Distance Learning: A New Challenge, A New Experience

The new 2020-21 school year has just begun, as we start the semester with the new normal, learning from home. The thought of being back in school brings up mixed emotions, some are excited to start a fresh school year and continue their studies, while others are already feeling the stress of work overload and counting down the days until the next summer. Coming back from what felt like a long summer since the school shutdown, as well as the distance learning back from the spring, it is a challenge getting back to having a set schedule and keeping up with our tasks. Especially with this semester going virtual, we all are still in the process of adapting to remote learning and being behind the screen. 

Although we all miss seeing each other in the hallways and having face to face interactions in class, many of us are enjoying the perks of online learning. The convenience of learning right inside your home takes away the worry of getting to school on time, transportation, dresscode, as well as gives you access to the kitchen whenever your stomach starts to growl. Given a more flexible schedule, we can work at our own pace and decide how to manage our time. 

At the same time, learning from home can also be a struggle. It takes more effort to meet new people and make new friends when most of the time all we see is a name on a black screen. As the school year just started, not being familiar with one another, some are still not comfortable turning on their cameras and microphones during class. While this is highly understandable during this time, showing ourselves through the screen is a goal we should strive towards. Along with that, another challenge during this time is taking ownership of our education. Being at home is the easiest way to fall into the traps of procrastination, loss of motivation, and distractions. Having our smartphones sitting right next to us during class and with no teachers being physically there to remind us of completing our assignments, it only takes a second to lose track of what needs to be done. 

Though it will take time getting used to the transition from in person to online school, distance learning has provided us with the opportunity to practice self responsibility and independence, which are two extremely important skills to have for future success. 

Want to get work done? Here are 5 tips to help you stay productive at home:

  1. Set a routine

Create a daily routine that you can stick to. Find a routine that works best for you and will encourage the most productivity. If you are a morning person, start your work day off early. If you prefer working later in the day, consider having a later bedtime. Maintaining a regular schedule allows you to stay consistent with your work as well as make the most out of your time. 

  1. Designate a work space

Find a workspace in your home that will make you want to work. A place where you will not be easily distracted by the things around you and where you will have easy access to all your working tools and resources. Having good lighting, as well as comfortable seating are also factors to consider when it comes to working for a long period of time. Also, to bring you motivation, decorate your workspace with your own personal touch. Adding your creativity to your workspace will definitely inspire you to work!

  1. Plan out your schedule everyday/make a list of tasks you want to accomplish

Before starting your work, open up your planner, or even just a piece of paper, and write down everything you want to complete that day. List the tasks that you want to complete first as top priority, while the ones that can be done later at the end. Writing down what you need to do and having a physical copy that you can always refer back to will make it a lot easier to keep track of what needs to be done. 

  1. Lock your phone

When it comes to working, the biggest distraction is your smartphone. If you know that your phone causes you to go off task, turn it off or put it on do not disturb mode when you need to focus. Another option is to download an app that blocks your phone for you. You set a timer for how long you want to be offline and the app locks the access to your phone until the timer goes off. This will help prevent you from checking your phone for messages, notifications, videos, etc. and allow you to fully focus on your work. 

  1. Take a break

It is important that throughout the day, you give yourself time to rest and reset your mind. Not only can you spend time away from your computer and work space, but it is also a good method to practice self care. Whether that is grabbing a snack, walking your dog, or even just standing up for a stretch, letting your mind refresh will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or burned out. While taking a quick break, keep track of the time. Setting a timer for yourself will help you avoid distraction and remind you when it is time to get back to work!