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How to Stay Focused in Online Class & Avoid Distractions

by | Oct 14, 2020

Online learning – the realm where work and leisure fight for dominance. In a world where you can roll out of bed to open your laptop 5 minutes before class starts, it can seem like classwork would be a breeze.

Now, if you have developed an iron will that allows you to complete all of your work from your bed, good on you! You are far stronger than I. If not, you’re most likely like the rest of us – distracted, looking for structure, and occasionally paranoid that you forgot something important.

The truth of the matter is – most of us need some kind of structure in our daily lives to manage our work and our stress – and that’s okay! Below we have compiled a list of tactics you can use to keep yourself motivated, productive, and organized:

Create a workspace
This ties back to why it might be better to work from a separate area than your bed. Working in a space where you cannot concentrate or study without interruption is a huge detriment to your productivity. It also means you won’t correlate the place where you sleep with the place where you work.

Make the space your own!
Whether it’s a place on the couch or at a table, make it known to whomever you live with that you need this space for work.

Make a routine
People say this as if it were easy, right? “Just make a routine, and everything gets easier!” Nope. It’s hard. It’s not easy to do. BUT – to make a new routine means you are helping yourself by creating expectations for your work days. Statistics show that it takes 2-3 weeks of consistently doing something for it to become a habit.

Hold yourself accountable
This ties in some with setting up your routine. If you can hold yourself accountable to doing what you say you’re going to do, you’re building a better system for completing your own work. Set deadlines for yourself, but don’t be too strict about it. Give yourself some wiggle room to complete your work if you can’t get it done on time.

Practice time management
It’s important to set up a schedule devoted to your work. But remember to take breaks! This is supposed to be the time where you are your most productive, and that means taking short breaks often, as well as getting your work done on time.

Actively participate in your classes
Although you might be home, it’s important that you participate in your online classes, as the professor is most likely taking notes down of who’s actually paying attention and participating. For these reasons, it’s good to have some questions written down relevant to the work to make sure you cover your bases.

Leverage your network
Use the connections you have in the classroom to build a study group! By participating in these groups, you can schedule times to talk about your assignments as well as study sessions to make yourself more prepared for your next lesson.

Treat yourself!
When you complete an assignment or finish studying, go grab a snack! It’s always nice to take breaks in between study sessions, and being able to reward yourself can help trick your brain into doing a task you don’t want to do.

While there will always be in-person instruction, online learning will only continue to grow, and it’s good for us to understand how to best manage our time. If you’re interested in learning more about how to network in an in-person setting, as well as myriad other skills, please check out MentorWorks’ TAP Launch program. It’s free, and it goes over the specifics of important career empowerment tools like building a resume, how to network in-person, and how to negotiate (to only name a few).