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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Eagle

Five virtual learning study tips to keep you on track

How to stay focused in the new normal of working from home

 Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on, a separate website created by Eagle staff at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020. Articles from that website have been migrated to The Eagle’s main site and backdated with the dates they were originally published in order to allow readers to access them more easily.

With Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate replacing face-to-face class meetings, it can be hard not to fall down a social media rabbit hole instead of reading your textbooks. As we ease into the world of virtual learning, here are some tips that can help you focus while working from home.

1. Don’t sleep the day away

There is definitely no need to wake up as early as you may have for your early morning classes or your internship downtown, but keeping some sort of schedule may help you stay more motivated. Take time to eat a healthy breakfast and get yourself situated instead of your normal routine (which if it’s anything like mine, means grabbing a granola bar and speeding out the door). Of course, it’s understandable to sleep in on certain days, but try not to sleep in until 2 p.m. every day so you can be well-rested and productive.

2. Write a to-do list for your day

Prioritizing your work is always important, but it is especially important to do so when working from home. Some classes have eliminated face-to-face meeting times, which creates new blocks in your day where you no longer have a scheduled plan. Creating a plan for your day allows you to focus on your nearest deadlines and complete extra work your professors may be giving you instead of face-to-face meetings.

3. Put your phone away

With all this time at home, it’s tempting to spend hours upon hours on our phones. When you’re in a virtual class, do yourself a favor and put your phone away as you would in a regular class. It’s hard to concentrate on your class if you’re constantly checking your notifications. If you’re self-isolating with roommates or family members during this time, you can even ask them to hide your phone for you for a couple of hours so you’re not tempted to go looking for it.

4. Take breaks

Taking study breaks is important; you will go crazy if you do work for 10 hours straight. According to TIME, data from productivity app DeskTime has shown that the most productive workers engage in job-related tasks for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes. If you can’t trust yourself to get back to work after taking a break, set a timer.

5. Change your study spot throughout the day

It can be tough to adjust to no longer having a bunch of buildings on campus to switch between throughout the day. Do what you can to change your scenery throughout the day by switching which area of your home you are studying in. Even just switching the chair you are sitting in at your kitchen table could make you feel like you’ve had a change of scenery. If the weather is nice, reading your textbook outside could be a refreshing change. Also, find out the study spots that don’t work for you. If you can’t do homework in your bed without wanting to fall asleep, find a new place to do your work.

Above anything else, check in on your mental health during this unprecedented time. It’s natural to feel stressed and uncertain. Remember that your mental health comes before your grades. If possible, see how the new pass/fail policy can work for you. If you need time to process what is going on in the world right now, take the time to do so. Do your best to stay on track and success should follow.

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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