Remote Study

Remote Study

Hi everyone!

I’m Alex, a student from Kraków, Poland. Website:, I’m also actively writing on a blog, take photos from time to time, and tutor productivity to students of all ages.

I’m a pretty huge productivity geek - I use primarily Standard Notes, Todoist & Notion for day-to-day work, many other tools less frequently. I love reading (or listening to) books, asking questions & helping others. This world is a beatiful place, but still, we as humans have a lot to work on ourselves :wink:

I’m very happy to join this community, joined in March, but “another productivity forum dedicated to iOS & Mac users (I’m neither)” didn’t sound fun. Effective Remote Work is definitely something more important & full of nuances for me.

Now, something I’ve doing for the past few months:

Remote Study

Has anyone here explored such thing? Or do you know someone who’s doing it?

So, I started “remote studying”, this March. I negotiated with my (high school) teachers two days of working from home per week. So, this is definitely not “homeschooling”, or even true Remote Study, maybe something more like “semi-remote study”. Either way, as I learned more and more productivity techniques I’ve realized the typical schoolday is incredibly inefficient, and even when you’re trying to focus, it’s pretty hard to do. Actual learning happens quite infrequently, but still school swallows up around 70% of my day.

So, I’ve started remote studying, even though only 2 days a week for now, I’ve still discovered many, many benefits of it:

  • I’m learning better
    • So, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m learning more , as in more topics & stuff, but because my study is much more focused and free from distractions, I remember more. I remember stuff better & for longer periods of time.
  • I have time outside school
    • My school is from 8am to 3-4pm every day, plus 3 hours of commuting, plus 1.5-2 hours of homework, plus 8 hours of sleep leaves me with a small amount of time to do anything else. Even though I have a tiny bit of spare time, I’m usually tired enough to not want to do anything else.
    • Now, during those “remote study” days I’m able to do all my school tasks for the day,
      sometimes even more in 8-10 Pomodoro block, 25mins each + 5min breaks inbetween. So, if I start at 7am, I’m finished at 12am-1pm with everything . I then eat lunch, go for a run/walk, and have plenty of time for myself. I can spend time with my little sister (15 years younger than me ;), friends & family, work on my side projects & more.
  • I’m learning focus & discipline
    • Isn’t that what every single teacher says? But, I’ve learnt that when I’m “supervised” by teachers I actually am working less focused & disciplined. Because remote study requires total focus & hard discipline, I’m appreciating myself more.

For me, it’s just better. I’m happier, healthier & moving the needle more.

What are your thoughts? If not remote study, has remote work changed your life in a similar way?


Interesting post @aaantoszek. Can you describe more about your techniques? Are you studying different topics and content when you do your remote studies than when in school?

The benefits of education involve individual study, as well as interactions with other students and faculty. Do you miss that element?


That’s great that you’re able to get support from your teachers to do this. I hope that this becomes the norm. We don’t have to be chained to a desk all day and every day to get work done.

Yes, the traditional school modeling has worked for a long time but it feels like there is a need for change to meet the new challenges that students are facing. The traditional 8-hour school day doesn’t seem to fit and may/may not be preparing the students to work in today’s ever-changing environment.

I think I’ve seen this in some colleges where the faculty will let you “design” your own degree program. With their approval and a few tweaks, we can get a customized degree that is tailored to our needs and future dreams.

I wished I learned about focus and discipline earlier. I would get restless when I had to sit at my school desk after 45 minutes and just wished I could get up, do something else, and then return back to my original study. Unfortunately, my teachers wanted my butt to stay glued to my seat until the class bell rang.

This model carried forward when I went to work in a corporate environment. Sit in my chair, bang away at my keyboard until I got the results, and then clocked out at 5 pm every day. Remote working has become something of a new trend for me. Technology has improved to facilitate my remote capabilities. I can get all day battery with my iPad + keyboard. I can email or Dropbox my work to by supervisors. As long as I gave results, my supervisor didn’t mind.

