By Ifrah Mukhtar
And we meet again at Zoom university.
Before we get into the tips and tricks of keeping your mind sane for online school, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that this is hard. Many of us thrive in classroom environments and struggle to separate our beds from our desks. So, before we dive into what we should be doing, it’s okay to take a moment and understand that it’s challenging to shift online when you’re well-adjusted to life on campus.
What can we do to make our experience on Zoom more productive? Below are some tips that can help you stay focused… and sane. Some of the tips may be quite simple, whereas others require some extra effort. So, take as you please and know that everyone is navigating the semester in their own way.
Make your bed.
It’s easy to log in at 8:57 am on Zoom when class starts at 9 am, but it’s important to know that there are benefits to physically getting out of your bed and making it. First, you won’t be tempted to go back to sleep in your comfy warm sheets. Second, you’ll finish a task right in the morning which will help drive your momentum for the rest of the day. I could go on about the studies regarding the benefits of making your bed in the morning, but I’ll save you the research and simply say, it’s one step that drastically changes people’s attitudes towards their day. Try it out.
Separate your study and leisure space.
As mentioned above, your environment matters. Whether it’s a café or a library, we all have study spaces that make it easier for us to zone out on the world and zone in on our tasks. Being at home with our furry friends or roommates can become distracting. Creating a space away from common areas like your kitchen or living room can mentally elevate your study experience. For example, my kitchen and living room are common areas that always have my cat running around or someone cooking questionable recipes. As a result, I decided to purchase a desk alongside a comfortable chair to mimic a classroom setting.
Use the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro technique is an efficient way to help you focus. Simply put, you set your timer for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. You can customize how long you want to focus with the break time as well. Personally, I find it useful to go on YouTube and find a Pomodoro video where someone is studying for 45 minutes with a 5-minute break. There are hundreds of Pomodoro videos, and the best part is you have someone to study with during what feels like an isolated semester. Here is one of my favourite Pomodoro videos!
Your phone is not your friend.
With TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and countless other social media apps that can cause you to mindlessly scroll, it’s important to eliminate the root of the problem. We have all experienced moments where we were determined to get work done and focus but we started to scroll on Instagram or watch cat videos on TikTok and the next thing you know look up to find that it’s been 30 minutes. Save yourself the regret and put your phone away while you study. Your future self will thank you.
These are all the tips for now! I hope you were able to take away something and implement it into your daily routine. Remember this is a challenging and unpredictable time. It’s important to be kind to yourself while you adjust to a new method of learning. Best of luck this semester!