COVID-19 Studying

Learning remotely is presenting all of us with new challenges. Below are some suggestions for dealing with this new environment. As always, students can schedule a one-on-one consultation with a Learning Resource Services specialist.

General Tips for Studying from Home

  1. Put your phone on silent mode and place it at the other end of the room.
  2. Make yourself invisible on your instant messenger so that you won’t receive random information from your friends. You can check in on your lunch.
  3. Ask anyone who normally calls you during work or study hours to refrain from calling or texting you during specific times. Kindly ask your roommate, children, or family member not to disturb you at these times.
  4. Designate a time to view social networking sites, and stick to it.
  5. Reward yourself. For example, you might study for 30 minutes and then take a 5-minute social media break. Or after you have completed one lecture, you might get a snack or make a quick phone call.
  6. Make a daily plan.  Set a specific time for each task. Track your progress so that you can review what you have completed/accomplished each day. This should help your motivation.
  7. Develop a study routine/schedule and reward yourself for sticking to it. Be sure to leave make-up time (aka white space) to take care of tasks that did not get finished in a day. If all is done, this is your free time.
  8. Take on the tough stuff first. We often procrastinate and do the easy stuff first. If you take on the hardest first, you should feel a sense of accomplishment.
  9. Ask a friend/roommate/partner to help keep you accountable.

Taking Care of YOU during this time

  1. Get 8 hours of sleep every night, eat well, and keep active.
  2. Establish routines as much as possible and stick to them.
  3. Do things you enjoy (e.g. gardening, listening to music, working on a hobby, 
  4. Take a deep breath when you're about to get distracted.
  5. Clean up your mess! If you are working or studying in a disorganized workspace, your mind might also feel cluttered and disorganized. Remove all unnecessary papers, gadgets, extra pens, cups, toys, etc. from your desk, and put them in their appropriate places.
  6. Get some exercise every day. The UCSF Student Health and Counseling Services website has a new section entitled #StayHome Wellness Resources with many ideas for exercise, mindfulness, and wellbeing.
  7. UCSF  Office of Environment, Health and Safety has excellent suggestions for Ergonomics in Remote Work.
  8. Plan breaks that are restorative. 50 Ways to Take a Break is one set of suggestions.
  9. Take a break by watching one of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Live cams. Another location is Aquarium of the Pacific.

Technology Solutions

My Noise is a site/app that simulates a wide range of sounds from nature (e.g. waterfall, wind), urban noise (e.g. cafes, traffic), voices (e.g. Buddhist and Gregorian chants).

Foam ear plugs can be useful while studying or taking an exam. They can be purchased at local hardware stores, pharmacies, or big box stores.

Safety ear muffs are used by some students to block environmental noise while studying.  They can be purchased from sporting goods, hardware, or big box stores.

Noise-canceling headphones are another, albeit more expensive, option. 

Suggestions for Parents

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley offers How to Reduce the Stress of Homeschooling on Everyone from their wonderful Greater Good Magazine. Their site has many other wonderful ideas for self care for all ages at any time of year.

With Children Under 5

How to Stay Productive With Children At Home

With School-Aged Children

Denise Pope, PhD, from the Stanford School of Education, has many useful tips in her Virtual Q&A with Denise Pope--Learning at Home with your K-12 students.

UCSF Family Services also has Stay at Home Family Resources on their page.


Thank you to those who have contributed to this page:
  • Julie Reed, UCSF School of Pharmacy
  • Peggy Ryan, UCSF Learning Resource Services
  • Susan Whitlow, UCSF Learning Resource Services