With online learning being a part of Ball State students’ daily routines, some students may have trouble concentrating, which can be incredibly time consuming. While adjusting to the new online schooling environment, consider these six tips to go about your school work efficiently and effectively by staying focused on the task at hand.

Work at a desk or table, not your bed. Get comfy at your desk or living room table to start your online school work to retain your focus and concentration. According to American College of Healthcare Sciences, doing school work while in the comfort of your bed limits focus and decreases productivity. Instead of laying amongst familiar pillows and blankets, find a study space that has good lighting and enough room for you to spread out and work.

Listen to motivating music. Turn to your favorite music-streaming platform, such as Spotify, YouTube or Apple Music, to find studying soundtracks. Playlists that consist of white noise and other background music can help improve your productivity. According to a Stanford Medicine study, listening to music engages areas of the brain involved in making predictions and can sharpen the brain’s ability to sustain attention. So, consider plugging in your headphones and queuing up a soundtrack that best fits your study environment. 

Have healthy snacks on standby. Rather than running to your kitchen every time you’re hungry, risking getting distracted by your family members and losing your motivation to work, keep a few snacks within your reach on your desk instead. According to NAU Canada Online, almonds, dark chocolate, popcorn, fruit salad, yogurt, veggies and homemade trail mix are all options to keep your mind sharp and boost your ability to focus as you work at home. 

Use apps to improve your productivity. To keep yourself from getting distracted, consider downloading apps on your phone or computer that limit your use on certain websites. Apps such as Forest: Stay Focused and Flora — Focus Habit Tracker encourage users to put down their phones by growing virtual gardens the longer the phone isn’t used. By downloading apps like these, your productivity at home increases, as they prevent social media or other websites from stealing your attention as you work. 

Take frequent breaks. While studying, giving your mind frequent breaks may help keep you concentrated on the task at hand. According to Oxford Learning, students should take short and regular breaks rather than long breaks because it is harder to get back into a studying mode. Take a 15-minute break to walk around your neighborhood or to stretch to regain focus. 

Keep a daily planner. Transitioning to online classes can be difficult, especially when it comes to keeping all of your assignments organized and turning them in on time. Without your professor helping you keep track of what is due, it can be easy to miss a due date completely. To make sure you don’t forget about any assignments, keep a daily planner where you write down your homework assignments, due dates and important projects and tests. This will not only keep you organized but also help you pace out your work so you don’t become too overwhelmed.