As we pointed out in our last post, this is a difficult time for everyone. But, while stress management is important, it’s also just as vital that you stay on track.
We’re not sure yet how long this whole situation will last. What we do know, though, is that it won’t last forever. You need to be ready to hit the ground running when the quarantine conditions end and things start getting back to a semblance of normalcy.
Most students around the country are now engaged in remote learning in one form or another. Doing your lessons online from home can be novel and interesting at first, but it can be easy to get distracted by social media, Netflix, games, or a thousand other things vying for your attention.
How do you stay focused in this kind of environment? Well, we’ve got a few tips that might help.
#1. Stick to a Schedule
Going from an environment with precisely-timed class periods and routine daily schedules to remote learning can definitely cause a bit of culture shock. We’ve discussed the value of keeping a schedule on the blog before, and the point’s now more valid than ever. Without a regular, daily routine, you can end up mismanaging your time and losing track of your productivity.
Using Google Calendar is a simple and straightforward way to plan your day. Allow yourself a reasonable and realistic period of time for each activity, and try to hold yourself accountable to get your work done in the time specified. Lastly, try to make your schedule as similar as possible from day to day. This will make it easier to get into a routine.
#2. Designate a Space & Remove All Distractions
While it might be novel to have the freedom to work anywhere in the house, it’s still beneficial to have a designated work space as your base of operations. Whether it’s a desk in your room, or at a specific table in the house, make that your “schoolwork zone.”
You can find it easy to lose focus if you try to work from the couch or your bed. Plus, designating a specific place to do work makes it easier to stay focused throughout the day. To that end, your workspace should not be cluttered with games, kick-knacks, or other things that can distract you. There is also a number of apps you can install on your devices to restrict your activity and remove temptation to get lost in browsing Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram.
Like your schedule, your workplace should be consistent, and free from distractions.
#3. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
While it’s important to stay focused during work time, it’s also vital to break up the day from time to time.
When making a schedule, be sure to include regular break times. This will allow you to step away from the computer for a bit and recharge, so you don’t end up getting burnt out. You can schedule 15-minute breaks every 90 minutes, or even a 5-minute break every 25 minutes (a practice called the Pomodoro Technique). This will give you enough time to rest, without totally losing focus.
You can use your break time to exercise, make a cup of coffee or tea, draw, or simply take a walk around the neighborhood. It’s up to you; whatever helps you relax.
#4. Track Your Tasks
Knocking out task after task can feel very rewarding. Taking a moment at the end of the day to review what you did during the day, as well as what you have to do tomorrow, can give you a sense of accomplishment. This can give you an extra boost of confidence that you’ll need to achieve even more the day after, and also provide insight on areas in which you may need to improve a bit.
There are different approaches to managing your productivity. Asana is a popular tool for tracking team productivity, but you can also use it to track your personal productivity as well.
#5. Remember to Socialize
Just because everyone is engaged in social distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with friends. This will help give you an all-important sense of normalcy, and will also make the transition back into regular school life an easier process.
Try encouraging your classmates to keep up with a schedule that’s similar to your own. This can make it easier to collaborate on assignments or organize study groups. You can even use tools like Zoom, Skype, or UberConference to arrange a virtual get-together.