With Thanksgiving coming to an end and online classes starting up again as finals approach, it’s time to switch gears from relaxation to study mode. Being home can create the illusion that we are still on vacation, but we still have two more weeks to push through. While it may be hard to find the motivation to study or the dedication to stay concentrated, there are some simple tricks you can do to help get you ready for finals. If you’re simultaneously stressed over finals and avoiding studying, continue reading to learn some tips for focusing on schoolwork at home.

Set up a designated study space

If you have a desk, clean off any knickknacks, distractions or dirty clothes. If you do not have a desk, mentally assign one place in your home to be where you do your schoolwork and studying. This space should only be used for studying so that when you sit down to focus, you are mentally prepared to be in study mode. Also, your study space should not be your bed. Not only will your back ache from bending over your notes for hours, but you’ll also have a more difficult time falling asleep if you are sitting in the same spot all day.

Clean your room

If you are working in a clean and organized environment, your brain will feel more organized as well. It is harder to focus when your living and study space is a mess. Also, doing a deep clean of your room can boost your mood, as you will feel a sense of productivity and accomplishment from a relatively mindless task, which you can then channel into motivation for studying.

Try your best to stay in a routine

Being home can completely destroy the routine you had at school, but staying in a routine can help you avoid sleeping in and procrastinating all day. Set an alarm and create a morning routine you can stick to. After beginning your day, you will likely feel more ready to go about your tasks.

Listen to a study playlist

Music is a great motivator, but if you’re listening to your favorite artist’s new album, it can become a distraction. Try listening to music with no words and only instrumentals while you study. Listen to study playlists filled with classical music, lo-fi beats, movie soundtracks or even Mario Kart music.

Take a break to exercise and socialize

While finals may be overwhelming, taking time to chat with friends over Zoom or to do a light workout can help boost your mood. If you are in a happier and healthier mindset, studying for finals will be less daunting.

Utilize office hours

Meeting with a professor to ask for help may seem nerve-wracking, but professors hold office hours to help you. If you are struggling with the material, it will require much less time and stress to have it explained by a professor than for you to figure it out on your own.

Get at least a half-hour of sunlight per day

Although the weather is getting colder, try to bundle up in layers and take a quick walk every day. The fresh air and sunshine will feel good and studies show getting sunlight every day can help improve sleep and reduce stress.

Keep a regular sleep schedule

We all know someone — or we were that person — who had the most bizarre sleep schedule when we were sent home last semester. While pulling all-nighters and seeing the sunrise may seem fun, having a regular sleep schedule is crucial for focusing on your studies. Try your best to get a full eight hours of sleep nightly.

Delete any social media apps you’re addicted to

We’ve all been there — mindlessly scrolling through TikTok during our five-minute study break, only to realize we opened the app hours ago. Do yourself a favor and delete the apps you know you waste too much time on. You can re-download them after your finals. If you don’t want to go to the extremes of deleting the apps, you can set time limits on the apps or at least keep your phone in a separate room while you study.

Reward yourself

After a long day of studying, you deserve to treat yourself. Whether that treat is watching a movie, eating cookies or playing video games, you deserve a reward for all of your hard work. Plus, the reward can serve as a source of motivation!

Hopefully, these tips help you in the upcoming days while you study, and Pipe Dream wishes everyone the best of luck on their finals!