Remaining productive is an issue that many students face – regardless of where or what they are studying. However, some individuals find that studying online without a traditional classroom exacerbates the problem of staying focused. Despite having all the same deadlines and tasks to complete, studying on your own means that occasionally some students are less productive than they could be.
Whether studying online or in a classroom, there are certain things you can do to stay as productive as possible and give yourself the best chance of succeeding:
1. Be organised
Ensure all of your files, folders, assessments and lecture notes are organised neatly. Whether this is on your computer or in a physical filing system, making sure you know where everything is means you can increase your efficiency by spending less time searching for things. Assessing what you need to keep and what you can let go is also a helpful skill to have; removing clutter where you can will make things much easier. Online resources such as Evernote or Basecamp can help keep you organised.
2. Get social
Having a good support system is vital for any student – peers who are dealing with the same assignments and exams as you can be reassuring. Being able to study together, give each other feedback on ideas, and just generally having a friend to talk to makes the world of difference. While studying online is not a traditional classroom experience, it in no way means you are devoid of social contact or study motivation. Get to know your classmates and support each other to remain focused throughout the course of your studies.
3. Set goals
It may be hard to stay focused when your studies clash with your ‘normal’ life. Juggling study with work, family, and friends can make it much harder to finish off that assessment. Break up your tasks into small, easily achievable goals. Ticking each one off the list will motivate you to keep going, and you’ll finish that huge, daunting task before you know it.
4. Identify your distractions and mitigate them
If you know that a particular time of day or place doesn’t suit your study habits, avoid it! Schedule your time so that you can work in your ideal setting. If you find yourself putting off work because you do not fully understand the requirements, ask your tutors or peers for clarification , rather than waiting until crunch time. Be aware of what does and does not work for you, and ensure you stick to it.