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How to Cultivate A Personal Schedule for Distance Learning

This semester is different in more ways than one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be productive. While there may be a pandemic surrounding us, school hasn’t paused. I have found that the best way to make sure I don’t go insane in my house is by maintaining a schedule. No one’s schedule will be the same, but that is the fun part! You can play around and see what works for you! However, there are some things we need to keep in mind while cultivating our perfect day. 

1. Avoid rigidity 

Whether you are living at home or in an apartment with some of your friends, there will always be something that will deviate you from your schedule, and that is NORMAL! We feel guilty for not following our schedule to the T, and that’s most often because our schedule is too rigid. You can’t try to control every minute of every day. Make sure each of your tasks has some buffer time, add in breaks, and give yourself ample amounts of time for lunch and snacks. 

2. Find Ways to Focus

When you do finally sit down to start studying, it is vital to make sure your study area is not full of distractions. This may be hard, but here are some tips:

  • Keep your phone in another room
  • Instead of having upbeat and loud songs in the background, try to put on some instrumental songs to calm your nerves and help you focus on your work instead of your music. 
  • Close your door and kindly ask your family or friends to not disturb you for a certain time period 

Personally, I always struggle to keep myself accountable and end up down a rabbit hole on YouTube. What works for me is having a Zoom call with some of my friends and having everyone on mute. This way we can’t talk to each other, but we can tell when someone isn’t doing their work. I also feel motivated to work when I see other people working. The key to this idea is not spending time talking to each other or getting distracted! 

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3. Have your desk necessities 

One thing that annoys me to no end is having to constantly get up to get materials. Not only does it waste time, but it also is a easy way for me to lie down on the couch, start talking with a family member, etc. That’s why I have made sure that every time I sit down to study, I have all my materials within arms reach. Some of my necessities include:

  • Water bottle
  • Headphones
  • Chargers
  • Notebooks/ writing utensils 
  • My planner

4. Be strategic 

It is important to make sure you are planning out your day in a way that ensures at least the important work gets done. Try starting your day off with a priority list, and getting the hardest parts done first! Then, look at what class is the hardest or stressing you out the most. Doing your work in this fashion makes sure that you put your energy into the harder parts first, and as you start losing energy throughout the day, you are doing some of the easier work.

Another strategy is to make sure your location is intentional, sometimes working at the same place every single day can get miserable. Try to switch it up by working on your kitchen counter, your patio/deck, or your living room. Make sure these places are not too distracting, but it never hurts to change up your location! 

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5. Have a wholesome day 

Lastly, make sure your entire day is not revolving around school. Holistic well-being is necessary! While school is important, it is even more important to have some well deserved time off, especially during a global pandemic. Here are some fun activities you can incorporate into your everyday routine:

  • A workout
  • A walk (a great way to get some fresh air while still being safe!)
  • Cooking 
  • Watching shows at night
  • Adult coloring books
  • Journaling
  • FaceTime/video call your friends!

This semester may look different, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with it! Creating your own schedule is so much fun, and sticking to it will ensure that you have an effective and productive day. 

Shabrina Parikh

George Mason University '21

Hi! My name is Shabrina, and I am a senior majoring in Information Systems and Operations Management. When I am not busy in my RA role, you can find me giving campus tours. I aspire to one day change the world with my words, and make a difference in my own little way.
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