Setting Up A Workspace for Zoom University

By Naomi Fink on September 2, 2020

Setting up a workspace in your apartment has always been important, but with so many classes taking place via Zoom University this semester, setting up a workspace is now essential. Don’t wait until the last minute to get set up — check out these tips to optimize your workspace and stay focused and productive this semester.

via Pexels

1. Designate a place to work.

Without a physical classroom to sit in and attend your lectures, you need a designated workspace to tell your brain that it’s time to tune in and pay attention. Consistently working in the same place each day will create a mind-body association so that when you sit down to work, you can really get into the zone.

For this reason, working on your bed is not a good idea. Your mind will either associate the space with rest and you’ll get sleepy while doing work, or your mind will start to associate the space with work and you’ll find it difficult to fall asleep at night. Restful sleep and challenging academics are both crucial for college students — don’t mix the two up just because you don’t feel like getting out of bed!

Wherever you choose to set up your workspace, make sure the area is quiet and has strong WiFi. It’s one thing to turn off your camera in class because you’re “having internet issues” and quite another to miss half the lecture because your WiFi really isn’t able to support a proper connection. Do yourself a favor and test out your workspace before your first lecture or recitation. Consider investing in noise-canceling headphones or earbuds if you need to.

2. Get a desk.

If you don’t already have a desk in your apartment bedroom, now is a good time to get one. Desks or small tables are great for spreading out your textbooks, taking notes, and of course, Zooming into your lectures. They’re also perfect for storing extra school supplies so whatever you might need for class is within reach.

When looking into getting a desk, it’s best to do your research. Desk prices can range anywhere from $20-$500 depending on the type of desk you want and where you’re looking to purchase from. If you’re on a tight budget, think about buying a used desk from Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. (Bonus: they’re usually pre-assembled!) Cheap options can also be found on Ikea or Office Depot — keep an eye out for sales and check out customer ratings and reviews before committing.

Want more storage for your workspace? Look into getting an attachable desk hutch or floating shelves. Building up instead of out is a smart way to maximize your workspace without taking up too much extra room, especially if you’re sharing the space with others.

3. Make Zoom rules.

No one wants their roommate barging in or practicing Arabic percussion while in the middle of a live Zoom session. Create rules and expectations with your roommates to help keep the peace and make sure you can all focus during your classes. For example, consider establishing Zoom-designated and Zoom-free zones in your apartment. If everyone sticks to their bedrooms for live classes, that will free up other areas of the apartment for hanging out and studying. It will also make it easier to speak up in class and engage in discussions if you have a bit of privacy.

via Pexels

4. Create a schedule and stick to it.

Perhaps the most important aspect of your workspace is the work that you do there — and with classes online, it can be really easy to forget to watch a lecture or Zoom into office hours. Make a schedule for both your live and recorded classes and stick to it as best as you can. Just because your classes are online, doesn’t mean you should skip them or slack off!

Need some motivation to keep you on track? Try coordinating your study schedule with friends; nothing holds you accountable like positive peer pressure! Alternatively, you can use your pre-recorded classes to tailor your study schedule around your most productive hours of the day. If it’s easier for you to focus at night, why not watch a lecture then? Or, if you’re more of a morning person, who says you have to wait until 9am to get started? Taking classes online will be an adjustment for most college students, but it can also be a wonderful opportunity to really zone in at the times that are best for you, rather than working around established lecture schedules.

This semester is going to be different and there are so many variables beyond our control. But one thing you can take ownership of is your workspace. Find a good place to work, set up shop, coordinate with your roommates, and tune in. Don’t let COVID-19 get in the way of your education! Set up your workspace as soon as you can for a productive Zoom University experience.

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