Students all over the country are starting school next week – but in the least traditional manner possible. What happens when all of your classes are online, when you sit in the same chair for hours at a time? It becomes hard to focus. You may be tempted to pick up your phone and scroll through tiktok, as your teacher can’t monitor you as well through the screen as he or she would in real school. But that just leads to dropping grades and a stain on your report card. Here are 6 tips to become your most productive self in this era of digital schooling.
1. Organize your workspace
Whether it’s a desk, a dining table, or just on your bed, the ambiance where you work is essential to keeping concentrated during online school. Make sure your supplies are neatly laid out and you have a place to keep all your stray paper. This file organizer might be helpful if you’re like me and tend to leave your stuff everywhere.
Be sure to always have a pencil or pen at your workspace and make sure your space isn’t super cluttered. According to the European Cleaning Journal, “when the environment is technically clean, productivity and work satisfaction are higher.” Be sure to have a clean space so that you’re excited and ready to work.
2. Put your phone away
This one is a little trickier. We all rely on our little metal squares to keep us entertained – so much so that we can’t go five minutes without picking it up and checking for notifications. I have to say, I was pretty guilty of that while writing this article (twitter is very addictive). But, you shouldn’t follow in my footsteps. Checking your phone during class is a one way ticket to failing your tests and, ultimately, getting a grade you don’t want anyone to see. Now, that can all be avoided if you choose a secure location to put your phone from the hours of 8am to 3pm. After all, did you check your phone much at school? I doubt it. Keep that same routine even when you do have direct access to it at all times.
I personally would put my phone back on the charger, on the opposite side of the room. Therefore, it’s easy to access during passing periods but won’t be in arm’s reach while you’re learning trigonometry.
3. Use FaceTime
One of the hardest obstacles of online school is not being able to see your friends in class. Now, I already told you to put your phones away during classes, but, I believe that five minute breaks between classes are a great time to FaceTime or text your friends. It’s just like going from one class to the next in school – but this time, you don’t actually have to move anywhere.
4. Use private messages
But if you really need to talk to your friends during class, I understand. That’s why zoom and other platforms have private messaging options – so you can talk to your friends in class like you would in real school. And that way, you’re not on your phone or a different platform, and you’re still able to listen to your teacher without getting too distracted.
5. Set aside time to go outside
It can get annoying, sitting in your room for eight hours at a time. It’s not like you can duck outside for five minutes during passing periods – you’d only get thirty seconds of air that way. But taking your lunch out to a nearby park or pond, and enjoy half an hour of fresh air that way. Or, wake up early to take a walk before school starts. Going outside is crucial for your mental health. According to Harvard Health, studies have “shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression”.
They also say that listening to nature sounds can create the same effect if you’re pressed for time. Maybe that’s what you could be doing with your passing periods instead of checking the news or clicking through instagram stories.
In the end…
Online school is what you make of it. Use these tips to increase your productivity and mental health, and hopefully the experience will brighten for you overall. Good luck with the 2020-2021 school year!