Whether you are starting your online school journey for the first time or you are continuing your virtual studies, it’s time to kick start the school year with some productive habits – starting with your virtual school environment. No matter what your home set up looks like, here are a few tips to help you achieve ultimate productivity and success.
1. Designate a school space.
First things first, it’s important to designate a specific area in your home for your classes, homework and studies. Even if you have limited space in your studio apartment or home, it’s critical to create some type of work zone, whether it’s a flip down desk or even a small corner nook. Challenge yourself to think outside of the box! For ideas on optimizing small spaces, check out this article by Real Homes. Once your work zone is identified, it’s important to remember to keep this area clean and tidy, as a cluttered workspace can impact concentration.
2. Mix up your scenery.
Although it’s essential to have a specific space in your home for school work, sometimes you need to mix it up to help spark creativity. When you are looking for a change of pace, we recommend finding a local coffee shop or public library to serve as your out-of-home work spot. You’ll want to test out a few locations to see what noise level and atmosphere suits you best and create a list of your favorites.
3. Establish clear expectations with household members.
If you live with roommates or family members, it can be valuable to set up clear expectations at the beginning of every term about your school schedule. Let them know when you will be in class or in the “school zone” so they know not to interrupt. According to a University of California Irvine study, it can take up to 23 minutes after an interruption to refocus. Therefore, it can be beneficial to establish these boundaries to optimize your work time.
4. Perfect the school-life balance.
Because your school environment takes place in your home, it can be challenging to fully separate school and day-to-day life. The best way to ensure you are keeping both in check is to follow a clear routine. Identity the days and hours you will be dedicating towards school and disconnect when you are outside of those hours. If your routine isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up to get better results.
5. Take breaks!
While planning out your school routine, don’t forget to add in quality break times, whether it’s a quick walk or workout, lunch date or even a short nap. In moderation, breaks can have a large impact on efficiency. We also encourage online students to get up and move between classes, even without the formal classroom transition.