Without snow days or an official spring break this semester, it’s normal to feel disconnected as a student on Zoom. Work is piling up and procrastination seems more appealing than ever, but it is important to stay engaged and focused during online synchronous classes. Here are some tips and tricks to combat the quarantine-inspired work aversion.
Turn your phone off. We have all been there: five minutes into a two-hour lecture and all you can think about is refreshing your Instagram feed or watching some TikToks. That being said, it is best to keep your phone off or out of reach during class. Without the incessant buzz of notifications, you will not be tempted to continuously check it, therefore dragging your attention away from your professor. If turning your device off is too challenging, try limiting the use of social media or gaming apps by decreasing your screen time by using the controls in the settings app. Making these adjustments will take the fun out of phone breaks during class and ultimately help you stay focused.
Have a clear workspace. Whether you are working at a desk, kitchen table or on the floor, keep your workspace clear and neat. Even if the cleaning process simply involves closing the notebooks and textbooks not in-use and stashing away papers, it will help clear your mind and concentrate. Having your biology notebook open during your humanities seminar can cause you to feel scattered and disinterested.
Don’t multitask. This goes along with the previous point. Although procrastination is at an all-time high during quarantine, do not rush to finish other assignments during class time. Finishing your biology report while transcribing your humanities seminar will prove detrimental to both classes. Always try to be fully present while on Zoom. This means, when attending one class, don’t do work for another.
Handwrite your notes. Staring at a computer screen is harmful to both your eyes and your focus, especially since Netflix is a few clicks away at all times. When you can, handwrite your assignments, class notes and outlines. Not only will handwriting improve your memory and understanding of the material, but it also gives your mind a break from technology.
Keep your camera on. Although it can sometimes be inconvenient, try to keep your camera on during the entire Zoom session. Knowing that you can be seen by your professors serves as an incentive to pay attention without taking excessive phone or snack breaks. Seeing other students with their cameras on also helps simulate a semi-normal class environment, which promotes interactivity and focus.
These are trying times, but we can all survive another Zoom semester by following these tips. Since these may not be beneficial to everyone, it is important to develop and stick to your own good class and study habits.