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Staying focused during online classes can be really difficult. Especially when you have a lot going on, such as meetings, homework, test preparation, family time, and more. As a busy person who tends to reach for her phone whenever she becomes even slightly bored, I can relate. However, I really want to succeed this semester, and I bet you do too! Since paying attention for so many hours a day seems to be a struggle many of us are having, I’ve created a list of strategies for keeping our eyes on our computer screens– and the prize!

Keep Your Phone Out of Sight

Out of sight, out of mind. Your phone is probably what is distracting you most, so put it somewhere you can’t see or hear it while in class or during homework hours. Another smart idea would be to download a productivity app. I use Flora, which locks your phone for a set amount of time. This is perfect for forcing yourself to sit down and study! Plus, Flora vows to plant a tree for every completed session.

Turn off Your Computer Notifications

If you have a MacBook and an iPhone, odds are you get text messages, calls, calendar reminders and other notifications, on both devices. So, even if your phone is locked or on Do Not Disturb, you’ll still see some notifications on your laptop that will distract you from class. It might feel like this is not a big deal, but it is increasingly distracting.

Don’t Work From Bed

I’m guilty of this. It may be tempting to do your work, or even some classes, from your bed but it will likely cause you to feel more tired. If you feel tired during class you won’t be able to take notes, which will make studying harder! That’s not to say that working in bed doesn’t work for some people, but it’s not always the best idea. However, if you don’t own a desk or somewhere to sit up and work, a bed could be your only option and that doesn’t mean you won’t do great this semester! Just make sure to get a good night’s sleep every day though, because feeling energized during class will improve your focus.

Go Outside

I know it probably sounds weird that I’m telling you to abandon your homework to pay attention, but letting your brain relax will actually help you focus! I know from first-hand experience that this works. I’ve been feeling a little burnt out lately, and one day I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been outside for more than five minutes. So, I grabbed my sneakers and went for a run around the block! Those twenty minutes helped me get through the next few hours of meetings, classes, and homework.

Don’t Overdo It

It can be tempting to join a lot of clubs, especially when you go to a school where there are so many! But it’s also harmful to be in too many clubs because participating in them can be time-consuming. Only join the number of clubs that you can handle. You don’t want your extracurriculars to become a source of stress– they’re supposed to be fun.

Self Care

I think I’ve written this tip in every article I’ve ever written for Her Campus. You know why? Because it’s important to take care of yourself! School will take up a lot of your time and that’s how it should be for a successful student like you, but don’t forget to take time for yourself. Self-care is less complicated than it sounds– it doesn’t have to be a long bubble bath or a sheet mask. Making sure you take a shower, eat three meals a day, and do something that makes you smile are all forms of self-care. You can also drink your favorite cup of tea, watch a television show you love, or FaceTime a friend– these all work for me!

Online classes may not be ideal, but I hope these tips help you stay focused this semester! Hang in there, Jaspers!


Jilleen Barrett is a communication major with a minor in women's studies at Manhattan College. She is a member of various clubs, such as the school newspaper and Sigma Delta Tau. She loves running, baking, and going on bike rides around her neighborhood on Long Island. She is excited to be writing for HerCampus!
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