MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Recent events due to the spread of COVID-19 have led students in Middlesex County to have to take their classes online, rather than attend school. The self-quarantining measures were put in place to minimize the spread of the contagious disease.
Many students may find it hard to adjust to taking online classes. It can be difficult to find distraction-free environments in which they can work at home. And working on a personal computer, with distractions galore, can be easier said than done. Here are some strategies that students can use to stay on-track during these uncertain times.
Use an Agenda.
Students already use agendas for writing down the day’s homework and giving themselves reminders about upcoming assignments, but they can actually help a lot with time management. Setting a schedule for the day gives you a specific set of goals to achieve, and can prevent work from becoming too overwhelming. Creating daily tasks instead of trying to tackle all of your work as well makes things much more doable, and stops you from overworking yourself trying to get everything done at once.
Study in Short Bursts.
Studying for hours on end may seem like the way to make sure that information sticks, but in reality, it can cause your mind to wander. It can actually be more difficult to retain information if you study it for too long without any breaks. Ideally, you should take a ten-minute break every 40 to 50 minutes. A 2014 study conducted by the University of Toronto found that workers who follow this schedule while working are the most productive, rather than ones who work nonstop with few breaks.
Turn off Notifications.
When you’re working, getting notifications from your social media or a particularly active group chat can really take you out of it. It’s important to eliminate distractions while studying. It may be tempting to log onto Instagram or Twitter for a few minutes when you’re supposed to be working if you see a notification from one of those sites pop up on your screen. Set your phone or tablet to Do Not Disturb, or turn off notifications altogether on your computer.
Stay Healthy when You’re not Studying.
When working from home, it can be easy to fall into an unhealthy lifestyle. If you really want, you don’t have to leave the house. But lazing around in your spare time will actually worsen your studying ability. Exercising improves memory and brain function, making it the ideal way to spend a study break. And don’t think you have to do a rigorous Cross-Fit routine every day to see the effects, either - just taking a 30-45 minute walk three times a week is enough to get more energy for studying. It’s also important to get eight hours of sleep every night. Working on only a few hours of sleep isn’t easy, and it’s difficult to remember things if you’re tired while studying. Take advantage of your newly-homebound state and get a good night’s sleep every night.
If All Else Fails, Use Apps.
There are many online apps out there for people who need help with time management during studying. To-do list apps like Remember the Milk and 2Do help with agenda-setting, providing on-screen reminders about what you should get done for the day and letting you sort tasks by priority. myHomework Student Planner is another highly-rated app, aimed at students of all ages from middle school to college. You can track assignments on a calendar, and it gives students notifications for when they are due. And if you find that you are having trouble staying off of distracting websites, there are a plethora of distraction-blocking apps available to keep you off the Internet while you work. If you use Google Chrome, StayFocusd is a free extension that restricts your access to distracting websites. Other popular apps are SelfControl for Macs, and Anti-Social for Mac, Windows, and Android.