Of course, this means getting our supervisors to buy into the idea of remote work. But that’s a whole other topic! :slight_smile:


Hey, thanks for replying!

I mostly work with Pomodoro - I work explicitly one topic per session. I also work heavily with spaced repetition, retrospective revision, flashcards, mind maps & “self-explanation” - I record myself explaining a topic, then re-watch it after a week, and rate it based on how well I explained it.

In terms of interactions with others - I still go to school normally 3 days a week. I attend a Montessori school (this explains a lot :wink:), I’ve been there my whole life, I know almost everyone by name.

Thanks to the fact that I get all the deep work done at once, I then have more time in the afternoons to meetup with my friends (most of them are from school), and teachers (yes!), also on the days when I’m in school I get actually more time with them as I have less work to do.

I prefer it that way, as I have a clear separation between study & socializing - when I’m studying, I can focus on learning, when I’m hanging out with my friends I can be freed from thinking about the next exam

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Thanks for replying!

I go to a Montessori High School - that explains a lot.

There’s a growing movement of “remote studying” or homeschooling, however you want to call it.

Basically it work like this:
Students are organized in classes or study groups, but they usually work alone (they can work together if they want) on a day to day basis, but they meet once a week (frequency depends) to discuss their achievements and struggles. Each student has a personal tutor for consultation and personal guidance.

While I’ve never tried it, my school employs a similar model - each day, we have around 2-3 hours of what we call “free work” - meaning that you can work on whatever you want, however you want, with whoever you want.

This is a central principle of Maria Montessori’s teachings - allow students to explore the universe themselves.

I’ve been in that Montessori school my whole life - through our Polish Elementary School, Middle School, and now High School. While at moments it’s been tough, requiring huge amounts of self-discipline, motivation and focus, it has taught me a lot. The system itself teaches you how to be better. And that’s crucial to a better education overall.

I’d love to talk more about this, if anyone is interested :wink:

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Honestly I am not sure whether to be impressed or saddened, you are probably putting a lot of us to shame.

However, there is a saying “Youth is wasted on the young” and believe me you have the next 40 years + to worry about side projects, deep work and all the trendy buzzword things which come and go. (Deep work for example is actually no more than concentrating on the task at hand).

Go out, do all the things life lets you do with relative impunity while your young, drink, stay out all night and just act irresponsibly, you will never get another chance like you have now.

One of the worst things is to look back and say " I wish I had…" or wake up one day and realise your partner/kids are strangers because you have dedicated everything to your career and not enough to them.

Yes study is important, far more important than when I was young, but so is having life experiences now. A productive life can be measured in many ways, not just metrics or pomodoro sessions.

If you’re a kid be a kid, you’re a long time grown up with all the responsibilities and stresses that entails. Steve Jobs famously said Bill Gates would have benefited from some time at an Ashram, he was probably right!

Just re reading this the question came to mind I wonder if people had to choose who they would rather been Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

My guess most would say Steve Jobs, even though he died relatively young. Perhaps because he is perceived to have had a fuller more interesting life? Just a thought…

If he’s passionate about what he wants, I’d say go for it!

Yes, he’s putting me to shame :wink: I wished I had the same ambitions at an early age. I was more of the slacker type who enjoyed living in the moment and didn’t pay much heed to the Study of Life. Now I’m making up for it. Perhaps I’m a late bloomer? :exploding_head:

It’s good to hear from you again, @TheOldDesigner

Hi, and thank you @wilsonng for the welcome back :grinning:

I agree go for it, I just think its easy to get so hyper focussed you loose site of real life, especially when you’re very young. Reality is that the real world is not measured in pomodoro sessions, and putting another viewport could possibly at least engender a reevaluation.

I have seen a lot of “successful” middle aged men suddenly wake up, realise what they have missed, and what they have been chasing is not as good as they thought, and then going off the rails wrecking marriages, and ending up as weekend dads eating TV dinners in a bachelor flat. I think a balanced youth perhaps negates this being so likely having got it out of the system early.

