A geek’s guide to online school

Due to the pandemic stay-at-home orders, students have been in online school for two weeks. This situation is beginning to feel less temporary and more normal as each day continues, and we have a few more weeks of online school to go. As the friendly neighborhood nerd, it was my duty to find a way to stay motivated during online school. 

The first step, and arguably most important toward motivation, is to make a daily schedule. This has helped me immensely; finding a sliver of normalcy in everyday life has been a key factor in staying motivated. I built my schedule around the normal school day – starting at 8:20 a.m. and ending at 3:35 p.m. with an hour-long “block lunch” break. I also take short breaks when I begin to feel some mental fatigue from looking at a screen for long periods – these breaks have been incredibly helpful to keep me focused. I also plan out what I want to do before and after “school time” to keep some semblance of what life was a month ago. 

The second tip may seem silly, but making my bed has helped me get motivated to get to work. Getting out of bed and immediately making it starts out my day in a productive manner. Don’t do school work in bed either. The brain associates the bed with sleep, so the act of getting in bed helps cue the body that it’s time to wind down. This same mental link can limit productivity when doing schoolwork in bed. So get up, make the bed and find a different place to work.

Don’t forget to have some leisure time during the day. Spending five hours per day on social media can be fun, but it still exhausts a person’s brain because it cannot differentiate that social media is not work while online assignments are work. Maybe try a new artistic hobby like painting or playing an instrument. Try reading a book or starting a new show.

Last, but definitely not least, take some time to move around. All of us have been spending much more time inside, so going for a run or walk can be refreshing. Playing catch with a family member ensures the six feet apart rule, but also allows for some fun. Soaking in some vitamin D during a break from schoolwork can be very beneficial and most likely will increase productivity.

Do with these tips what you will. These unprecedented circumstances can be scary, but making the most out of the time we have at home will make life feel less out of control. Taking some time to do some self-reflecting will hopefully make us even more grateful when things go back to normal.