With the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools moved to online school, utilizing Zoom and other virtual technology to teach students and give assessments. For students, this was a huge shift from life in the classroom to learning from the comfort of their own home. Now, with schools possibly going online for the fall semester, there may be an increased sense of anxiety and stress among students, especially for those who struggle with learning outside of the classroom.

That being said, there are many ways that you as a student can maximize your productivity and stay on top of your work this fall if your school moves to online learning.

1. Make a To-Do List Every Day – Get a sheet of paper, fancy notepad, or whatever list material you want to use and write down all of the tasks that you have to complete for each day. These can be as simple as “Make my bed” or “Do my homework,” but writing down everything you want to accomplish can really boost your productivity and inspire you to get things done. For me, I love highlighting something on my list when I’m done with it and find satisfaction in knowing that I completed a task during my day.

2. Make a Schedule of Your Day – Making a schedule of your day is a great way to keep yourself on task. I often find that a time-based schedule is the most effective way to keep me going throughout my day. Even when I was doing in-person classes, I always had a sticky note on my laptop where I would write out my day every morning before I started class. I would include what times my classes were, when I planned to eat meals, and what I planned to do in between and after classes. With online classes, try to assign time for fun things you can do from home in between classes like working out, baking, reading, or anything you enjoy. Prioritizing this time can help you make the most out of your day.

3. Get a Planner & Use It – I cannot stress enough how important and vital it is to have a planner of some kind. Whether it’s online style, notebook style, or whiteboard style, it’s essential to have something you can record all of your assignments, tests, and quizzes on. Personally, I have all 3 styles. I use Google Calendar (the absolute best online planner resource), a Day Designer planner, and a whiteboard calendar. All three calendars are all color-coded, with each class having a different color so I can differentiate what is due for each and when. I use Google Calendar as a time-based planner, which includes all the times of my classes and meetings. I carry my Day Designer planner around in my backpack because I also like to have a physical copy that I can look at. With my whiteboard calendar, I theme the calendar colors based on the month and add decorations to make it more fun. For example, I use red and green in December to label the numbers on each day and alternate colors when I cross out days.

NOTE: You do NOT have to buy three different types of planners. I only have all three because I am a perfectionist and enjoy color-coding and having a variety. As long as you have some type of system to keep up with your classes and assignments you should be able to maximize your productivity.

4. Get a Study Buddy/Accountability Partner – Having someone you can turn to for support and to keep you on track is a great way to maximize productivity. It may be helpful to find a person in your classes that you can study with and count on to remind you to do assignments on time. If you are in college or just starting college, it may also be beneficial to find someone within your major to hold you accountable in your studies.

5. Create a Comfortable and Designated Study Space – If you’re doing virtual classes from home, it may be helpful to create your own study space for attending online class, doing homework, and studying. This could be in your bedroom, kitchen, dining room, bonus room, etc. Anywhere that you will not be bothered and feel that you can be the most productive is the best option. Personally, I love doing schoolwork in coffee shops, but that is very hard to recreate at home. Even though I can’t physically go in a coffee shop, I grab a cup of coffee, sit at a smaller space in my house, and play a coffeehouse playlist on Spotify to create the atmosphere that I’m missing.