I don’t think your a late bloomer from my perspective your doing it the right way! Age really is a state of mind, I see 20 year olds who are older than me, and I have every intention of growing old disgracefully!

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Thank you for the advice,

I used to do all the things one “should” do while being young. I don’t know, maybe I’m just weird by nature, but I never enjoyed it.

When I was 11-12-13 (don’t really remember) I was badly ill. Nothing truly life-threatening, but I felt horrible. I spent months in the hospital. I had tunnel vision, terrible headaches, and stuff.

I never felt “myself”, I felt like I was someone else.

And that question: “Why is it happening to me?” Why none of my friends have to go through the same things? Why am I treated so badly by life?

As you can imagine, those types of questions wreck, and I mean wreck a 12 year-olds mind.

I tried to go back to normality. But I couldn’t. Without answering “why am I here?” “what’s all of this for?”. Those few years that followed were tough.

And I did all of the stuff you advised me to do. Never gave me an answer though.

I guess choosing this topic for an introductory post wasn’t the best idea. All I want to do is to be helpful. I don’t dream of a 4-hour workweek, or being a CEO of a huge corporation or anything like that.

Being around people, helping them, and loving them is the only thing so far that has made me feel great. Made me feel alive.

I guess Bill Gates’s life wasn’t that bad

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Remote studying doesn’t mean that I don’t go to parties!!! :wink:

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Life is never what you plan and it’s probably a good thing. I went to school with people who new exactly what they wanted which for me anyway left so many possibilities closed…

To quote Bob Dylan (who basically has been the soundtrack of my life)

“All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint”

Not a very politically correct philosophy but not a very bad one either :grinning:

I disagree. If you plan to give love and mercy, you’ll get love and mercy :wink:

Welcome Alex!

I’d love to hear how you use Notion. Maybe if you get a chance start up a topic under #tools-and-workflows to share it!


I think this is a neat opportunity. I did a bit of remote study in college, and it definitely changed the way I approached school work (some for the better, some for the worse).

I have little kids and I’ve always questioned the effectiveness of the ridiculously long school day. I’m sure remote study has a lot of the same benefits and drawbacks of working remotely, but it seems like this is preparing you for remote work :stuck_out_tongue:

Remembering is the key. It’s what allows you to connect ideas. When you can focus, you can connect better!

That’s great – especially if it allows you to pursue the things you want to learn and do!

I’ve heard good things about Montessori schools – definitely a different way to approach education, but in a largely positive sense.

I fully agree here – I personally find the best way to learn is to pursue what you are passionate about learning. For a year I could consume nothing but leadership books and resources. From there it was business. Now it’s a mix of productivity, music production, and remote culture resources.

Plans are meaningless but planning is everything. You often do reap what you sow, but it’s also true that life throws curveballs. However, I find it’s the flexibility in your approach and having had a plan which enables you to be effective at handling them.

So glad to have this discussion going here.

@aaantoszek any thoughts on what you’re going to focus on once you’re through school?

What a virtuous but incredibly naive view on life, it assumes others live their life the same way that you are proposing, and as someone with probably 3 times more life experience than you I can assure you they do not! Most people you will meet in your life really are to preoccupied with their own pressures and stresses to worry about you much.

The ability to be virtuous comes from having a solid foundations, yes humans are capable of incredible acts of kindness and bravery in terrible conditions, but it is pointless planning to help people without having a solid foundation yourself.

For example we create websites for clients, and sometimes get asked to do stuff for little money to help someone. Sometimes I do this, but only if I have the personal resources to be able to do that, and those personal resources have come from being fair but tough with others.

Business, and I guess life is often a balancing act of being kind to some and very hard to others while being fair to everyone, being over soft with too many is a recipe for wrecking your own business/life then you will not be around to help anyone in the future, so what value that “love and mercy” then?

Sorry to sound so cynical, life I am afraid is not all rainbows and dancing rabbits as Disney would have you believe.