Tips to Study From Home

Here are some new tips for study at home. Ever since the pandemic started there have been a lot of productivity hacks floating around. The WSJ recently offered five tips for working from home. I thought I would review these tips to determine if they apply to studying for the CPA exam.

Dedicated Space

You want to have a dedicated space that is devoid of clutter. Of course, not everyone has that luxury. I have seen people use Japanese room dividers to carve out their own space.

Folding screen - Wikipedia

Anything that keeps your eyes off your mountain of dishes or laundry helps. The room dividers usually cost about $100.

Find Your Focus

“At home, it’s not just that we’re trying to battle work distractions, it’s also that we’re getting distracted by all the other things we feel like we should be doing there,” said Ms. Mangia, who recently published “Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You.” She recommends setting a timer for 30, 60 or 90 minutes of focused work, free of distractions such as email, app alerts and beeps from devices. After a sprint of work, go outside, stretch, have lunch or just take a break. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a small amount of focused time,” she said.

What Are Your Stressors?

Another consultant noted that it is important to figure out what is causing you anxiety. It has been well documented that mental health has deteriorated during the pandemic.

“Some of her clients say they can’t stop scrolling through headlines on social media, which makes them feel anxious and guilty about wasting time. “I don’t think it’s helpful to not read the news and pretend that things aren’t happening around us,” Ms. Haskell said. Instead, she recommends setting aside time for reading the news and checking social media, especially if it plays a role in one’s job. Afterward, take a short break and prepare to return to work.”

I generally find that social media is the biggest time suck for people studying for the CPA exam. Don’t try to go cold turkey. Chances are you will not be able to and then you will go through a period of self-loathing when you fail this objective. Instead, accept that you will waste time on social media and budget for it.

Understand Expectations

I find most CPA students have unrealistic expectations. They set unrealistic study goals. “I am going to wake up at 4 a.m. and study until 8 a.m.” even though you have not woken up before 8 a.m. in a decade. Be realistic when you are setting your CPA study schedule. And follow a proven study guide whenever possible.