The home workplace – thoughts on order, ritual and communication

Day 10. Here I sit, at my “desk”. It feels strange. Normally I spend the time between two courses together with my friends in the library, or, in this beautiful weather, outside in the courtyard of the WiSo. Sometimes I am simply drawn to the library in the afternoon; there I can simply concentrate better. Now I am sitting here: Alone at my not very neat table. I try to catch up on the lecture. It is just not the same. Why is it?

Order creates freedom

At home, there is more distraction. While the tables in the library captivate with their emptiness and open space, they can only fill up with what you have brought with you, and the knowledge that goes with it. The multi-functional table at home calls for the arduous struggle for open space every day. Unnecessary utensils regularly pile up in a “free” corner or serve as a foundation for laptops and the like. This architectural masterpiece magically attracts all eyes, but does not captivate with its special functionality. The bare table would not be rocket science. The materials actually required for preparing and conducting the course can be stored in a stylish “desk bag” – similar to the transparent library bag. The remaining utensils are probably better stored in folders, shelves, drawers and boxes, the trashcan or the sink. Tidiness on the desk creates freedom of the mind.

Ritual creates oscillation – communication creates understanding

At home, other actors, each with their own interests and rituals, regularly cause unrest. The family, the partner, two to five roommates or the cat demand, intentionally or unintentionally, attention in deep phases of concentration. At the same time, there is a lack of mutual motivation and support in the learning group or contact with other fellow students. One social group is not a substitute for the other; neither can nor should it be.

At home, the boundaries are blurring. The physical separation between sleeping, living, learning and eating is often not sharply defined. While having breakfast on the bed in pyjamas or sweatpants, the lecture notes are sorted or the first series of the day is streamed. This form of boundless freedom provides for distraction, but not always for focused concentration. Learning at the university is different. It always begins with a clear boundary: leaving your private walls. The way to the university provides fresh air, but also a ritual. When existing rituals break away, each of us needs new rituals that ring in and ring out the learning process. Start looking for your ritual: Is it the same time to start and finish learning, the same coffee cup in the morning, the same procedure in the bathroom, the same routine in choosing clothes, the morning walk around the block? Not only the beginning, but also the end needs to be defined. What could be better than the beer after work or the new episode of your favorite TV show as a reward? Rituals create rhythm. And with it the power of oscillation for successful study.

Learning needs rest, continuity, discipline. Make your choice. Fight for this calm. Communicate firmly scheduled learning times. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Arrange virtual study meetings. Discipline and stick to your goals. Learn to deal with failures and setbacks. Reward yourself for success. Incorporate your social environment into these. Open communication creates transparency, understanding and knowledge.