Focusing on school can be incredibly challenging for any teenager, but even more so when doing online schooling. Getting a high school diploma online comes with many benefits, but it can also be difficult for a young student to create a productive atmosphere in which to do school, and to set up a schedule to get the work done in a timely manner. Here is some expert advice on strategies to help you focus on school when you aren’t in a traditional classroom setting.
Set Up a Productive Workspace
Geetanjali Mukherjee, author of Anyone Can Get an A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades, says to “removal all distractions while studying.” This means turning off the phone, television, and email alerts. Close out of websites for social media, YouTube, Pandora, and any other sites that may tempt you to steer away from the task at hand. When you completely focus on schoolwork during the time you set aside for it, you’ll be better at time management because you won’t continually be placing attention elsewhere.
Greg Stahl, the VP of marketing at Varsity Tutors, advises setting up an office or room that has the same attributes as a classroom atmosphere would. Having a designated place for all of your school books and supplies will make it easier to get started and stay organized.
Break Up Your Time and Include Breaks
To keep your stamina levels high and make it through each day successfully, it’s important that you break up your time and always include breaks. Karen Kolb, a certified positive psychology coach, says, “Because science tells us that 90-minute blocks are prime for productivity and focus, students should work in a 90-minute chunk at a time, followed by a 15- or 20-minute break.”
It can be tempting to try to get all of your workload done as quickly as possible and skip the breaks. However, it’s easy to lose steam this way, and eventually, your body and mind will force you to take a break. You’ll start to notice this when you read the same paragraph over and over without retaining the information, or when your mind begins to drift to things such as what you’re going to do later that day or what movie you’re going to see that weekend.
Make a Routine That Works for You
It’s crucial to your school success that you have a routine that you follow. Dr. Sara Bender says that you should never try to fit studies into your already busy schedule. Instead, you need to prioritize your schoolwork and work the rest of your busy life around your already-made school schedule. You need to establish a routine that fits this mold and that works for you and stick to it.
Keilah Johnson, founder of Truth in Chaos, suggests that the earlier you start the day, the better. Generally, distractions won’t be as big of an issue early in the morning like they can be later in the afternoon. Additionally, you’ll retain focus much longer in the morning than you would later in the day when fatigue, hunger, and distractions may pull you away from your work.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your routine if you find that the one you’re using currently isn’t very productive. Each person is unique, so build a routine around your life that makes the most sense, and you’ll be more likely to stick with.
Have Downtime Scheduled
While you might think that being productive when taking courses online consists of only focusing on your work environment and scheduling, there is a little more to it than that. An online master’s student at Purdue and director of communications at Jot Form, Chad Reid, informs us that while routines are essential for success when taking courses at home, you also need to make sure you have a routine outside of class. He says that Friday is “my night to have fun. And it keeps me more engaged in school knowing I have a day to blow off steam.”
Be Mindful of Your Health
To successfully learn, you don’t want to be exhausted. Exercising and eating right will go a long way in how well you perform and focus on the tasks in front of you. Take the time to move around during your small breaks. You can do jumping jacks, stretch, or even take a brisk walk around the block.
Dr. Sara Bender says to make sure you have healthy and protein-rich snacks easily accessible. She says, “To learn effectively, we need to be focused. Focus is compromised when we’re overly tired, hungry, or otherwise distracted.” Be mindful of how you feel when you study. If you notice that you’re struggling to make it to the desk and accomplish your schoolwork, it might be time to look at your diet and exercise routine.
Think Outside the Box
Even though you may have your workstation ready to go, your routine is written out with breaks included, and you’ve got healthy snacks waiting, you might still hit a wall now and then. Sam McIntere, the founder of Deskbright, recommends that you think outside the box and “challenge yourself to learn by making it a game.” Set small goals and reward yourself throughout the process. Make a fun chart to help you check tasks off your to-do list or find someone who is s dedicated as you are to study with and play trivia using your notes.