Are you taking online classes? This teaching format can be an effective way to pursue your education when you can’t participate in person. Unfortunately, you may find that your attention roams elsewhere while you’re in a virtual lecture. That’s a common occurrence for many students. But how can you avoid distractions during your online learning? Here’s how to focus in your remote classes.
1. Turn off your electronics
Picture this: You’re sitting at your desk during class when your phone displays a text message. Is your first inclination to put your phone away? If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ll probably send back a quick reply—but those moments can pull you away from your work completely. It’s best to turn off your phone and the TV when you’re attending school. You can even put your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to turn it on and break your focus—because doing so can only lead to procrastination.
Related: Video: Adjusting to Online Learning
2. Set a timer for breaks
Don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day. You may feel like you need to buckle down and do your work without stopping, but you’ll actually be more productive after taking breaks periodically. This trick will help your brain stay energized—but don’t take a break just to be on your phone. You should grab a drink and a snack or even take 30 minutes to walk around your neighborhood before getting back to the books.
3. Use a to-do list
There’s a convenience to virtual schooling. In fact, the number of online learners grows by 21% every year—and that figure has drastically increased in light of COVID-19. Unfortunately, that can also be a bad thing. You’re at home, so you have access to everything you like to do in your house. As a result, you may feel a need to put off your homework or studying to watch an episode of your favorite show. This accessibility can end up hindering your concentration. To avoid this, use a to-do list to map out your day. Take a few minutes every morning to look at your schedule, then write down whatever you need to complete by the end of the day. If you have large projects, break them up over several days to make the workload more manageable.
Related: Why Every College Student Should Keep a Planner
4. Stay off social media
Today’s students are more connected to the world, the news, and each other more than ever before—but scrolling through Instagram or Twitter can be a huge distraction at home during the hours you’re supposed to be dedicating to school. Even if your phone is put away, taking classes online can tempt you to do a quick social check in another tab. You might even be tempted to commiserate with classmates about coursework or let out your frustrations in a post, but it’s important to resist the urge. Not only can looking at social media be distracting, but what you post can affect your future—70% of employers and college admission officers will use social media to assess your eligibility for future opportunities, so keep your usage responsible.
5. Organize your workspace
When you work in an office, you usually have your own desk where you complete your projects—and that’s for a good reason. An individualized work area allows you to keep everything in order. Plus, you can add features that help your learning style specifically. Choose an area at home where you can do work without interruptions. Try to choose a spot with natural light. Then you can add everything you need: your laptop, books, and other supplies. And when you’re done, you can get up and “shut the door” on your classes.
6. Get enough sleep every night
A good night’s sleep can solve most focus problems you may have. If you don’t rest well, you can feel groggy, unalert, and simply “out of it.” One of the best online learning tips is to know your limits. Don’t study so late into the night that you sleep poorly and can't pay attention in your classes the next day.
Your to-do list can help here! A goal to get everything done by a specific time helps ensure you have room in your schedule to decompress after a long day of learning.
Related: Top Sleep Hygiene Advice for Tired Students
Don’t let yourself get distracted from performing well in your remote classes. It can be challenging to adapt at first, but you can take steps to boost your concentration. Try these focus tips for online classes so you can do your best!
Find more helpful advice for your learning in our Majors and Academics section, and check out other valuable advice on Classrooms.com.