How To: Work From Home


Zoe Pringle, Staff Writer

       The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shut down of society has forced the closure of schools and universities across the nation, including Joseph A. Foran High. Yet during this time of chaos and uncertainty, it is imperative that high school students keep a structured life as we navigate online schooling. Here are seven simple steps that will make working from home that much easier!

1 Make a Routine 

       It is crucial to have a routine now as we transition from school in person to school online. It will help to create as much as a scheduled routine as possible, similar to when we were still going to school. You can start by mapping out what you usually do in a day, like shower,  brush your teeth, make your bed, eat lunch, etc. Then include school assignments that need to get done. Finally, add in extras like breaks, chores, and other non-school related activities. Now that there’s no physical school, a routine that stays remotely the same for almost every day of the week is key to staying on track and getting all work that needs to be done out of the way. 

2 Get Dressed

       Getting up in the morning and getting dressed is such an underrated step that many people don’t even think about, yet it really does make a huge difference when trying to be productive. If you stay in your pajamas or loungewear all day, your brain is in a sleepy or lounging mindset.But, if you get dressed into outdoor clothes, do your hair, take a shower, or even put on makeup, then it has a different effect. It tricks your brain into thinking that you are actually going to school and separates home life from school life.

3 Designate a Work Space 

       The most challenging thing about working from home can be separating your home life from your school life. The easiest way to do this is to physically designate a school space somewhere in your house that feels more professional and polished than other areas. It is counterproductive to bring your laptop or text books into your bed, because that’s where you sleep. Your brain will soon associate school work with sleep; not allowing you to complete anything. If you have younger siblings or a loud family and leaving your room isn’t an option, try to face away from your bed, sit on the floor, or go in a corner that has little distractions. This will encourage you to stay alert and focused on the task at hand.

                                                  4 Schedule specific times 

Here is a model of what a schedule for an online school day might look like. Make sure to include even the most basic activities! Photo courtesy of Zoe Pringle.

    For some people, making a simple ¨to do¨ list of all the things that they need to get done in a day works. For others, a ¨to do¨ list may feel overwhelming. Scheduling specific times for assignments and breaks can really hold you accountable to those times. When school was in session the bells kept everyone on track. Try setting alarms for yourself to mimic that. Remember to stick to times that your brain was previously used to. For example, if you have a math assignment to do and you used to have math 7th period, work on that packet at around 1 pm rather than 10 am. 

5 Give yourself breaks

       While it may be tempting to rush through all of your work in order to get it out of the way,  brains don’t work well under large amounts of stress. The more you work, the more tired you get, so it’s a great idea to schedule breaks in between assignments. It may feel like the breaks extend your day, but in reality it  allows yourself to work more efficiently. Now, it will take less time to do your work because your brain can focus on the task. Some ideas for breaks are to meditate, go for a short walk, or take an hour long break to eat lunch with your family.

6 Give Yourself Rewards 

       With no teachers present to hold you accountable, iIt may feel as though doing the work is pointless. This is the time for you to become your own authority. To stay motivated, it’s important that you give yourself rewards for all of the hard work that you do. Whether you’ve exhausted your brain of pre-calc for the day, or if you’ve finished a long assignment after multiple days of working on it, give yourself a couple of hours off to FaceTime a friend,  watch an episode of a Netflix show, or eat a slice of cake.

7 Reach Out to Teachers

       Finally, with social distancing,  you may feel as though you are alone. Managing the work all by yourself can be really overwhelming, especially if you have difficult circumstances at home. Whether that be family issues or if you just are having a tough time learning, remember that you can always reach out to your teachers without fear of repercussions. Your teachers understand that this is a rough time for everyone. Send an email, schedule a Google Meet, or reach out to your guidance counselor for extensions or advice. They are happy to give it to you!