One of the most important parts of your online education is your home study environment. And while everyone’s living situations are unique, there are some basic tips you can follow to help set yourself up for success.
First, create a dedicated space for your schoolwork and studying.
Whether you have a dedicated office space or are repurposing a main living area, be sure the location can be quiet, organized and distraction-free. While you are studying or completing your classwork, consider turning off your phone and logging off social media. You’ll also need to make sure you have access to the area whenever needed and that you have a strong internet connection.
Make sure your space has ample lighting during your studying time. Working on a bright screen can strain your eyes. Add a good lamp to the area and if you have an opportunity, choose a study space near natural lighting.
In addition to organization and lighting, it is imperative to create an ergonomically friendly environment. If you are using a laptop, you may want to invest in an external keyboard and mouse if it is feasible. This will allow you to prop the laptop up to the proper height. If the laptop is on your lap or table, tilt it back slightly so you do not have to strain forward to view your screen.
For those using desktops, evaluate and adjust the height of your monitor so that the top of the monitor is level with your eyes. If you have reading glasses, you should lower the monitor between one to three inches depending on preference so that you are not constantly rotating your neck up and down throughout the day.
Another common mistake people make is sitting too close to the monitor. Keep your monitor at least arm’s length from you and don’t keep your keypad too high. Your computer keyboard should allow your arms to bend at about 90 degrees between your elbow and forearm. Loosen your wrists and make sure you are not leaning on anything for support.
Now that your learning environment is in order, set a strict study schedule for yourself. Carve out a specific chunk of time on a consistent schedule, during the hours where you can be the most dedicated and distraction free. Set a timer to give yourself a strict cutoff time. Buy a daily planner (digital or paper work). Prioritize your daily and weekly tasks at the start of each week.
Having a productive workspace and a solid understanding and application of time management will help you succeed not only in the classroom, but in your career and personal life, as well.