Studying at home can be absolute bliss. You get to wake up, make some coffee, and hang out in your pajamas all day. That is, until you realize you’ve barely gotten anything done.
There are a lot of benefits to being able to take classes online at home. Studying from home makes it possible to work two jobs, watch your kids, and save money on gas. However, without a librarian telling you to quiet down or a boss expecting you to stay at your desk, it can be easy to get sidetracked. Here are eight tried-and-true tricks to get the most out of learning from the comfort of your couch.
1. Go to Your Happy Place.
Try using an ambient noise app, like Coffitivity, to create gentle background noise (like birds chirping or the chatter of a coffee shop). Ambient apps are different from Pandora or Spotify, because they don’t have ads and they won’t create distracting dance parties. Using this tool will let you stay focused on your work, while making you feel like you’re sipping coffee at a café in Paris.
2. Time Your Coffee Wisely.
The best times to charge up are between 10 a.m. and noon, and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. This goes for coffee or your caffeine of choice. Why not early in the morning? The body naturally produces cortisol in the morning, which helps us to wake up. Caffeine messes with our cortisol production, making us MORE dependent on caffeine.
3. Make Your Laundry Work for You.
If you’re like me, chores don’t get done unless I’m procrastinating something else. It can be really tempting to finally reorganize your junk drawer instead of writing that paper. Try this instead. Put in a load of laundry and make this your work timer. From the moment you start the wash cycle, you should be writing. You can take a break to switch loads and then the timer begins again. Need more tips for time management? Look here.
4. Take notes. No seriously, take notes.
As an online student, you’re probably watching the lecture on your computer. Don’t let the convenience of being able to rewind and play it again keep you from taking notes. In fact, ditch the laptop and grab the old pen and paper. Research shows that when using laptops, students get distracted more and remember less. On top of that, you get less done. Multitasking causes productivity to fall by up to 40%.
5. Get out of your cave.
One of the most important tricks to studying at home is making sure you’re still getting enough social time. People get pretty stir crazy after not talking to anyone all day, even introverts. Try taking your lunch to a local park, taking a couple hours to volunteer, or, at the very least, call your internet company to complain about something. Make sure you’re talking to someone during the day.
I know. Wearing pajamas all day or not wearing pants at all can be one of the best parts of being able to study off-campus. In my experience, not getting dressed makes me more likely to decide to just watch one episode on Netflix, in bed, after lunch. And then two. Or maybe three. By getting up and getting ready for the day, you can help to set the tone for making it a productive day.
7. Use the Rule of Three.
The Rule of Three says that you just have to get three things done. Make a to-do list and only put the next three things you have to do on it. Give each of those things a good crossing-out once you finish it (make it satisfying). Once you’ve finished those, create your next list. Make sure that each item is small enough that you can easily finish it. This will help you to break down your large list of items into smaller ones.
8. Use YOU to help you stay on track.
This last tip is just for Colorado State University students. YOU is a confidential platform that allows you to create personal and professional goals. This app is meant to help support you in multiple areas of your life, like your mental health and finding your purpose. It might be a distraction from studying for a little bit, but will help you keep on track and stay healthy in the long run.
These are our tips, but we know there are other tricks out there. What do you do to stay on task when studying online?