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May 11, 2020 by

Like nearly all other schools, Cedarville University moved to online learning to finish our spring 2020 semester. As someone who was constantly busy and always had so many things to do, this transition was very difficult for me. 

The first few weeks of being back in my childhood home were hard because I was not motivated to do work, and I also was overwhelmed with learning how to adapt to the change that came with online learning. I didn’t even know where to begin! If you felt this way, you are not alone!

After a few weeks of struggling, I decided it was time to buckle down and force myself to create strategies that would help me finish the year strong. I thought I would share a few tips that I have found to help me persevere!

(1) Have an organized workspace.

Maybe this is easy for you, but my little sister stole (maybe that is a harsh word, but even though I am not at home doesn’t mean she automatically gets my things, 😉 right????) my desk while I was away, making finding a study spot difficult. After a few weeks of trying to do my homework at the kitchen table or in my bed, I decided I needed to try something else. I found a folding table from downstairs and transformed it into a desk. 

After I found a desk, I still had all my books piled high and it was just as hard to work as before. I realized that I needed to organize and make this space into a real workspace. This has made the biggest difference when it comes to concentrating on doing my work. 

If you do not have a space like this, I encourage you to be creative and find a place that you can solely devote to doing schoolwork. You can see my work space in the picture above. 

(2) Plan out your day using a calendar.

I love calendars and living an organized life. When all of my events and appointments were canceled, I had no structure in my life. I would wake up and think about doing homework, reading my Bible, and working out but I would not have an assigned time in my day to do these things. Because of this, I would only do the things I felt like doing, which was not a lot. 🙂

I hated this feeling so I decided that I needed to make a schedule. I pulled out my handy-dandy Google calendar and started filling it with tasks. I designated time to work out and I designated time to read my Bible. I also started planning hours for my specific assignments as well as phone call dates with my friends. When I started implementing this, it gave my day more structure. It also released stress from thinking of all the things I needed to get done because I knew that I had already set aside time to do it.

(3) Brainstorm fun ways to organize all your tasks.

Do you have a ton of homework assignments, chores, and extra projects you want to do? That is where I was at, am at, and will be at until the end of the year and maybe for the rest of my life :). It just seems that there is always another thing to do!

I found that if I put all my tasks on little sticky notes, I feel more accomplished when I complete one of the tasks. I also work harder to see all the sticky notes disappear. I’d encourage you to think of a way to display your tasks so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment when you take it down, cross it off, or throw it away. 

(4) Reward yourself when accomplishing a task.

I know that we are not children, but rewards are still fun! Looking for motivation for things that you do not want to do is so hard. But it is not as hard if you know that you will be rewarded when it is accomplished! 🙂

Examples of rewards that I have found to be helpful are food (of course), time with my family, watching a Netflix show, and going on a walk. When I am working on a task, I work harder if I know I will get to do one of the things that I listed.

What are things that would drive you to get more work done? Consider setting them as rewards for finishing your work.

(5) Talk to others.

I know that I continue to see jokes that are saying this time of quarantine is ”introvert heaven”, but I’d have to disagree. We were made for community, which is something that the Bible promotes, as well as Cedarville! With this community mindset instilled in me, I have missed talking with friends and having conversations that were encouraging. 

I was expressing this to someone that I trust, and she challenged me to schedule specific times each week to talk to people. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of this myself! This is another thing I use as a reward and I look forward to structured time to talk to my family and friends. You can see the picture of my great-grandma, whom I call every Wednesday. Calling people at the same time every week keeps me accountable for encouraging them and checking up on how they are doing. This has allowed me to be a better student by finding the balance of community and schoolwork, which is important. I cherish these conversations and look forward to the day that we will get to have them face-to-face again.

I hope that one or more of these tips can help you as we all navigate being online students. This is a different time, but I am thankful that I have the opportunity to continue my education at Cedarville University! I want to finish this year strong! I encourage you to do the same.

Until next time!

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