While learning in the comfort of your home allows you to wake up later, spend every day in pajamas, and attend classes in bed, these benefits come with a warning: self-discipline. Many students observed that their home environment has led them to lose focus during classes and feel less motivated to complete assignments. Here are ten ways you can stay efficient and productive while learning from home:

  1. Separate your living space and workspace: The different environments will prevent you from mixing working and resting time. Attending a class or doing homework in bed reduces focus because your brain associates your bed with sleep and comfort.
  2. Get enough sunlight: The lighting in your workspace dramatically impacts your productivity. If possible, turn your desk towards a window. Natural sunlight helps boost serotonin, a brain chemical that gives you higher energy and a more positive and focused mindset.
  3. Wear actual clothes: Pajamas do not count! Putting on clothes that you would wear to school establishes a sense of normalcy in your morning routine and remote school day. Your brain will start to recognize that it is time for productivity. It will also help you distinguish between weekdays and weekends. Feel free to wear pajamas all day on Saturday and Sunday!
  4. Prepare your workspace in the morning: Before the school day starts, make sure you have all your materials, including notebooks, handouts, textbooks, chargers, headphones, a calculator, extra paper, and multiple writing utensils. This proactive preparation will prevent you from losing focus to search for your textbook or a pencil throughout the day. 
  5. Use stretch breaks: Take advantage of the fifteen-minute breaks between classes to walk downstairs to pet your dog or do a few jumping jacks. Movement after sitting down for long periods can reduce fatigue by increasing blood supply and nutrients to your muscles. It also prevents back pain, reduces tension headaches, and calms your mind. 
  6. Plan with an agenda notebook: Writing out your schedule and events for the day will help you manage your time, organize your day, and stay focused on your tasks. Whether you have afterschool activities or virtual office hours with a teacher, make sure you write out all you plan to accomplish and block off the necessary time.
  7. Eliminate technological distractions: Place unnecessary physical technology such as your phone or gaming devices in another room to minimize the temptation to check for notifications or to play games during class. Open a different browser for schoolwork (Canvas and Google Drive) and personal activity (social media, gaming, and personal email). Turn on Do Not Disturb to help you focus for longer periods without the distractions of notifications and the urge to check your messages.
  8. Hydrate: Keep a glass or bottle of water next to you throughout the day, so you remember to hydrate whenever possible. Drinking water expands the brain’s grey matter and improves your thinking and performance productivity by around 14 percent. Take advantage of breaks between classes to refill your water!
  9. Create a healthy workspace: In order to have a clear, focused mind during remote learning, your workspace should be relatively empty with only your essential school materials and some personal decorations. For example, you can add photos of friends and family, colorful décor, and even plants, which are proven to increase productivity by 15 percent. Find a comfortable chair to reduce strain on your back and neck, and un-clutter your desk often!
  10. Make to-do lists: Throughout the school day, create a large list of homework assignments and upcoming projects. When starting your homework or during a free block, create smaller to-do lists based on priority. If you divide a large number of assignments into more manageable pieces, you will be more productive and motivated to finish them.

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