It’s officially back-to-school season and this year things are a little bit different. Instead of picking up our books and our backpacks, we’re picking up our laptops just in time to tune in for our Zoom lectures.
Figuring out how to go back to school without actually going back to school is proving to be a pretty big challenge – one that we’re having to solve very quickly for the sake of our own health and safety.
But, there’s no need to worry. To help you make the most out of this school year, we’ve rounded up 9 of our best tips for staying organized, motivated and focused during online classes.
Back to School Essentials:
1. Goal Getter
Before you jump straight into your schoolwork for the day, write down some goals for yourself. Your goals can be as small as finishing off your assigned reading chapters or as big as getting straight A’s this semester. Either way, starting each day with a clear intention about what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it will help you power through getting everything done. Goals are also a great reminder to look back on when you’re feeling a little unmotivated and need to refocus.
2. Set A Schedule
After you’ve established your goals, physically jot down a list of tasks you need to do in order to accomplish them. Make sure they’re actionable, realistic and detailed so you don’t get overwhelmed by your overambition. Having a to-do list that’s filled with items you can actually cross off will not only keep you on track, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you’ve gotten through most of them by the end of the day.
Once you’ve got your to-do list sorted, schedule out some time for you to complete each task. One really easy way to do this is to structure your day as if you were physically going to school. For example, you could work on your History assignments in the morning like you would if that were your first class of the day. Then, you could move onto Math, English, Science and so on. You can also create reminders that tell you to shift gears when the time comes (our team loves to use Google Calendar for help with this!)
3, Treat Yourself
After setting your goals and breaking them down into tasks, give yourself a little reward to look forward to when you complete them. Whether it’s a socially distanced date with your best friend, watching a couple of episodes of your favorite show on Netflix, or getting a latte from the best coffee shop in your neighborhood – even the smallest incentives can play a big role in motivating you to get work done.
4. Balance Is Key
Without a school bell signalling you to end your day, it can be easy to get carried away with working on an assignment all night and into the early hours of the morning. While sitting in front of your screen and knocking out everything on your to-do list may seem like you’re winning the online-school game, it’s actually a really great way to burn yourself out. Taking the time to recharge allows you to be more productive when you start up again. So, remember to take clear breaks. Get a snack, walk the dog, or even have a quick dance party (no one is watching anyways!).
5. Switch It Up
Switching things up every couple of hours or so can help you break up the monotony of your school day and keep you from getting bored easily. The change you make could be something as simple as swapping your black pen out for a blue one, or listening to a pop playlist instead of a hip hop one. One of our favorite ways to reinvigorate our workday is to shift to an entirely different work environment for a change of scenery and a new perspective.
6. Break Up With Your Bed
When Drake said “I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry” in God’s Plan, we really felt that. We love our beds too! But, while staying in our beds all day sounded like a comfy option at first, we realized pretty quickly that it has its consequences. Since we’re used to using our beds for rest and relaxation, that’s exactly what we’re inclined to do instead of getting any work done. When we’re already all cozied up, it can be easy to catch some z’s instead of catching our Zoom lectures. And even worse, we may begin to associate our beds with the stress of our studies, which can make it harder to fall asleep when the time comes. Creating a workspace outside of your bedroom not only establishes boundaries but it also sets you up for productivity.
7. Dress For Success
Okay don’t get us wrong with this one, we admire and appreciate a good comfy loungewear set just as much as you do. But, we also understand (and sometimes give into) the temptation of staying in our pajamas all day. Chances are if you stay in your cozy clothes, you might want to stay in your lazy mindset too. A cute outfit, a little bit of makeup, and a quick shower can go a long way in helping you feel awake, energized and ready for the day.
8. Find A Study Buddy
If you’re anything like us, you’re finding that working from home can get a little bit lonely sometimes. When you’ve retired from your weekly FaceTime catch-up sessions and have started trying to make conversation with your pet, it might be time to find a study buddy. Connecting with a classmate not only keeps spirits high, but it also gives you an opportunity to navigate the new reality of online classes. Got a question about your assignment? They might have an answer. Need an answer for your next project? A convo with them could spark up some inspiration. Not having to go through this unfamiliar experience alone can help you stay on top of things and who knows? You might even make a new friend!
9. Is Give Yourself Grace
Remember that it’s okay not to have it all together. You’re likely to have your “off” days, because the truth is we all do! What’s most important is to be kind to yourself when days like this occur. Don’t forget that this is a new experience and it’s going to take some getting used to. It’s not the end of the world if you need to shut things down and answer the beckoning call of the sofa sometimes. And hey, lucky for you it’s only a few feet away!