8 Tips for Staying Productive when Studying Online

Studying for your online courses 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 online education. 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 stay productive studying online from the comfort of your couch.

1. Go to Your Happy Place.

Do you dream of doing your homework at a beach with the waves crashing on shore, or do you prefer the sounds of the hustle and bustle of an early morning coffee shop? Research shows that listening to music or background noise when studying can increase productivity and enhance creativity. Improve your focus with an ambient noise site like Coffitivity  or Noisli. Choose a background noise that fits best with your task. Experiment with which noise works best to spark your creative juices, which one helps you concentrate when reading, and another for entering stats into a spreadsheet. Focus on your work and feel like you’re sipping coffee at a café in Paris.

2. Time Your Coffee Wisely.

Coffee Break Online Course

Charge up between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., 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 wake up. Caffeine messes with our cortisol production, making us MORE dependent on caffeine. Make the most of your day by timing your caffeine to complete your goals.

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 for your online course. Try this instead. Put in a load of laundry and use it as your work timer. Start writing when you start the wash cycle. Take a break to switch loads and start the timer 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. Increase your focus and critical thinking taking notes by hand. Think through the most important points you hear and write them down, rather that typing out everything on a computer. You will remember the content better and create a greater connection to the course.

5. Get out of your cave.

One of the most important tricks to studying at home for your online courses is making sure you get enough social time. You can go pretty stir crazy after not talking to anyone all day. Engage in online course discussions and build relationships with your classmates. Learn about their interests and meet for a hike, dinner, or drinks.

Take your lunch to a local park, volunteer a couple of hours, or, at the very least, call your internet company to complain about something. Talk to people throughout the day and don’t get stuck in your cave.

6. Pants.

I know. Wearing pajamas all day or not wearing pants at all can be one of the best parts of being able to study online. In my experience, not getting dressed makes me more likely to watch one episode on Netflix, in bed, after lunch. And then two. Or maybe three. Get up and get ready for the day, dress for success. Set the tone to boost your creativity and stay productive studying online.

7. Use the Rule of Three.

Complete three things. Make a to-do list and only put three things on it. Cross each one out when you finish. Think of three more things, make a list, and cross them out. Make sure that each item is small enough that you can easily finish it. Breakdown large items into three small tasks and see what you have achieved each day. Keep your goals in site and celebrate your accomplishments.

8. Use YOU to help you stay on track.

YOU is a confidential platform for Colorado State University students that allows you to create personal and professional goals. This is your confidential space to own your well-being. From mental and physical health, to friendships, and finding balance. It’s all here. Keep on track, stay healthy, and succeed in your online education.

Updated on July 8, 2020.

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