As the new semester begins after the break, everyone is beginning the transition into a new set of classes. For many, such as myself, it's the first time taking a class that isn't taught in person by a teacher. This new thing can be incredibly daunting, especially when it means that you have to be completely self-reliant in order to finish and pass the class. Some days, it seems impossible to find the motivation to do your work. Throughout the last week, I've been taking the time to figure out things that do and don't work for me, tips that I think are helpful for anyone who has a lot of trouble focusing on their work.
1. Turn off your phone.
Trying to do anything with your phone on is hard. You're getting texts, calls, notification after notification with far too much temptation to check them if your phone is on. There are apps that you can use to leave your phone on yet not accessing any of your apps that give you a small reward for not touching your phone, such as growing a tree in a garden.
2. Only open the necessary tabs.
I'm just as guilty as everyone of having eighteen tabs open in my browser when I'm only using three of them. Before you get started on your work, you should close or minimize those specific tabs so that you can focus more fully on the work at hand. If you have Urban Outfitters or Amazon open in another tab, you might be tempted to exit what you're doing and do some online shopping instead.
3. Set aside time for work at the same time every day.
When you don't have to physically show up for a class, it can be easy to ignore your work until three hours before it's all due. In order to prevent that, you should set up an agenda, setting aside time every day or every other day to work on assignments that you have due. That way, you know when you can and can't make plans, and you have a set time to do your work and make sure you get things done.
4. Work in a comfortable space.
You don't want to be uncomfortable while you're doing any of your work. That's going to make you fidget and want to give up and just worry about it later, which isn't going to be helpful at all. You want to wear clothes that are comfortable to work in and work somewhere with minimal distractions, be that in your room, in the library, in a home office... just somewhere where you can think and work without being distracted by outside sources.
5. Don't be afraid to email the teacher of the course.
Even though online classes are basically self-taught, each one is still assigned a teacher who creates the course. Don't hesitate to email them with any questions or concerns you have about the course, as they're more than happy to help you with anything you need. In fact, one of my teachers even specifies that she's willing to call, Skype, or FaceTime students who need to have audio or face to face discussions of the work. Your professors are there for you. They don't want you to fail, and they're willing to help if you reach out to them.