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University has now transferred to online platforms which is a major change for students around the world. While working from the comfort of your own home can be great, maintaining a productive schedule is challenging. Online courses give you the autonomy to work from your own schedule which is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, procrastination, lack of motivation and organization are all traps many fall prey to. It is also common for students to require homework and study destinations outside their home to ensure routine. For example, trips to the library and study dates with friends are things that have helped students manage heavy workloads. Studying in your own home can be extremely distracting and if your family is like mine, finding peace and quiet can be tough. However, if you  give yourself a productive schedule, and use the strategies that I’m about to give you, it is totally possible that your procrastination, lack of motivation and organization issues will improve. I know its always easier said than done, but buying some fun high lighters and new note books for your study sessions should bring you a little bit of excitement. 

I have gone through my fair share of online courses in the Spring and went through everything I listed above. The tips I’m sharing below will not only benefit your mental health but will bring you greater success in your overall academic performance.

You must create a routine 

If one thing is for sure, I cannot stand having a lack of routine. When there’s no routine there’s no organization and falling behind on deadlines can occur. You must force yourself to create a routine that caters to your lifestyle. In my case I find that waking up early allows me to plow through heavy workloads. I also enjoy knowing that by 12:00 pm I will have gotten hours worth of homework and studying done. This gives me more free time in a day to enjoy activities that I like. So please, make sure you set your alarms! You’ll hate me now but thank me later. I also recommend printing out a weekly calendar, or investing in a planner and recording due dates, zoom lecture times, and other important commitments. When you write things down it allows you to feel more organized and besides, who wants to flip through a 10 page syllabus every time you need to check a deadline. 

Invest in supplies that make you feel motivated to get work done 

I don’t know about you, but I love writing my notes with pretty pens and highlighters. There’s something that makes the note taking process so much more satisfying when the pen works beautifully. If having colourful note books makes you more motivated to study buy them! If drinking from a motivational coffee mug while studying brings you satisfaction buy one! You deserve to have the supplies to make you succeed and on the bright side they can all be purchased at the Dollar Store. 

Reward yourself  

Working for hours straight isn’t healthy for anyone. We need breaks and rewards to keep our brains from turning to mush! Fill up another cup of coffee or tea, make a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and treat yourself for all your hard work. I also find that taking a stretch break, or going on a walk allows me to clear my head. It can make a major difference and allow new ideas to flow into your brain.  

Set deadlines for yourself 

Its time to be strict with yourself and set some serious deadlines for your work, and no I don’t mean 11:59 the night an assignments due! Aim to complete your work a few days in advance. I recommend starting assignments at least 2 weeks prior to due dates. This allows you to have more time for thorough editing and and of course minimizes procrastination. If it helps, set reminders on your phone or write them down on your calendar. 

Take your sleep seriously 

Sleep is so crucial especially for your overall wellbeing and health. Lack of sleep can cause symptoms such as increased stress, irritability, lack of creativity and concentration. I remember when my body was on a terrible sleep schedule I couldn’t focus, and looking at any form of reading gave me a headache. When you give your body a better sleep schedule you will see major improvements in your school performance as well as mood. If you go to bed at 3 am slowly ween your self onto an earlier bed time. Eventually, you will be able to sleep at a realistic time.  

Fill your body with nutritious food 

They say you are what you eat which in some ways isn’t false. When all you eat is junk food you tend to feel pretty lousy. I know that eating healthy on a budget can be hard but there are so many way to maintain a healthy lifestyle without maxing your credit card. For example, foods such as brown rice, beans and legumes, frozen veggies, whole wheat bread, greek yogurt, oat meal, tuna and many more items are all affordable ways to eat nutirciously! Apps such as Budget Bytes and Tasty are great ways to come up with healthy, affordable meals. You can also take cook books out from the library or watch youtube videos if you’re more of a visual learner. 
Create a special study area

It’s time to create a space that when you sit down you feel serenity, peace and concentration. Find a space in your home, big or small and give it your own special flare. Depending on your budget you can buy a comfy chair, or extra bright light that keeps you alert!

Time to take action!

I hope that at least one of these tips can make a difference in your online university experience. Now is the perfect time to set yourself on that productive routine. So, get started I know you are fully capable!

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More Thrive Global on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis