Due to restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, school has shifted online for students all over the world. This is a foreign experience for almost everyone, and you may find yourself struggling a little.
But don’t worry. Here are 7 strategies to help you maximize organization and productivity while at home. Applies to non-school days, too!
With these tips in mind last semester (when online school started), I managed to end the year with a solid 4.0, and I’m sure you can too!
Don’t Sleep In
Seriously, don’t do it. There are scientific reasons behind why you should use the morning to your advantage.
A perfect schedule would mean waking up between 7-8 am and sleeping between 10-11 pm.
This ensures that you’re getting a good amount of sleep but not wasting half the day away by sleeping in.
The brain has the highest tolerance of “exercise” in the mid-morning (around 9 am), so this is the best time to do work that requires the most concentration.
Set Time Blocks
Time-blocking is a very efficient way to set schedules and increase productivity.
By setting time blocks on a planner, you’re setting mini-goals for yourself, and they’re all achievable!
Simply create tasks on your planner for 1-2 hours (make sure to take 5-minute breaks every 25-30 minutes) and dedicate that time to doing one thing.
You can time-block on your desktop calendar or on a planner. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s completely up to you!
Related Post: How To Set Up Your Planner For Maximum Productivity
Limit Snacks While Studying
Some people have habits of snacking on something while studying or awarding themselves a snack every time they reach a certain point while studying.
But while some snacks can boost brain activity (like almonds and veggies), others do the opposite. Desserts are a big no-no here!
Here are a couple of disadvantages of snacks that may be hindering your productivity:
- overly processed snacks can make you feel tired
- eating takes up your hands, which then means less work done
- too many snacks are physically unhealthy
Use Planners & To-Do Lists
My planners were lifesavers during online school. Yes, multiple planners!
At the start of each school day, I would visit each of my teachers’ websites or Google Classrooms, and write down the day’s “homework” on my weekly planner.
I took note of assessment dates and class Zoom call dates on my calendar and on my desktop in the form of Sticky Notes. Check out this post to learn more about how I use them efficiently!
And of course, on the heavy-load days, I time-blocked. Along with time-blocking, my planner allowed me to track my work and organize everything.
Find A Good Environment
Having a quiet place to study is essential.
Whether that’s your desk or the dining room table (as long as it’s not your bed), a space of your own will make it easier to focus.
While I have my own desk, my home is not exactly quiet.
Combined with my habit of listening to soft music while studying, I invested in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. They work really well and help me a lot in focusing on the task at hand.
Though I initially bought my headphones for casual purposes (just listening to music), I realized how useful they were once online school started. If you invest in a pair of comfortable ones that work well, they’ll be a lifesaver during classes.
P.S. Beats are aesthetically pleasing, but not comfortable. Bose is the leading brand when it comes to headphones.
Have The Right Tools
Having access to the right tools and resources and using them efficiently can give you a huge boost in online school.
Along with my planners and my computer, I also kept most of my usual school supplies near me while working.
This includes my pencil case and its contents. I’m a big fan of color coding my classes and assignments, so I have various highlighters and colored pens near me.
I also keep my notebooks and calculator on the side of my desk, just for reference during “class” or open-note and calculator-allowed assessments.
My phone is generally out of my reach while I’m studying.
Your phones, equipped with social media and notifications, can be distracting. The best choice here is to leave it in some distant corner and get it after studying.
Go To Your Zooms
There are 2 types of teacher Zooms (in my experience).
- the teacher recreates a classroom experience and gives useful information.
- the teacher talks about useless things for an hour.
You can generally tell which type of Zoom-er your teacher is by his/her personality and their past Zooms.
Obviously, there’s no need to go to the Zooms that are in category 2 (if they are, in fact, optional).
But in the case of category 1, those Zooms can be extremely helpful.
For example, my AP History teacher hosted lecture/review Zooms once a week before AP testing to help us prepare in various ways.
Another aspect of video calls is seeing your classmates and teachers’ faces. Especially in a new school year, it’s important to get to know everyone.
So make sure you’re not missing any Zooms in the first couple weeks of school!
Online school brings challenges as well as relieves (like catching up on sleep). In order to overcome these challenges, you must implement strategies.
Remember: Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Which strategy are you going to use?
If you’re looking for more tips about online school, check out these related posts.