10 Tips to Overcoming the Challenges of Online Schooling
Online school is a challenge. Now, online schooling during a global pandemic is a whole different thing. I give a lot of credit to all of the students, parents, teachers, and faculty out there who have been working so hard during these crazy times. I hope that my advice both here and in my book can give a little peace of mind and ease your stresses by helping you develop the habits and behaviors it takes to triumph over the obstacles you face in your day-to-day.
In this short blog, let's look at 10 different tips that you can implement in your daily life to crush your online schooling (or work)!
#1: Write, Plan, and Rank your Deliverables
Ever feel like you have too much to do and you aren’t able to get it all done? We’ve all been there. Especially in college or work, there are some weeks where you have a ton of “deliverables”. My advice? Give yourself some peace of mind and write it out- I personally like to write down my assignments that need done each day on a sticky note.
- Write down what you have to do
- Plan out when you will have time to do them
- Rank them on their importance and urgency of when they need to get done by.
#2: Use a Calendar to Organize Tasks/Events
Organization fuels efficiency. One of the best ways to organize all the things you have to do in your day to day is add everything into your calendar. You can use the calendar in your phone- which is what I do. You can integrate multiple things into your calendar- from the week’s homework assignments to work meetings, and it can all be stored in one central location right in your pocket.
- Use Google Calendar (or comparable tool)
- Calendly is a helpful way to allow people to put meetings on your calendar
- Set up a widget on your phone's home screen if you can
#3: Break the Cycle if you are Feeling Burnt Out
When you are working and studying online and from home all the time, it can be easy to get burnt out. The rigorous workload combined with the repetitive structure of academic classes can be the no-so-perfect formula to make your motivation fizzle out. Here are some ways that you can break the cycle!
- Change the location that you are working in or studying in
- Buy yourself something new & nice for your workspace
- Listen to a new playlist in the background
- Take your meetings/classes from outside (if it's nice out)
#4: Organize/Optimize your Phone
Your phone can either be your biggest asset or your biggest liability when it comes to your efficiency and focus. That is determined by how you choose to use it! The ever-expanding capabilities of smartphones give us either the power of productivity or a major source of procrastination. Here are some ways that you can set your phone up to be optimized for productivity:
- Get rid of apps you don't use/need
- Arrange your phones interface so that it is clean/organized
- Set usage caps on certain apps
- Organize similar apps into groups based on importance
#5: Create At Least One Thing Every Week
Creativity comes really easy to some, but if you are like me, it can often be a challenge, especially being creative on the spot. However, whether or not this comes naturally to you, this process of "creating" can help you think clearer, regain motivation, or help you reduce stress.
Here are some fun ways you can create things this week:
- Cook/Bake something unique or from a different culture
- Designing/Drawing a logo using only your initials
- Making a slideshow of photos from your favorite places
- Making a Zen Garden for your desk with sand and wood
#6: Make Sure you Take Time for Yourself
Life is known for throwing curveballs. We all feel overwhelmed sometimes, and it seems like lately it has been harder than usually. So please don't push off your mental health - take ample time for yourself. Make sure that you give yourself time each week to do whatever you are in the mood to do. That way, you give yourself some well-deserved rest. Here are some fun ways (quarantine edition) to take some time for yourself:
- Sip some hot cocoa and watch a movie
- Go for a hike with friends or on your own
- Read a book by the fireplace (YouTube fireplace will work)
- Do a puzzle or a board game with friends
As you take time to relax, reflect on why you are doing what you do, let that mission drive you to stay hungry and get back to work with more ferocity than you had before.
#7: Make a Dream Wall
I know this might seem cliché, but it is important. Everyone has goals, aspirations, and dreams. A great way to work towards those things is to start by visualizing them. Dedicate one wall of your room/space to the things you want to achieve. If you want to get into graduate school at Harvard Medical, put a picture of the building right in front of your desk. Next to that picture, put a whiteboard with the steps you need to take that week, month, or year in order to get you there.
- Don’t discredit your aspirations based on what people say to you or the things you hear about the challenges.
- Know that your goals are your own. If you try to make them grow in the eye of the public, it will be hard to fulfill them.
- If you cultivate them in your own environment, your faith and motivation are drivers for your success.
- Start by being open with what you want and putting it in your vision every day, right on the wall.
#8: Keep a Notebook Next to your Bed
You never know when that brilliant idea is going to come to you, so make sure you are always prepared to write it down when it hits you! It is helpful to have a notebook close to your bed so that when you think of that solution to your problem earlier that day, you’ll be able to make a note of it! Sometimes when I have trouble falling asleep, I think about what was on my mind that day and I take that opportunity to write down ideas for it since my mind is clear. I just use my phone’s notepad to write down ideas, here are some benefits to using that tool:
- I don’t have to turn on any lights
- You can write down your dreams so that you remember them when you wake up
- I am so busy during the day, my brain is not free to think about one topic in depth until I am falling asleep, so most of my better and innovative ideas come to me at that time.
This year is stressful. Even aside from this year, there will always be those days where you feel overwhelmed with how intimidating the big picture is. Sometimes it will seem like you have too much work and not enough time to do it. All of this is natural, so it is useful to learn to not worry about these things too much. How? One great way to develop this skill is to meditate regularly. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to light incense and buy some special bowl to make noises. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to yourself between classes/meetings to empty your mind of any thoughts.
- Just as it is important to get your brain “warmed up” in many cases, it is equally as important to make sure you give your brain the chance to “cool down” as well.
- It is too easy to get burnt out in the rigorous college or work environment, so try to make sure you are always taking care of yourself!
- I like to make the habit of spending at least ten minutes meditating each evening after I finish my work. It doesn’t matter if I am stressed that day or not, I just enjoy taking that time to reset and have a sort of mental refresher.
#10: Turn off Notifications
A great way to make yourself more efficient and make your life seem less stressful is to turn off most of your post notifications. Keep on the necessary ones like phone calls, but other than that, most notifications aren’t really detrimental. Have you ever checked your phone when you are doing something, realize you have tons of notifications, but can’t check them since you are in the middle of something? That can be quite distracting and sometimes stress-inducing.
- Takes less than a week to grow accustomed to not having notifications on.
- Helps you get more peace of mind
- I will say that shutting off most notifications will make you more difficult to reach besides text and call, so your friends might get annoyed at first
- It might help you to adopt this tip only during the most stressful and busy parts of your year, maybe just a the beginning of the semester, during exam season, or if you are starting a new job
I hope you enjoyed these quick tips! Send me an email or comment with what you would like some advice on in your life, whatever it might be. If you know someone who would benefit from this content, send them the link and have them subscribe!