1. Have a Designated Workspace
Any type of work is best done in a particular place. The same applies to online school. You can set yourself up to succeed by creating an environment for learning. You will find that your brain associates this area with accomplishing goals and getting work done more often if you do it regularly. It doesn't matter where you are located, whether it is your back porch, kitchen, living area, or closet. It is important to choose a location with a good internet connection.
Three things to remember:
All the necessary books, notes and browser tabs for classes.
For when your family is clattering around, you might need earbuds, headphones, or another way to transmit audio to your brain.
Charger for your device. Because there's nothing more embarrassing than having to ask a teacher a question only to have your device die halfway through.
2. Stay Organized and Get Organized
It's time for you to get organized now that you have a designated space. While it may seem simple, there's a lot to organize. There are three essays, a project and notes due for your lecture about the history and evolution of the bunny. Then suddenly you find yourself in disarray and are unable to find the motivation or time to organize your workspace.
Create a basic set of folders. Each one should be labeled with the classes. You can then create folders in these folders to organize and seperate your notes, homework, and handouts. However, don't forget to use it. You should use it consistently, daily, and purposefully. Once you have a good foundation, don’t be afraid of expanding it. You will find it becomes a lifeline and a constant companion.
For any accidental deletions or crashes, make sure to have backups.
3. Eliminate distractions
You should set aside time each day to school and keep yourself away from all distractions. A routine is helpful when you are enrolled in an online class. This could be something as simple as setting aside a time to complete a task, or working for a specific amount of work immediately after it has been completed. It is a good idea to work on history notes two hours after eating lunch on Mondays. It is easier to maintain if it is routine. Place yourself where there is minimal distraction (see tip 1).
It's essential to have a designated area for studying that is quiet and free from distractions. Turn off the TV, and turn your devices on Do Not disturb. This will prevent you from getting social media notifications mid-cram session for your chemistry final. You can relax with some background music, but not too loud. I find that LoFi as well as Classical help me get the best work done.
4. Pay attention
It's so easy it may work! Online classes can be distracting. But if your goal is to survive and thrive in class this year, then you have to pay attention. Note what the teacher is saying and take notes. Not only do you need to remember the key points, but also what you don't want or can recall. Make sure to put time stamps on any notes that are recorded. It is important to take notes. This will allow you to focus on the class and help you remember the differences between a bullfrog or a toad later.
If you plan to upload your notes, be familiar with ctrl+f. This is the "find” command. This can be used with almost all programs to search phrases and words. It helps you associate keywords with key information.
5. Be accountable
Online courses can be quite overwhelming for anyone who has ever taken one. Each assignment should have a due date. You should check in with your instructor at least once a week. This does not mean that you should submit your work late. Set deadlines that work for you but fit within the timelines of your teachers.
Reach out to your teacher to let them know you are trying hard to finish your assignments and to give them notice that your work may be late. While you may not be exempted for late penalties you will still be showing your teacher that you care about the class regardless of where it is located.
6. Take breaks
You can increase your productivity by taking short breaks frequently. You can all get tired after studying for hours. A five- to ten minute break between sessions can reduce stress on your brain.
These breaks are a time to forget about your work and give your brain a break. Get up, stretch, move, drink water, grab some snacks, and then, reflect. You can check your phone if it has been ringing while you are studying. Don't forget to disable notifications so you don't get distracted when you study again.
7. Treat Yourself
Celebrate your A grade on the paper. Throw a party if you earn an A in the class. You do have a normal life, even in the face of virtual classes and a pandemic. Spend your time with family and friends, and do what makes you happy. If you only study, do homework and cram, then you will burn out.
Keep in mind that your school and classes will eventually end, and that you will be doing amazing things. It's only the beginning of your journey, and it's much easier to get through it if there is something that motivates you.
8. Be positive
We couldn't have anticipated this. This is a hard time for everyone. You can smile, laugh, enjoy, and take joy in what you do. While it might not be what you desire to do every day, it is helping you as a student and person.