It’s the time of year where students will be getting their semester one timetables. Many students, if not all of them, will have a mixture of online and face-to-face classes. While it’s easy to stay focused when you’re in university, it is much harder at home as there are so many distractions. So, here are a few tips on how you can stay focused during your online lectures.
A quiet place – The first thing you’re going to need is a peaceful place within your house, especially if you’re living at home. It’ll be easier in student accommodation as you can simply stay in your room, if your flatmates are noisy then just let them know 10 minutes before your lecture that you need them to be quiet. If you are living at home then, again, your room may be the best place to do it. However, if it’s not then you need to find a place that is quiet, whether that’s your parent’s room or in the dining room. From experience, having younger siblings in the household means it is rarely quiet and it can be embarrassing to have your microphone on.
Turn your notifications off – If you want all your concentration to be on an online lecture, then make sure that all notifications are off. You are not going to be focused when you can see your friends sending you Snapchats, tagging you on Facebook posts or tweeting. Around 20 minutes before your lecture or seminar, put your phone on do not disturb so you have a moment to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
Eat beforehand – However, make sure that it is somewhat healthy food. Eat fat and sugar in small amounts or your focus will go down the drain. Try foods like fruit, vegetables or small portions of meat and fish (like a tuna or ham sandwich). Even if you have a 9 am lecture, make sure that you eat breakfast! While there are studies that prove and disprove that breakfast aids your concentration but it’s common sense that you definitely will not focus when your stomach is making whale noises and all you can think about is what’s in your snack cupboard.
Have a glass of water nearby – An article from Oxbridge Essays states that: “hormones and neurotransmitters are almost wholly dependent on water.” We need those to help our body function, so the brain can send messages through the body and that your body makes sure you’re paying attention. It does not have to be water, you can have a small caffeine drink. There is a keyword in the previous sentence; small. One cup of coffee or tea should do the trick and keep you focused. If you need more than one, make an iced coffee and drink that last so you don’t have to worry about it getting cold when you’re drinking your first.
Use earphones – Personally, I think it is much easier to pay attention when I have earphones in. When you play a lecture out of your device speakers, it merges with the sound in your environment so you may miss something important or get distracted by a louder sound. However, having earphones in helps cancel out any background noise and all you will hear is your lecturer speaking.
Read over notes – Sometimes when you are in a lecture, it takes a while for you to engross yourself in the subject and get in the mood for learning. So, around 15 minutes before your session starts, try reading through some of your study notes or a subject book. Alternatively, you can try listening to a podcast that is related to the subject you’re being taught. Similarily, you can listen to the previous lecture (if it is on your university website) to go over what happened in your previous session.