Virtual learning: how to stay productive in 2021

This year has bought unprecedented challenges for university students. Through multiple lockdowns, tough restrictions, and limited access to campus facilities, we are still, however, expected to produce the same quality of work.

If you lack in motivation this new year, we’ve got you covered. Here are five simple tips that you can use to stay on top of your assignments and boost productivity while working from home.

1. Make daily to-do lists

Ah, the to-do list. Although they can seem quite intimidating at first, especially if you have quite many tasks that need accomplishing, to-do lists are often the key to productivity.

Some might like to plan their entire week in advance, others might prefer to plan on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, but remember this: planning is often the key to productivity!

We suggest keeping daily to-lists small and manageable so that the prospect of completing one isn’t too overwhelming. To-do lists are also best written down – the feeling of putting a big cross through a task really is second to none!

2. Lock your phone during study sessions

We all know how easy it is to become distracted by your phone while trying to be productive. The group chat might be kicking off while you’re trying to get your assignment done, but it can definitely wait an extra hour.

There are several apps and browser extensions designed to help you stay focused. Forest is our top recommendation – it can easily be downloaded onto your phone or laptop through a Google Chrome extension and you won’t regret it.

A more simple method of reducing your social media screen time would be simply putting your phone on silent and moving it to somewhere you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say!

3. Get outdoors!

Going outside is probably not on the top of everyone’s priority list at the moment. It’s January, it’s cold, and the rain just keeps on coming. However, it’s amazing how much getting some fresh air can affect your productivity.

Whether it’s for five minutes, 30 minutes or an hour, going for a quick walk or a leisurely jog will to help clear your brain, ready to complete your next task.

If you really want to dedicate yourself to some daily exercise, why not try the Couch to 5K app. It’s free to use and is a great way for beginners to get into running.

4. Find the joy in the mundane

There’s a lot to not be happy about right now, and it may feel like every day is the same. While this may be partially true, now, more than ever, is a time to try to focus on the positives.

So, try and do something you love at least once a day. Whether that be exercising, cooking, or watching your favourite Netflix series, it’s important to keep focused the little joys of life.

Keeping something to look forward to at the forefront of your brain while completing university work will help you become more productive. Just don’t let an hour or two of watching Netflix turn into a whole day of it!

5. Be realistic with your goals

There is nothing worse for productivity than stressing yourself out about the volume of work that you need to do.

So, try to be organised and clever about what you do and when to keep on top of university assignments; find out which one’s are due first, and make those a priority.

Finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and your goals. We are in a global pandemic if you didn’t know by now, so obviously circumstances are going to be a little different compared to this time last year.

Most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself, and everything will turn out ok in the end.

Written by Jessica Goddard

Featured image credit: @siora18 – Unsplash

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