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Online Study: Staying Focused

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Published: 22 February 2021

Person studying from home

Over the past few months, we’ve all become used to spending a lot more time at home. Part of that has been working out how to get on with our regular lives in a new situation.

As a student at the University of Sunderland in London, you’ve become an expert in studying from home. But it can still throw up some challenges.

In this article, we’re talking about one of the major difficulties students have experienced during their time remote learning – staying focused.

At home, there are plenty of things to distract you from your studies. Some are important, for example, childcare or work.

But what about the other things, like streaming ten hours of content from Netflix or scrolling endlessly through Facebook?

The flexibility you get through online learning also comes with plenty of room for procrastination. So how do you stay focused and achieve your best when studying from home?

Prevent distractions

With your phone, mute app notifications, remove the most distracting ones from your home screen or even turn your phone off altogether when it comes time to study.

Try keeping a diary of the things you’re doing every day. For example, write down the number of hours you spend on a particular website, watching tv or heading to the fridge for a snack, compared to studying.

The results can surprise you and motivate you to change things around a little.

Have a study mode

One of the biggest challenges of studying from home is you’re not going to a different environment. It can be hard to switch between relaxing and working when everything feels the same.

Instead, stick to a structured routine: Get out of bed, have a shower, clean your teeth, eat a proper breakfast.

Then treat studying like a separate task, something that has a start and end date. It helps to set up your study space when you’re doing this.

Even if you don’t have a lot of room, you can pack away your laptop at the end of the day and change from studying to relaxation mode with ease.

Learn how you study

One of the benefits of working from home is you have more control over how you study, which is useful as everyone learns differently.

Do you find you’re more engaged in the mornings? Do you like studying after a workout? Does listening to music help you?

Experiment with a few different things and find what works best for you.

Let people know you’re studying

Whether it’s your friends sending you memes all day or your family running around and making lots of noise, there is plenty to distract you.

Make sure people know your study schedule and not to disturb you – except for emergencies of course!

Instead, tell them when you will be free and make the effort to spend that time with them.

Reward yourself

The other side of studying from home is not knowing when to finish. Trying to work non-stop without a break will quickly wear you out.

Take regular breaks, ideally doing things that don’t require a lot of thinking – cleaning up or going for a run are great ideas.

Remember to use the rewards as motivation for getting through the next part of your studies. It really helps look forward to something.

Do you have any tips or tricks for staying focused while studying from home? We’d love to hear them.

Send your ideas to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.