How to Stay Productive While Distance Learning And Build A Space for Work

The Switch Up

It was a Sunday afternoon when I found out we would be transferring to virtual learning here in New York City. I was so excited. My friends and I shared the same sentiments of relief, thinking this would mean a lighter end to our senior year.

It was about the second week, while I was groggily signing into my 7 AM zoom conference, still in my pajamas, tucked in bed, I realized how wrong I had been. I missed routine, commute, and social interaction. It was difficult, the circumstance of virtual learning, but as I closed out my last year of high school and began my first college semester, I had figured out a few methods and practices boosted my motivation and productivity but also kept me sane. 

Boundaries Are A Must

I think the first thing I noticed was the lack of boundaries I had with work, school, and living. The three and my social life were a jumbled mess. I was pretty much slugging through the months. I had to first, if anything, set boundaries with the three. So that's the number one thing, if any, you should take from this article- create boundaries and separation between the professional, social, and personal aspects of your life. Sometimes the roles you play can intertwine but ensure that you can separate the three. 

Armed With A Planner

With our current virtual world it could seem daunting to organize and maintain these separate aspects of your life; that’s where a planner comes in. When I realized how I was struggling to meet deadlines, remember assignments, etc, I went and bought myself a planner (I prefer a physical notebook sized one, although a digital one could work just as well). A planner is just one of those necessities, school or not, essential to smoothly running your life, allowing you to schedule events, appointments, tasks and even errands.

You know what’s expected of each particular day allowing you to plan your time, commute, and even outfit accordingly. Some of the world's most recognized tech moguls, Elon Musk and Bill Gates are said to adhere to schedules divided into five minute intervals. Such intensive scheduling is all about boosting productivity; because one’s every hour is planned down to a tee, you are less likely to deviate to a quick Netflix break or an hour scrolling down your newsfeed. Unlike Musk or Gates, we don't (yet, if that’s your ultimate goal) run multi billion dollar operations but you can use your planner to prioritize and plan accordingly.

Use your planner to hatch out a schedule for each day, set specific deadlines for everything (assignments, self-care, workouts, etc) and have extra time left for yourself and your family. And if you need just a bit more push to get yourself a planner, it’s been found that using a planner (a physical one) not only makes you more productive and work faster but  lowers stress levels. 


Set Your Space for Success

Whether you live in a family home or an apartment- it's important for both you and your family to create a dedicated area to online learning and work: one, it helps you visualize and carry out the boundaries between work and living, as earlier mentioned, but also helps you to be more productive with fewer distractions. This area should be organized, clean, quiet, comfortable; it can be a transformed spare bedroom or a corner in a room. Wherever it is, it is specially designed for you to work.

Consider an area that affords you privacy (with a door preferably) to participate in your zoom conferences, take exams, or study. Allow space for a desk or table with complimenting storage for your materials, bright lighting to keep you awake, and good work chair. This is essentially all you need; a desk, chair, your technical device (laptop, desktop, Ipad, etc), storage bins to fit all of your supplies, a good lamp, and some of your basic school supplies (pens, looseleaf, binders, etc). Add some candles or a diffuser for some relaxing scents; lavender, citrus, pumpkin spice for the fall, etc. Shop the post below.



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