10 Super Helpful Tips for Taking Online Classes and Staying Motivated

Are you struggling with online classes or feeling unmotivated to get work done? These are feelings that all online students face at some point, so I just want you to know that you are not alone and what you currently feel is normal. Because of the quarantine, students worldwide have been forced to take online classes for the rest of the school year. As a student myself, I have also gone through the rollercoaster of being lazy at some points of the day and then having a sudden burst of productivity. You should also realize that the feeling of being unmotivated is temporary. There are ways to overcome it. Throughout the past few weeks of online learning, I’ve picked up on a few tips for taking online classes and staying motivated. Let me share them with you! 🙂

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Here are 10 Super Helpful Tips for Taking Online Classes and Staying Motivated:

1) Wear blue light blocking glasses.

Wear blue light blocking glasses to minimize eye strain from looking at the computer for long periods of time. This is great for getting rid of dry or twitchy eyes as a result of the computer brightness. As students, we need to be smart about how we study. The last thing we want is to ruin our eyes because of online classes. I’ve been wearing these blue light blocking glasses for over a month now and they are AMAZING. I bought them when I noticed my eyes were getting dry, and I was getting frequent headaches. Now, I’m able to use my laptop for hours without developing these symptoms. I highly recommend that you purchase these blue light blocking glasses from Amazon! They come in multiple designs and a pack of 2 so you can give one to a friend or relative. Or you can keep them both for yourself :).

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2) Plan your weekly and daily tasks ahead of time.

At the start of the week, plan your workload for each day on a calendar or planner. Once that day arrives, create a separate checklist with times assigned for each task. Setting a schedule for yourself ahead of time will keep you organized and held accountable. Avoiding procrastination and staying on top of your work will also free up more time for you to have fun, watch Netflix, or pursue other hobbies. Here’s what I do:

Using Google Docs, I created a calendar where I include all of my exams (bolded in red), assignment due dates (bolded in black), and tasks for the day (bullet points). Each class is highlighted a different color. At the end of the day or when I finish all my tasks, I highlight the entire box pink. On Sundays, I like to type out what I plan to do for each class on each day of that particular week. The reason why I use Google Docs to plan all my work is because it’s easy to edit and move things around.

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In the morning, the first thing I do is look at my calendar and see what I need to get done for the day. I copy and paste my tasks for the day onto Google Keep and assign times for when I’m going to do each task. This keeps my day scheduled and organized. Here’s an example for April 21:

3) Actually attend your online classes and don’t just podcast.

Being present is beneficial because you can ask your professors questions on the spot. You can also engage with your classmates and meet people to form study groups! Not to mention, attending lecture is a great way to just get personal interaction during the lonely times of self isolation.

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4) Utilize your professor’s and TA’s online office hours.

If you’re too shy to ask questions in class (I know I am!), attend office hours. As an online tutor, I know firsthand that teaching online is challenging! Your professors may not be as clear during lecture because of this transition. During office hours, there will be fewer students, so you can ask your questions and get answers right away. Personally, I like to attend my TA’s office hours because they are the ones grading tests, so they’ll tell you what to look out for.


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5) Have designated times for meals and breaks.

If you don’t take breaks between working and classes throughout the day, you may end up burning yourself out. Even if your break is eating lunch, make sure to have some time to relax your brain. These breaks aren’t meant to be long- maybe 15-30 minutes of break depending on how long you worked beforehand.

6) Form study groups.

In case you don’t know anyone in your class, you could use the Zoom chat feature to privately message other students who ask questions during lecture. Tell them that you had the same question and ask if they wanted to form a study group in case you both need help with future assignments. If your classes uses Zoom’s breakout room feature, you could also ask the students in your group.

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7) Have “me time” or a self care day.

This is completely different from breaks in between working. After finishing your daily tasks, don’t do more work! Do something that you find fun! If you’re feeling super unmotivated while working, it’s okay to stop working for a bit and dedicate that time for self care. Don’t waste your time being unproductive. Intentionally scheduling “me time” or a self care day is a great way to stay motivated.

8) Reach out to friends.

Sometimes, staying motivating can be tough even when you’ve tried relaxing. In these cases, one of the best thing to do is vent out how you feel to friends. They can provide you some words of encouragement to keep you going. Even if you’re not feeling unmotivated, it’s also important to check up to see how your friends are doing. Suggest having a Facetime study call to make studying fun and to help keep you guys accountable!

9) Avoid Cheating.

Because everything is online, it’s way easier to cheat. I’m not about to give you a lecture on integrity because you are old and wise enough to make your own choices. What I will say is outright relying on cheating to get a good grade does not work in the end. First off, most tests are timed and proctored through Zoom video. Also, school websites like Canvas can track if you exit the screen. On the day of the exam, it’s less stressful to know everything you need to know and take the test without cheating. When you cheat, half of your brain is trying to make sure you’re not getting caught. You won’t be as focused and most likely won’t do as well.


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10) Just do it.

When you have deadlines coming up but are still feeling unmotivated, sometimes you just have to suck it up, sit down, and just work. Once you start working, you’ll start to forget about those feelings of unmotivation.

Did these tips help you? What do you do to stay afloat through online classes? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading, and good luck studying!

blaze ann

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Are you struggling with online classes or feeling unmotivated to get work done? Read this post to learn about super helpful 10 tips for taking online classes and staying motivated. I'm also giving away a FREE customizable calendar for the quarter or semester that will keep you organized.