Ask Angel – Digital Distractions

How do I stay focused during online school? – Tired of zoom

Dear Tired of Zoom,

Staying focused in class at school was already difficult enough in certain classes and with the shift to a completely remote learning environment, the struggle has only grown. The mornings where you would typically be drowsy during the first period have been replaced with trying to keep your eyes open listening to a zoom call from your bed. When we went to school, we had to physically get dressed and go to class. That in itself helped us be more alert and ready to focus in class. The advice I have to focus during online classes is to try to make a routine for yourself, as we had in regular school. 

Classes start at 8:45 am, meaning you need to set an alarm to wake up at around 8 am to allow yourself time for a routine. If you are a morning showerer, take your shower before class, as that will wake you up and get you ready for your day. If you are not a morning showerer (like me), wake up and change out of your pyjamas. Putting on clothes that are not associated with sleep will provide you with the focused mindset you need for those painful 3 hours and 45 minutes of screentime. You must also include breakfast in those 45 minutes before class, as it does provide you with the energy needed. If you need to, go all out with your breakfast , cook something you are proud of, like some chocolate chip pancakes or some bacon, have some fun! Having fun will assure that you are woken up. If you drink coffee, make yourself your favourite one and put it in a cute mug. Fill up a water bottle for yourself so you can stay hydrated and drink water in class. 

Next, your workspace. The place where you listen in to a class plays an integral part as to how focused you are. If you have a desk available to you, take your call from there, as sitting  upright will truly differentiate your concentration level. I’ll be honest, I am guilty of taking my morning calls from my bed, but it has had grave consequences on how focused I am in class. The contrast of how much information I absorb from my teachers in comparison to when I am sitting at my desk is colossal. Do your best to leave your bed and sit at a table or desk instead. If you can work in a room where you are alone or have very few distractions, that is the best option. If you cannot control how often you pick up your phone, hide it from yourself, it’s hard to resist the temptation when you do not have a teacher nagging you to not be on your phone. In regular school, we did not need to have the same amount of self-regulation skills as we do now, their development is very important in life. Now is the perfect time to develop them!

Online classes have been a major struggle for all of us, and we deserve a pat on the back. However, a little routine you set up for yourself can make all the difference. Like everything new in life, you have to learn to adapt and make the most of it. Self-discipline is a critical skill that is developed over time, take advantage of online school to perfect it! The hardest part is initially implicating your routine, but in a few days, you will feel better than ever and way more focused. I hope Zoom becomes a little more bearable!