While many people were a little unsure about their online classes this year, I couldn't wait! I was looking forward to working from home. I could get all of my classwork done without leaving my bedroom and I could work my class schedule around my day instead of the other way around. Who wouldn't want to get school work done on their own time and attend class in their pajamas?
And then the year got into full swing, and online classes got monotonous quickly. There were no after school clubs, athletic events, or even other students to bear the tedious school day with you. Everything I thought I wouldn't miss I was suddenly becoming nostalgic for. I hadn't realized how much school spirit and my peers contributed to my motivation.
Although we can't quite replicate the usual school environment at home, we can at least work with the environments we're already in and prepare for the weeks to come. Here are some tips I've utilized for staying motivated and happy while taking classes at home.
Have A Morning Routine
Even though you might not have anywhere to go, it's still good to get into the habit of setting yourself up for a productive day. Set your alarm to wake up at a decent time, drink a cup of coffee, or take your dog for a walk. Your morning routine doesn't need to be special or elaborate, it just needs to be something that makes you look forward to getting out of bed. Here are a few more ideas:
- Read a few chapters of an exciting book
- Get ready for the day with you favorite playlist
- Call your friends and talk like you would on a regular school morning
- Start off with a mentally stimulating activity you enjoy, like writing or playing an instrument.
- Go on a bike ride
Create a Positive Workspace
Maybe you don't exactly have your own home office, but designating a workspace will help boost your productivity and focus. Find a quiet corner in your living room, bedroom, or kitchen, and only use that spot to get work done. It will help you get into the school mindset and keep you motivated to study. It might even be nice to hang a schedule there or post-it note reminders.
- Decorate your workspace. Make it fun!
- Keep your laptop plugged in and ready to go on your work surface
- Make sure it's an area with a strong Wi-Fi connection
Take Frequent Brakes
Nothing will quite ruin your motivation like overworking yourself. Make sure to take a lunch break and find time to unwind. Taking breaks will allow you to be more productive and make your schoolwork feel less overwhelming. It might be a good idea to exercise or take a reading break halfway through the day.
Get Work Done As soon as possible
Your online schoolwork will add up fast, especially if you're taking difficult coursework. Take advantage of your extra free time and get ahead of the game, even when you feel like you have plenty of time. You'll always be glad you did it later. Here're some tips for staying ahead.
- Communicate with your teachers
- Check your email frequently
- Write down a to-do list at least every week
- Check your syllabus for changes
Start an online study group with classmates
Learning new material alone can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. You have no one else asking questions or engaging in lectures with you. Try starting an online study group by sending an email out to your classmates. Sure, most of them will be uninterested, but even if one or two responds then you'll have found motivated peers to work with this semester.
Leave Your Desk
This is a little contradictory to tip number 2, but on days when you're feeling exhausted and lacking motivation, change up your workspace. Work on your essays on your back porch. Graph functions at a socially distanced coffee shop. Whatever works for you! You're no longer constricted to the traditional classroom environment. Take advantage of it while it lasts.
And don't take your school work! Everyone's been spending more time inside this year. But just because we can't meet up with friends doesn't mean we can't still enjoy the sunshine. Go on hikes with people in your household, jog around your neighborhood, or have a picnic in your backyard. Staying inside all day working brings anyone's mood down. Stay happy and motivated by exploring your surroundings.
Socially distanced outdoor activities:
- Bird Watching
- Farmer Markets
- Drive-in Movies
This school year may not be what you envisioned, but it has the potential to be one you look back on fondly. How do you plan on making this school year the best it can be?