Schools around the world are reopening. But for many, it certainly won’t be opening up in the way we expected. Even though the first day will be at a distance, there are still steps you can take to make sure you stay efficient, enjoy the process, and avoid burnout. Here are some we’ve compiled:
- Set a schedule and stick to it! This not only includes keeping track of class schedules, but dedicating time to study, rest, and explore hobbies. Using a calendar or planner can help a lot with this. Productivity software that’s easily accessible online and on mobile, like Trello, which I personally recommend, is also suited to this!
- Make sure you have all your materials with you ahead of class time. That way you don’t have to hunt for them during class. You’ll probably want to avoid scrambling for a pen on-camera.
- Be aware of the resources you can use to review, like Fiveable and Khan Academy.
- Find a separate space to study/attend classes that you can avoid distractions in. Psychologically speaking, it’s not the best idea to study in bed – working in a place you mentally associate with sleep can cause lethargy and lack of focus, in addition to difficulty going to sleep.
- Experiment with different time management strategies like the Pomodoro Technique or planning around the ultradian rhythm.
- Maintain a regimen similar to when you were going to school in person. Eating a full breakfast, getting dressed, and going through whatever your typical morning routine may have been will help you mentally prepare.
- Put your phone in a separate room. You’d be surprised how much proximity alone may affect your screen time!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Even if you feel anxious being on-screen/talking, it’s much easier to control an interaction like an email or a private chat in Zoom/Webex.
- Use this opportunity to connect with people – oftentimes some of us are scared to meet in person, but many obstacles associated with that don’t accompany remote/virtual interaction.
- Some students recommend the rule of 2s for review – after you take your class, review the material for 2 hours. Then review in 2 days, again in 2 weeks, and so on.
- Stay consistent with the resources and routine you’ve employed.
- Take breaks when you’re constantly working with screens. I try to abide by the 20-20-20 rule: look away every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. In short, stare at a tree every once in a while – it helps!
- According to optometrist Gary Heiting, “When you’re looking at computer screens and other digital devices that emit significant amounts of blue light, this unfocused visual “noise” reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.” Inevitably, we’ll all be using devices much more than usual, so to reduce your blue light exposure, you can adjust the display/brightness settings on your devices to a warmer color. Many devices have a blue light filter option, like Night Shift for iPhone or the blue light filter for Samsung.
- Social distancing does not mean complete social isolation for everyone; call or video chat with your friends!
- To that end, set up study groups with your peers – it compensates for not being able to talk to your classmates during class and increases motivation to study. In addition, scheduling certain times to study with your peers counters procrastination, which we’re all much more prone to during a time like this.