate on bookwork when all you want to do is send funny cat photos to your friend (trust me, I’ve been there).

The good news is, technology is not all bad. There are actually some great apps that can help you study. We’ve rounded up our five favourites below.

1.StayFocusd

Do you find yourself refreshing Facebook every five minutes, not because you want to, but out of habit? This app will make this a thing of the past. A Google Chrome extension, StayFocusd can temporarily block time-wasting websites of your choice. Next time you know you need to focus for a day simply use this app to block Facebook, and watch your productivity soar!

2.Trello

Used by businesses, individuals and of course students, Trello is essentially a fancy time-management ‘to-do-list’ app. It allows you to create a ‘card’ for each task and arrange them in order of priority. You can even invite other people to view your Trello boards, perfect for when you have a group assignment. If you love being organised, you’ll love Trello, which describes itself as “the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything”.

3.Flashcards

This iOS app – Flashcards by Brainscape – allows you to create your own digital flashcards; perfect for prepping for a test or trying to memorise important facts. It’s free (or a few dollars without advertisements) and works across all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc).

4. Dragon Dictation

If you find it really hard to ‘think on paper’ and come up with better ideas when talking out loud, the use Dragon Dictation to prepare for assignments. This app will record your voice, so you can play your thoughts back when it comes time to actually write your essay or prep for your test. It’s a good way to make sure you capture all of your ideas without having to take physical notes.

5. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can)

This app is quite possibly one of the most annoying apps ever invented, but it is perfect for those of you who are prone to sleeping in late. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) is very clever; the only way you can turn the alarm off is by taking a photo of a ‘registered object’. For example, you might register a photo of your kitchen sink or your front door – this means that in order to turn your alarm off in the morning, you have to physically get up and take a picture. Sleep if you can!

Do you use any great study apps? Tell us your favourites in the comments below.

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Study tips: three time management techniques for when stress hits

Posted on 16/09/2015 by
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of study you need to do? We share some time management techniques to help you get back on track.

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of study you need to do? We share some time management techniques to help you get back on track.

Sometimes stress can come out of nowhere. One day you’re feeling focused and in control, the next you feel overwhelmed by the mountain of work in front of you. When this happens, you have three choices:

  • Crawl back under the covers and pretend your to-do list doesn’t exist (aka – procrastinate).
  • Start working frantically, jumping from one task to the next, with barely a moment to stop and eat let alone check whether your work is up to standard (aka – take your stress levels and multiply them by 100).
  • Reassess your priorities (aka – get back in control)

 
Can you guess which approach we support?

When stress hits, the first thing you need to do is get organised and reassess your priorities. If you have a short amount of time to achieve a certain number of goals, then you need to figure out which tasks need to be done immediately, and which tasks can wait.

Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are three time management techniques that will help you become more productive and less stressed.
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Three things successful people do every morning

Posted on 12/08/2015 by
According to several studies, creating time

Setting yourself up for a successful day can be as simple as writing a few pages in a journal every morning.

Picture this: it’s 6am. Your alarm clock is ringing. You hit the snooze button. Is it really time to get up? You begin to feel stressed, thinking about everything you need to achieve today. You hit the snooze button again. By the time you finally get out of bed, you’re running late. You quickly shower, get dressed and eat breakfast as you rush out the door. The day flies by, and you can’t quite shake the feeling that you’re ‘behind’. Before you know it, you’re back in bed, ready to fall asleep and do it all over again tomorrow. You set your alarm for 6am…

Does this sound familiar?

Most of us lead incredibly busy, fast-paced lives, and as a result everything feels rushed – even waking up and eating breakfast! Do you sometimes get to the end of the day and feel as though you’ve barely had a moment to yourself? If yes, it might be time to change your morning routine.

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How to create a dedicated study space at home

Posted on 05/03/2015 by

Does your home study space put you to sleep? Don't worry, we've come up with some tips to create a study space that works for you. Photo credit: CollegeDegrees 360, Flickr Creative Commons

Does your home study space put you to sleep? Don’t worry, we’ve come up with some tips to create a study space that works for you. [Photo credit: CollegeDegrees 360, Flickr Creative Commons]

One of the most challenging aspects of studying from home is creating a space where you can concentrate on your learning with absolutely no distractions.

It’s far too tempting to juggle writing an essay with putting on a load of washing, watching the television or preparing a meal. Everywhere you look, you probably see chores waiting to be done!

The key to success is to set aside a dedicated study space. A space you can retreat to when you need some quiet time. This is especially important if you have a family or share a house with other people.

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