Four tips to prepare you for home studying
- 15 February 2021
As market conditions remain at best, uncertain, more and more people are looking to upskill, and marketers are no exception. However, adjusting to studying from home is no easy feat. We look at some helpful tips to prepare you for it.
Upskilling is always a hot topic, and we have long banged the drum for asking for training, the need to learn more, or identifying where the weaknesses of your skillset lie, but it’s arguably never been more important as we go through unprecedented disruption.
Whilst adding new skills to the marketing community is important for aiding the economic recovery, it’s also important for mental health during a pandemic, with even charities such as Mental Health UK encouraging furloughed staff, for example, to take on new skills. Those marketers currently grappling with home schooling may appreciate the chance to further their skills in areas where they already have some talent; feeling a sense of progress is infinitely more rewarding than failing to master things outside of your comfort zone.
Yet, even experienced studiers have to adjust to a new normal of learning, away from the classroom and over the dining table, working and learning from the same desk as never before. The pandemic has sped up the need and demand for virtual learning so, it’s likely that this will be a long-term adjustment. That means you have to prepare.
Here are four simple ways to set yourself up for success, no matter where your studying is taking place.
- Build a new routine to replace the old one
2020 saw the UK government place added focus on upskilling as many furloughed workers found themselves with more time on their hands. Yet, such a change in circumstances may mean many employees miss the routine that work provides, which often gives a framework for your study time. It’s essential that you build a new routine to replace it, even if you’re not physically entering the classroom.
One of the key advantages of studying is that it allows you to structure a routine around it. Once you work out the best available time for you to do your studying – and you may have many options for this, or just a few – you can add in other activities around it in order to get things done.
The best example is around commuting. Though it is often mocked, and not really missed, the morning can open your mind for the day because it brings you in to contact with external stimuli, triggering your brain for the challenges ahead. The commute home can also set you up for a relaxing evening.
If you no longer have a commute much further than getting out of bed, then consider if you are most productive in the morning or the evening. Making time at the end of your day for studying, or using it to kickstart your day, can become the bedrock of a new routine that can help your mental health whilst guiding you as you upskill.
Just remember, you are allowed to vary your routine as you go; it will take time to find out what works best for you.
- It’s all about your set up
Those used to working in the office may overestimate their home environment’s suitability for being productive; that applies to studying as well.
You probably won’t have access to all of the equipment that your office provides, such as a comfortable chair or suitable desk, but it remains the most important part of setting up. Make sure that you have an accessible workspace, if possible, separate from your home life so that you don't risk overworking your hours.
The truth is, you may have been working from home for a while, and listened to all the tips for starting to adjust and overcoming the slump, but studying requires you to think further about your timetable. It’s important that, whatever your hours of study, you make sure that you are able to leave your set-up at the end of the day and start enjoying your homelife.
- Plan, don’t plough, by setting SMART objectives
With potentially no gaps between your working life and your home life, and no commute, you need to be careful to plan out your day effectively, as the day will naturally be less productive if you plough through tasks with no general plan.
Even if you have worked from home effectively, combining this with study still brings you in to unknown territory; few spend over ten hours a day at their desk with little respite. You have to set yourself long-term objectives, even from home, rather than simply rolling through tasks. Ultimately, you have to set yourself long-term objectives to prevent short-term burnout. That means drawing on your previous experience of marketing strategy; all marketers are familiar with the SMART method, it’s now time to apply it to studying.
- But don’t forget those quick wins
Completing a CIM qualification is a year-long commitment, and this can be galling for those who have to focus on the day to day right now. In order to overcome that, break down your routine and celebrate your achievements along the way.
This is one of the reasons CIM qualifications are built in a modular manner, allowing learners to digest topics in bitesize segments, but you can still break it down further into tactical achievements. Ultimately, whilst studying there is still the need to balance out your long-term goals with your quick wins.
By breaking it down in to smaller, quantifiable tasks – i.e., studying for two hours a day for a week – you give yourself a sense of achievement that can help you reach the end goal, and feel good about getting there.
If marketing is going to be critical for the recovery, then it will need a host of future-fit marketers with new ideas and new skills. Marketers in particular are going to be vital in gathering the insights needed to address new challenges. There is an understandable added emphasis on upskilling within the marketing community to fit the current times, but it’s a need that will always be here to stay.
Still, it’s important that, whatever your reason for upskilling, you are prepared for what studying from home means. If you make learning as comfortable as possible for you, then you will be able to weather the storm, and be fighting fit for the future. Prepare yourself effectively, and you’re halfway to being upskilled.
To hear more insights about studying from home, listen to our Study Buddy series, giving marketers the insights they need to upskill effectively during the global pandemic. Catch up with all of the episodes here.
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