We’ve all struggled a little extra this year with online classes. Procrastination seems to be getting a little out of control and as a result, we might end up cramming all of our coursework the night before it is due- I know I have! The good news is that with just some easy techniques I have found over the years, you can maximize your productivity throughout the day.
1. Get organized
Being organized is one of the most important things that has helped me get things done. This includes getting an agenda or planner (I am a sucker for bullet journals) or just a simple to-do list. Write down everything you need to get done, even small things you think you won’t forget – trust me, you will forget sometime. You can organize your day, week or even your monthly activities ahead to make sure you stay on top of your deadlines. If you are not a planner person, you can use your phone to set reminders or alarms. This way, you will know what your priorities are and what needs to be done.
2. Make a schedule
Along the lines of getting organized, make sure you set up a realistic schedule for yourself. It does not need to be definitive, but I have noticed that it is better to have more or less of a routine established with online classes. Try to wake up each day around the same time, leaving enough time for breaks and for you to work on your assignments. If your classes are delivered asynchronously, try working on that class during the assigned time frame, usually an hour and a half. You can even set a timer to study for a designated amount of time and avoid any distractions!
3. Take Breaks
It is super important to include breaks as a part of your daily schedule. Not only lunch breaks but also a time when you can check your social media, talk with friends, go to the gym or do something that will relax you. This sounds super cliché and something people might have told you before, but that’s because it’s true! Allow yourself to work for a specific amount of time (i.e. 30-1 hour minutes) without any break and leave a 5-minute break in between. There is no secret formula, but find what works for you to avoid getting overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to get done each day. Sometimes even just taking a small break to vent to your roommates about the stuff you need to get done helps relieve some stress.
4. Clean out your study space
As most of us are studying from the comfort of our room, keeping it clean is essential! Remove any distractions or trash that may be lying around in your desk and create a space in which you will be able to focus. Simple things such as making your bed when you wake up or opening your blinds can significantly boost your mood and overall productivity throughout the day.
5. Leave your phone on silent.
We are all guilty of scrolling through our social media as we listen to our lectures. This will most likely end up with you having no idea what your class was about. To avoid this, it’s important to leave your phone or any other distractions far from your reach. If your phone is next to you with the sound on, you will most likely be tempted to check it every 5 minutes, even if you know no one has texted you! Avoid using your phone when working on assignments and I guarantee you will work more efficiently and finish everything on time.
6. Start with one thing.
Choose a specific task to work on for the day. Usually, most people start with their most difficult assignment first as they feel more energetic when they wake up. Whatever the case might be for you, the key is to start with one thing. Once you start writing that long-dreaded essay, you will crave closure and avoiding it will be almost impossible.
Pro tip: Change your language towards your assignments. Instead of saying “I have to do this,” try saying, “I want to finish this because I want to do well on this course and want to enjoy my weekend.” Many psychologists say that labelling your goal as a ‘have to’ priority will increase your stress levels and decrease the likelihood of achieving your goals.
7. Reward yourself
To stay motivated to complete my assignments, I like to reward myself. Once I finish a hard midterm or submit an essay that took me so long to write, I ‘treat myself’ to some Tim Hortons or a binge-watching session of Netflix. Whatever it is that will motivate you to keep you going, use it to your advantage. However, do not overuse this strategy, as you might spend most of your time ‘rewarding’ yourself and not working on your assignments. Keep a healthy balance between work and relaxation.
These are only seven tips out of many you can put into practice to manage your time effectively and get ahead on your online assignments. Let me know if you have tips of your own to stay focused by leaving them in the comments below!