Ways to Win at Home This Fall

By Sierra Stevens, CPDC Graduate Assistant & Undergraduate Career Coach

It’s hard to believe the fall semester is right around the corner, and that it looks far different than it ever has before – yes, I’m referring to all the implications that come with COVID-19. Being a student and employee amid a global pandemic is certainly less than ideal, but since this is our current reality, let’s work through it together.

While spending the last four months in my office (A.K.A. the floor of my bedroom), I have been thinking about how I will successfully work and learn from home this fall. As a grad student, I still want to learn and perform to the best of my ability. I’ve since come up with a few Ways to Win at Home, and now I want to share them with you! Even if you will be completing classes in-person, these tips are still relevant to you.

Start with Self Care

Organization and time management tips are most beneficial after we establish ways to focus on our well-being. I know, it’s easy to get consumed with studying, homework, and life in general. Instead of waiting until we’re on the verge of breaking down, it’s helpful to start caring for ourselves early and practice often. We cannot expect to deliver quality work 110% of the time if we don’t give ourselves time to relax, reflect, and reset. Self-care looks different for everyone. I recommend reading Everyday Health’s article to find and start a personalized self-care routine.


Each Sunday, I review my calendar for the upcoming week and make a list of projects I want to tackle by that Friday. I recommend breaking projects down into small, more manageable chunks. Then, each morning, I break down my weekly goals into daily goals and pinpoint what progress I plan to make that day. Using the SMART goal framework has helped me create an exact plan for projects. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Check out this guide to learn how to create your own SMART goals.

Establish a Schedule

I don’t know about y’all, but before now, I had *never* been able to successfully get work done at home. Because of this, I have learned that I need to be incredibly intentional with my weekly schedule. Since there has been less of a separation between my work and home recently, it has been extremely helpful to establish a weekday regime. While it is VERY tempting to get out of bed minutes before a meeting, it is more productive to give our bodies and minds a head start. I recommend waking up an hour before your first morning class or meeting and doing things that will help you prepare for the day, such as by stretching or taking a shower. That way, your mind and body will know it’s time to start working for the day.

While none of us ever envisioned the fall semester would look like this, remember that the CPDC is here for you every step of the way!