With the transition to online classes, there has definitely been a de-structuring of how school work is administered and completed. Students must now schedule their own days at home to complete their schoolwork for each class. One thing I struggle with most is motivation and procrastination, but I’ve found some ways to stay engaged in my school work and get it done successfully.
1. Make goals for yourself. Make goals for things you wish to accomplish in a day, in a week, and in a month. This creates purpose for yourself, and a reason to get out of bed and get to work. If you create a list of goals for the day, you can check off the things you do to see how productive you’ve been. Creating goals for the future gives you something to look forward to and work towards. These can be academic goals or personal goals. Having goals is important for finding motivation to complete schoolwork and other duties around the house, and finding purpose in a time that can sometimes be mundane.
2. Create a schedule that is realistic. Along with goals, a schedule can help to create purpose for the day. Making a schedule can help limit stress and lethargy alike. It gives structure to your life and can help balance your activities throughout the day. A realistic schedule is one that you know will be easy to stick to. It isn’t too full and it contains time for work, eating, exercise, hygiene, breaks, self-care, and fun. I find I am more productive when I specifically carve out two hours to do school work and look forward to the next hour where I can Facetime my friend or take my dog on a walk.
3. Don’t work from your bed. It is so incredibly easy, so extremely tempting, and so unbelievably comfortable to do all of your schoolwork from bed. I’ve been guilty of this on multiple occasions. However, it is a psychological trap for being unproductive and unmotivated! Your brain associates being in bed with relaxing and sleepy times of the day. Therefore, you’re more likely to procrastinate or get distracted if you try to do work from your bed. Move to a desk, a chair, the floor, or another room to start your work. This will also give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and start on things other than schoolwork.
4. Try to maintain a normal and healthy sleep schedule. Without the mandatory physical attendance bright and early every day at school anymore, it is easy to have changes to your sleep schedule. I personally have slept in an extra two hours on school days and go to bed later than I used to. However, it’s important to still get a healthy 8-9 hours of sleep, and wake up near your normal school time. Sleeping until the late afternoon creates a vicious cycle of staying awake until the early morning hours and sleeping in until after noon. This can hinder productivity since our student brains are used to doing schoolwork in the early half of the day. Find and stick to a healthy sleeping schedule that you can maintain and that doesn’t deteriorate your mental health. Getting an earlier start to the day can help maximize the use of your hours to get work done and have time for other responsibilities as well as fun.
5. Limit distractions while working. My biggest issue with procrastination is my phone. I get easily sucked into social media when I tell myself I’m just taking a five minute break, or when I see a notification from Snapchat. When working, put your phone in another room or turn off notifications. I have a setting on my iPhone that turns off social media when I’m on it for too long. It can be helpful to designate time in your daily schedule to check up on people on social media, a time that is separate from your work time. Stay connected with friends, but not while you are trying to work. I find that when I remove my phone from my workspace, I can get my work done in half the time.
6. Refresh your brain. I used to get this feeling of being brain-fried in the classroom, and I still get it now doing work from home. The difference is that at school, there were bells that reminded us to take mandatory breaks from our work by going outside, getting up from our desks and walking to our next class, and eating a snack. It’s easy to forget to take a break. If you feel overloaded, unmotivated, or you’re procrastinating, I suggest getting up from your school work and refreshing your brain. This can be achieved by fueling your brain with a healthy snack, hydrating, going for a walk to get fresh air, talking to a friend or family member, or exercising to get more oxygen and blood flow to your brain. Everyone has their own way to unwind. Remember to take these breaks for your brain to ensure you’re performing at your full potential and taking care of yourself.
7. Have a positive attitude. The most important piece of advice I can give is keeping a positive mindset. Your attitude can determine what kind of day you have. Find things you’re grateful for, and set goals for yourself to ensure you can be successful doing work from home. It’s okay to be sad or angry, but dwelling on what we do not have control over doesn’t help us get work done. Having a positive attitude, in my experience, helps me find motivation to get me through the day.