With the world suddenly online, being productive at home is essential to be successful; especially for anyone taking online classes. You should know that if you stay productive, you can get more done in less amount of time.
Wouldn't you rather not be a slave to your computer? We've got you. While the crazy reality of the world right now has pushed more of us than ever before into online work, working remotely online is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around for the last decade.
And while professionals may struggle to convince their bosses that they’re just as, if not more, productive at home as they are in the office, there is another sector of people that have recently been pushed online that are more than capable of thriving in working online: The college student.
Online courses have been offered for about as long as remote work has, and while some schools have adapted and thrived prior to the Coronavirus, some are just now being forced to adapt their educational systems to a more online-friendly educational system.
For those who are used to the in-person setup, this shift to becoming a full-time remote student is proving to be a bit more difficult than expected. The problem doesn’t lie with the lack of technological capability.
Today's college students can video chat five different ways, send instant messages on seven different platforms, and have been sending emails since the fifth grade. We are more than capable of navigating the necessary technology for online learning.
Instead, the real problem is staying focused. While being home with nowhere to go might seem like the perfect opportunity to jump into learning, instead it’s proving to be the perfect reason to get distracted and procrastinate. If there’s no happy hour motivating us to have our biology paper done by 5 pm today, why do it when Netflix and TikTok are sitting right beside us on our phones and laptops?
This epidemic is lasting longer than anyone would prefer. Rest assured, whether you're a college freshman or a third-year medical student, you’ll have time for studying (yay?). A recent report found that students are studying and engaging more in the educational process, so you'll in good company.
However, you first need to figure out how to be a productive student from the comfort of your own home. If you’re struggling to figure out just how to do that, try one (or all) of these productivity tips. You (and your professors) will thank us for it.
Setting up in a well-lit space is also a huge perk if you’re able. It’ll keep your brain awake and keep you from nodding off during your fourth Zoom lecture of the day.
I'm not condoning this...but here's a list of the most binge-worthy Netflix showsAfter all, what do you have going on tomorrow morning? This kind of thinking is exactly what you’re trying to avoid, because it’s a never-ending cycle of procrastination. When 2 am becomes 3 am and that becomes 4 am and then all of a sudden it’s 9 pm the next day, and you’re in the same position you were the day before, you have a problem on your hands.
Pro-tip: You’re more likely to check (and adhere to) your schedule if it’s aesthetically pleasing to you. Put a little extra effort (and entertain yourself) by designing a colorful and organized schedule and you’ll find yourself more willing to stick to it.
If you like pretty things but aren’t keen on being creative yourself, you can find tons of planners, time blocking pdfs, and schedules online. Try Amazon, Etsy and even your favorite Instagram influencer's page. Most of them are working from home full-time and will share their schedules with their followers.
Regardless of how you design your day, make sure you follow the plan.
Some people work best with background static, but not noise; others work best to music or silence. If you’re unable to get complete silence and you need it in order to focus, try white noise playlists on Apple or Spotify. If you work best to music, include a pair of headphones when setting up your workspace and maybe even create a playlist specifically for when you’re studying.
This applies to more than just noise, too. Some people find that they’re unable to focus if they’re in their pajamas, as they just don’t feel ready to work. Others can’t focus unless they’re comfortable. Be sure you know what works best for you so that you can set yourself up for success from the very beginning.
Set yourself up for success and productivity, but don’t forget that if you push too hard, too fast, you’ll burn out. Pace yourself and be sure that there’s plenty of down-time and time for self-care in the schedule you oh-so-carefully planned. This not only will be good for your productivity, but for your mental health as well.
Another way to apply this on a smaller scale is to remember to take breaks when you are studying. Don’t try and crank out six hours of writing papers and reading straight through without a break. You need to be sure to schedule time to rest and recoup as well.
This will actually make you more productive in the long run, in addition to helping prevent you from giving into hustle culture and burning out. You have time, so be sure to give yourself some.
While now’s not the time to start a new diet, making sure to eat your veggies, drink plenty of water, and get active and move your body in some way will be beneficial to more than just your productivity. It will keep you healthy, happy, and focused.
Having time for good nutrition and exercise built into your schedule will make you more productive for the long term and will probably make you happier as well. If you’re looking for ways to get active when all the gyms are closed, take the dog for a walk, try an at-home work out from YouTube, or join an Instagram Live workout from the plethora of trainers online.
If you’re on your own, try setting up a Zoom or Facetime study or accountability group. Reward yourselves when you stay on track for the whole week by scheduling a virtual happy hour or virtual movie night. Making small steps towards being more productive while online learning will make huge waves in how you spend your time and teach you exactly how you’re wasting your time.
While being a full-time remote student will have you missing your dorm, best friends, and maybe even your professors, you don’t need to miss out on what you learn from your college courses too. Look at this time as an opportunity to discover more about how you learn, work, and prefer to spend your time. By doing so, you’re setting yourself up for success for when you graduate and making yourself a more desirable employee.
And hey, being more productive now and learning how to do so for the future will get you to happy hour that much faster once you’re back at college this fall.