Seven Tips to Stay Productive while Studying Online
1) Get familiar with how Moodle online platform works
It can be frustrating to learn how to use a new app or system. The best way to do it, rather than clicking random buttons and taking hours to learn on your own, is simple: just open the official Montanuniversität Leoben website and read about it! In addition, there is an app called Studo which will make your organization of the study process much easier.
2) Plan your day and make a to-do list
It`s very interesting that you only realize how important a daily routine is once you don’t have one imposed upon you. Having a plan keeps you on track and gives you a rough estimate on how much needs to be done, so you can arrange your time accordingly. However, be realistic - attempting to catch up on those five lectures you missed will be physically and emotionally draining, and you probably won’t retain much of the information by the end of the day. This is a lose-lose situation. I tend to write a to do list for each day, with consideration of due dates to prioritise what needs to get done first.
At the end of the day, make sure your tasks have been carried out, and if they haven't, put them back on your to-do list. Carry them out on the next day according to their priority, but try not to fall behind!
Another trick is to print out an outline of your assessments for the entire semester or trimester, so you can clearly see what needs to be done and when it’s due. That sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when you tick off your daily task is very rewarding.
4) Get out of your cave
One of the most important tricks to study at home for your online courses is making sure you get enough social time. You can go pretty stir crazy after not talking to anyone all day. Engage in online course discussions and build friendships with your classmates. Learn about their interests and meet for a hike, dinner, or project work with a coffee.
Get outside! Take a walk around the block, around the house, or even around the garden. Go for a run or do some workout! Personally, it helps me a lot! Absorb some vitamin D, breathe some fresh air, and feel a little bit of nature!
5) Make a playlist
Music is so powerful, particularly when it comes to productivity. The right playlist can make the difference between jamming out with your head in the clouds, and getting into flow state like the finely tuned study machine that you are. I find that music without words helps to sharpen my focus to the point where I easily lose track of time. However, never start to listen your favorite music! You can easily forget that you have to study and just sing all this time!
There are plenty of ambient sound playlists to find on Spotify - piano versions of pop ballads, lofi hip hop, even relaxing nature sounds, etc.
6) Remember that you aren’t on summer vacation yet!
If you’re traveling while studying online, your brain sometimes goes into vacation auto-mode and you start putting your focus on all of the fun instead of on all of the studying. Neither one is great, actually, so it’s all about finding the right balance between student and explorer!
It’s important to keep your educational goals in sight - whether you’re finishing university or moving along through Uni courses - there’s a greater reason for finishing university and finishing it well. Your diploma, your degree, or the new skill set you’re learning is going to open a lot of doors and potential for the future you’re working toward!
7) Take notes. No seriously, take notes.
As an online student, you’re probably watching the lecture on your computer. Don’t let the convenience of being able to rewind and play it again keep you from taking notes. In fact, ditch the laptop and grab the old pen and paper. Increase your focus and critical thinking taking notes by hand. Think through the most important points you hear and write them down, rather that typing out everything on a computer. You will remember the content better and create a greater connection to the course.
8) Create a designated study area
It is important to separate your studying and leisure spaces to avoid distractions. Your ideal studying area should be quiet, organized, free from distractions and comfortable: so avoid studying in your bed as you might be tempted to take a nap!
When studying from home, this means a dedicated study space. If possible it’s a room in the house that is set up specifically for that purpose and nothing else, but it can just as easily be a desk in your bedroom, or your kitchen table. What it shouldn’t be is your bed, or the couch you relax on at the end of the day. Your brain is a powerful thing and it’s already been conditioned to know that it can switch off in those two places.