Quarantine Things: How to stay motivated during distance learning

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Students often struggle to stay motivated and organized during distance learning.

It has been 40 days since students set foot on Carlmont’s campus or into one of their favorite classrooms. 

The majority of schools have transitioned to distance learning; while the switch allows students to continue to learn and teachers continue to teach, it comes with difficulties.

Like many students right now, I struggle with doing my schoolwork. I wake up at 11 a.m., eat breakfast until 12 p.m. and then go back to bed to watch YouTube. Before I realize it, it’s 4 p.m. and I have yet to start my work. Without the strict schedule that school would normally entail, it is challenging to stay motivated and continue to learn.

After I spent a couple of days (or weeks) mindlessly scrolling through my phone and miraculously getting all my work in by 11:59 p.m., I realized that it was time to change my ways to make it feel more like school.

Here are five tips that I tested that helped me “get it together.”

  1. Get up and dress up

It may seem that the worst thing you can do in the morning is getting out of your soft, warm, and comfortable bed. However, it is necessary to do so if you are planning to get any work done. When it seems impossible to get out of bed, try giving yourself 15 minutes of screen time to wake up and catch up on the news. Just make sure those 15 minutes do not turn into 15 hours. 

Next, go through your normal morning routine. This tells your brain and body that it is time to get ready for some work. Going through that routine and putting on something other than pajamas would put you in a more focused mindset, making it easier to get started on work. 

  1. Those planners might be useful after all

Everyone at school has been telling me to use a planner since fifth grade, and I have successfully ignored those pleas up until now. When I open up Canvas and look at all of my daily assignments, it seems overwhelming and I usually close the tab and ignore it for as long as possible. 

That cycle of procrastination caused me to inevitably forget an assignment or two, so I decided to write them all down in a bulleted list. Writing everything down made me realize I don’t have as much work as I originally thought I did, and it allowed me to remember all my assignments and get them done on time. 

While it is helpful to write down “To-Do lists,” you can take it a step further and actually plan out the hours of the day. By doing so, you can maximize your efficiency and minimize the time you need to spend doing school work. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than crossing off an item after you did it.

  1. Take a break

Sometimes it feels like 24 hours is not enough to do all my work, but I still force myself to take breaks. According to Oxford Learning, study breaks can help reduce stress, increase focus, and help students retain information. Study breaks became a necessary part of my learning as I found that taking a short break actually helps me increase my productivity, which allows me to work faster. 

I like to follow the Pomodoro method, which consists of 25 minutes of work followed by a short break and a 20-minute break every four work intervals. 

  1. You need food to function

I noticed that sometimes I would look at the clock at 5 p.m. and realize that I have only eaten once throughout the day. Your digestive system, just like your brain, has some habits that help it supply your body with the energy that it needs to be able to function properly. 

Normally, that schedule includes three meals and some snacks. Eating healthy meals, whatever those mean for your body, helps to supply your brain with the energy and nutrients that it needs to function properly, which is necessary for any type of school-related activity. 

  1. Reward yourself

After a long day of work, it is important to take care of yourself and be proud of what you have accomplished. That reward can consist of anything from an hour on your phone to chatting with friends, or simply taking a bath. 

Although all those things may seem minor, they allow you some time to rewind and relax so that you do not feel burned out from all the work. On top of self-care, it is also important to recognize that whatever progress you have made in one day, even if it seems minor, is worth a reward because you are moving yourself do something new. 

Try taking some time to do the things that you love — or even try a new hobby — and do not forget to share your progress and excitement about them with others. 

Those were all the things that I found helpful in my quest to become more productive than a couch potato. Although they may not work for everyone, it is worth the time and effort to find what works for you. After all, it can be extremely rewarding to look back at all the great things that you have achieved.

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