How graduate students can stay productive working from home

While we are all feeling challenged by the uncertainty in response to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), that challenge can be multiplied if you have to put our research/data collection “on pause”. 

Are there ways to stay productive and not sidetracked? Yes! 

Tips for staying productive as you work from home

  • Self-care – now more than ever, take the time to do what keeps you energized. Find ways to stay healthy – exercise, FaceTime with family/friends, spend time with fuzzy friends.
  • Work on your manuscript – maybe now is the time to work on the literature review, your introduction or write out the methods section. 
  • Write a review article – could also help you with framing your introduction
  • Learn to code – is there a programming language/skill that could help you with data analysis later?  Now may be the time.  Some may even be available in CareerEdge as LinkedIn Learning modules such as LaTeX, R, Python.
  • Draft articles – have plans to publish?  Create a draft template to fill in later when your data are finalized.
  • Network with colleagues – they may be in the same situation and would welcome the opportunity to connect online.
  • Set up experiments – on paper.  Create a checklist that will help you when you get back in the lab.
  • Visualize your data – making pretty figures/tables/charts takes time.  Now you have it.
  • Test your time management skills – do you have a schedule that blends focus with breaks? 
  • Keep it real – there are very real circumstances keeping you away from your lab/research.  You are not responsible for them.  Focus on what you can do and give yourself a break on what you can’t.

And last but not least, print out the full-size poster that includes tips from Dr. Zoe Ayres (previewed below) and hang it next to your working from home situation to remind yourself of all of the above.


Scientist without a lab graphic