Stay Focused and Motivated for Online Classes

Stephen Chau, student, California State University, Long Beach  |  August 20, 2021 in Pearson Students

A college student sits cross-legged on the floor leaning against a white brick wall. She has a laptop in her lap and is reading content on the screen.

Many students were new to online classes when colleges went to virtual classes last year. As we begin a new academic year, even students that are heading back to campus may still find themselves taking some of their classes online.

Attending online classes can make it challenging for students to give their full attention. There can be many distractions, such as your bed, pets, family members or roommates, and electronic devices being at your disposal. All these things make it harder to keep focus, which in turns lowers your motivation and productivity. However, by creating a routine and forming habits, you can learn to become more focused. Here are three things you can do to help you stay focused and motivated while taking online classes.

  1. Have a study space
    The first step is to establish a dedicated area where you can study. Although it may feel comfortable to study in your bedroom, it is important to separate your studies and your relaxation areas. When you are in that dedicated study area, make sure that only school-related things are happening there. Creating a boundary between your “work” and “home” will bring you a sense of control in life and help lower your stress.
  2. Create a routine
    Establishing a daily routine can provide structure to your day. Writing down a rough list of your daily activities can help you stay on track with work and become time efficient. Set a time for yourself to wake up, get dressed, eat, study, work out, talk to friends & family members, and sleep. What may help is having a specific action to get ready to study. This can be anything like making a cup of tea or coffee, clearing out your work area, or doing a quick breathing exercise.
  3. Dress up
    This may seem insignificant but the clothes we wear actually impact our mood, behavior, attitude, and how we interact with others. Wearing clothes like pajamas may make you feel like you’re not really in a working mood, which can make you more vulnerable to distractions. Similar to having a dedicated study area, wearing different clothes for different activities sets clear boundaries between your roles of a student or a couch potato. Next time you have class, try waking up a bit earlier to get dressed up and observe how that affects your mood.

Staying focused while studying is something that all students struggle with and doing so for online classes can be even more challenging. However, there are many things you can do to help you stay focused, but it requires patience, will-power, and habit forming. Hopefully these tips are useful for you and will help you stay on track while studying!

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