Home Arts & Life Seven ways to thrive in your online classes

Seven ways to thrive in your online classes

by Allissa Hibbs

With online schooling having its fair share of challenges, here are ways to ensure productivity and well-being

a laptop opened on a desk with a notebook, pen and coffee
(Nick Morrison/Unsplash)

We all know that COVID-19 has put a damper on many things. Staying in the comfort of our own homes for hours on end, doing schooling online and the ban on social gatherings are just some of the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic. Though online schooling has its positive and negative implications, we are all here going through the same struggle. It is super important to make sure you are organized and staying on top of things in these times. If you’re looking for tips, then you have come to the right place. So, let’s make the best out of this situation and as the saying goes make lemonade out of lemons. 

1.  Keep track of your assignments and deadlines

A 2020 planner might not have been used as much as in previous years, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on planners completely. Agendas are a great way to ensure that you’re keeping track of your school projects and staying organized. It is essential that during online schooling you’re not falling behind or losing track of what you’re supposed to be doing. Being in your own home means there are an infinite number of distractions so it is crucial to always stay focused and organized. “Plans are nothing; planning is everything,” a famous saying by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Quick tip: Lay out your assignments and their deadlines on a piece of paper and cross them off as you go through the semester. It’s a great way to keep track of all your work and to feel a sense of accomplishment in the end. 

an open white planner
(Eric Rothermel/Unsplash)

2.  Create your own workspace

Not being on campus means no more spending hours in the Student Learning Centre studying. Finding the perfect study space in your home is important. Creating your own personal workspace eliminates distractions and can help you stay focused. Your workspace should only be used for one specific purpose. Doing so will create a work environment that can help improve productivity, reduce distractions and help you get into the right mindset. When developing your workspace Psychology Today suggests you use the BALANCED Checklist; Biophilia, Atmosphere, Layout, Amenities, Noise, Cohesion, Energy and Design. “It helps people learn how to balance factors such as lighting, layout, acoustics, temperature, and nature-based features to make any workspace a better place to think, heal, and create.”Quick Tip: When creating your personal workspace ensure that there are no distractions. Keeping your space clean and organized can improve your productivity. A study found that clutter in your workspace increases stress levels and depletes your energy.

a laptop open on a desk with a larger PC screen turned on behind it
(Domenico Loia/Unsplash)

3.  Follow a routine

Due to the pandemic, many of us are no longer working so it is crucial to establish and keep up with a new routine. Following a routine each day can reduce stress levels, improve sleep and is so important for your mental health, according to Hackensack Meridian Health. Though this concept can seem daunting and at times unreachable, Dr. Maxwell Maltz once said, “It only takes 21 days to form a habit.” Start doing something as simple as waking up every single day at the same time. It is easy to fall out of the rhythm of things when we are stuck at home but keeping a routine can help keep the ball rolling.

a miniature planner on a macbook laptop keyboard
(Emma Matthews/Unsplash)

4. Take time for yourself

Being glued to a computer screen for hours on end is exhausting, so take time for yourself and do the things you love. Take an entire day to not even think about school or assignments. Online classes can be stressful and straining for your mental health so taking a break every now and then is essential. This is key to improving your mental health and keeping yourself grounded in these unpredictable times. “Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping,” says Jordan Peterson.

a sheet of paper with the word mindfulness written in black ink perched on a window sill
(Lesly Juarez via Unsplash)

5. Never be afraid to ask for help

Just because we are all miles away from each other, doesn’t mean we’re alone. We are a collective Ryerson community and it’s important not to forget that we are all in this together, just like that High School Musical song. The professors are here to help and want us to succeed in our education so never hesitate to reach out to them. Ryerson also offers help and support lines and can help guide students in the right direction if they’re not sure where to receive help and support from.

two hands clasping each other
(Anna Shvets/Pexels)

6. Try different learning methods

As we are all soaring through the semester at unbearable speeds into what can seem like a foggy abyss, and we may not know exactly what we are doing. There is no shame in that. Learning how to balance schoolwork is all a part of life, so it’s important to find out what works for you. Oxford Learning says, “To find the study tips that will work best for you, it is helpful to think about how you prefer to learn and match your study techniques to your learning style.” A good suggestion would be the interval learning method. Set a timer for a certain amount of time and do as much work as you can while staying focused for that duration. Once your alarm goes off, set a timer for five minutes and take a break. Step away from your workspace and do something relaxing like getting some fresh air and then once five minutes is up, continue working and repeat the process until you’re finished with all your work. That way you’re not overwhelming yourself and can allow your brain to process all the information you are learning. 

a pair of glasses, a plant and some books on a white desk
(Debby Hudson via Unsplash)

7. Stay Active

Anyone else just want to sit on the couch all day and binge-watch their favorite TV show? We’ve all been there, but we need daily physical activity to keep ourselves healthy and our minds sharp. Staying active is important for the learning process as it improves alertness, attention, motivation and assists your brain in the process of absorbing information, according to Dr. John J. Ratey. Exercising at home is another challenge because finding the perfect space and what routine to do can be difficult. No one is asking you to go on Amazon and buy an entire set of weights, but you can do something small and fun that gets your heart pumping. Put on a fun dancing exercise video from YouTubers like The Fitness Marshall, MadFit, or POPSUGAR Fitness and dance to your heart’s content. It is a fun and easy way to get yourself moving and off that couch. Practising internal mindfulness with something like meditation or yoga will also help your body move and your mind relax. 

a person stares at a blank wall with their arms folded on their head at their desk
(Jason Strull via Unsplash)

These tips are just some ways to enable productivity, and to maintain your physical and mental health. 

This article may have been created with the use of AI software such as Google Docs, Grammarly, and/or Otter.ai for transcription.

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