Online study has become increasingly common over the years thanks to advancing technology – courses they were once studied entirely in lecture halls have now transferred to our personal computers, allowing for greater flexibility than ever before.
However, productivity can take a hit when you don’t have a lecturer or class to keep you on-topic and focused. If you’re wondering how to stay focused when studying online, or needs some tips for taking online classes, read on to find out how to get the very best out of your at-home study experience.
Setting Up Your Study Space
Designing a space where you can sit down and dedicate time and attention to your studies is very important: it gives you a place to step back from everything else going on around you. When setting up a study space, you’ll want to get away from the kitchen bench or dining room table and find somewhere away from the clutter of the rest of the house. Maybe it’s a corner of your bedroom that you can section off using a bookshelf, or maybe you’re lucky enough to have a spare room that you can transform into a study – whatever the space, make it yours.
Once you have the space defined, make it an inviting place to be. Add a comfy desk chair, cushions, candles, plants, a whiteboard for jotting down ideas, and grab a pair of headphones so that you can hear your online classes clearly (or at the very least, play some music to motivate you).
The best thing about having a study space at home is that, once your classes are over for the day, you can get up and walk away, just as you would get up and leave a classroom. This separates your studies from your leisure time and gives you a better sense of university-life balance.
How To Stay Focused When Studying
Chances are that, if you have your computer on or laptop open and are partaking in an online class, you’ll be very tempted to open up a separate tab and do some online shopping or check your Facebook while you “listen in”…then, all of a sudden, you have no idea what’s going on in class! Online university classes can be a challenge because of this. One of the best tips for taking online classes that we can give is to eliminate some of these distractions all together. Internet browser extensions such as Block Site allow you to block access to chosen websites during work hours while also making use of focus timers and task trackers.
If you live with flatmates or a noisy family, tell them that the vacuuming can wait until your class is done. Meanwhile, headphones will help you block out potentially distracting noises and allow you to focus on the lesson being taught or subject being studied.
Managing Stress From Online Classes
Online university classes can be just as stressful as in-person classes, so it’s important to recognise when you’re overloaded and need to step back from your studies. This is also one of our top tips for online classes is to schedule in some breaks throughout your study day. Taking an hour away from your classes to have lunch, get some exercise, or just have a cup of coffee can go a long way in managing stress. Additionally, you could consider an online stress management course (if this doesn’t add to your existing workload and cause more stress!) to better equip yourself with techniques to help you cope with stress.
Making use of collaborative software such as Skype, Zoom and Discord can also be beneficial for managing stress, since these programs allow you to connect with your classmates for study sessions or simply catch up on whatever is going on outside of class.
Keeping Your Tasks On Track
Even the best study days can be led astray without a plan! Time management apps are going to be your best friend in such cases – they allow you to add and track your tasks, and the best thing is that there’s hundreds of them available, so you can find the one that best suits you. Some of the most popular are:
Beyond apps, there are other ways you can effectively manage your time while studying online. Establishing a routine is a great place to begin, since it will help you get into good habits such as getting up early to study when the rest of the house is quiet. After this, set yourself some goals – what do you want to get done for the day? Plan ahead with to-do lists to reach your goals quicker, focusing on completing small tasks first to bring a sense of accomplishment and also give yourself time for bigger projects. Perhaps most importantly – don’t try to do too much at once!
One of the best time management tips for college students we can suggest is: ask for help. Not everyone is comfortable in an online university class, and because of this, people may fall behind on certain tasks and projects. Talking to your teachers or professors and letting them know that you’re struggling may help you find a solution to your time management problems.
Looking for more tips for online classes? Here’s how to stay positive when working or studying from home. Or, learn how to better manage work and school, so that you can achieve the perfect work-life balance.