One of the main challenges of remote studying is staying productive and motivated despite not attending classes in person. Research suggests that remote students often struggle with procrastination and are more likely to burn out. But it’s totally possible to stay motivated and productive as long as you make the most out of productivity tips and find the right work-rest balance.
#1 Write To-Do Lists
The more things you have to do during the day, the more important to-do lists are to keep you motivated. First, they help one remember everything they have on their plate and stay focused. But they are also a fantastic way to see how far you’ve already come, which is very helpful whenever you feel overwhelmed.
With tons of assignments, papers to write, and extracurriculars, remote students need to-do lists the most. Otherwise, it’s easy to forget that you had to order essay to paperwriter.com, complete yet another reading, or email your professor to clarify the instructions.
People whose to-do lists vary depending on the day you should write them on the evening before. It’s best to go to bed with a clear understanding of what you have to do the next day so that you can plan everything out (unless this makes you stressed).
#2 Use Helpful Apps
Also, don’t sleep on productivity apps. They’re amazing when it comes to creating competent to-do lists, navigating plenty of various tasks, and staying motivated. Some of the great ones to try are:
- Notion is the most popular and probably the most multi-functional productivity app. It’s a good platform for writing to-do lists, dividing larger tasks into smaller and more doable ones, and effective prioritizing.
- Todoist is much simpler and more straightforward than Notion. It’s perfect for everyone who simply wants to up their game when it comes to creating to-do lists.
- Calendly is helpful for people who have a lot of things to schedule during the day, such as Zoom meetings and calls. The Basic Plan is free, and it’s more than enough for most.
- Finally, Forest is a somewhat weird app, but it works for a lot of people. It helps you stay focused and avoid being distracted by your phone. Plant a tree when you start writing an essay or reading a complicated article your professor assigned. If you fail to stay on task and take your phone to scroll on social media, your tree will die.
#3 Find the Productivity Technique that Works for You
A lot of students and busy employees claim productivity techniques have changed their lives. This can be true. Indeed, if you manage to stick to the Pomodoro technique, and it does help you stay focused on the task you’re working on, great. After all, that’s what productivity techniques exist for. And they do help a lot of people.
But don’t try to use the productivity technique your friend recommended despite seeing that it doesn’t seem to work for you. Find the one that does. For example, the Pomodoro technique is not a good idea for people who can stay focused for longer than 50 minutes.
If that’s the case for you, try splitting your workday or study session into intervals, one hour and a half to two hours long each. Then work on a specific task during each of the intervals and take longer breaks in between. Or find any other productivity technique that works for you. Don’t be afraid to try something that none of your friends has recommended.
#4 Plan Rest Too
You can’t go through a single day (or even study session) without proper rest. If you try to do everything you have to with no breaks, you’ll fail at basically every task. What’s more, sooner or later, your exhaustion will result in burnout, and you’ll have to put everything on pause.
To stay motivated and avoid burning out, spend your breaks well and find the types of rest that work for you. Here are a few options:
- walking your dog
- a YouTube workout
- dancing to your favorite song (for one of the shorter breaks during your study session)
- calling your best friend or family.
It’s always a good idea to spend one’s breaks actively, even more so if your day doesn’t include much physical activity otherwise. Find something that brings you joy and energizes you. And try to stay away from social media during your breaks. They’ll do nothing to make you feel recharged.
#5 Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. As discussed, burnout is a real thing. And it’s also one of the worst things that can happen to over-achievers who think that they can do it all with no rest. It’s fine and even admirable to be hard-working and driven. But if you sleep five hours a night and only go out once a month (if at all), something needs to be changed.
Your to-do lists shouldn’t be too long. If you fail to cross out a bunch of tasks every day, the problem isn’t you but your to-do list. No matter how busy you are, having more than seven items on it is a bad idea. The task you’ve failed to complete will leave you feeling like a failure even though no one could possibly have completed them all in one day.
Be realistic. Track your to-do lists day after day and learn how many tasks are perfect for you to be able to complete everything (at least on most days) and feel like you’ve been productive. And if your to-do lists are consistently longer than anyone else’s, maybe it’s time to take something off your plate.
To stay productive and motivated regardless of how busy you are, write to-do lists, use productivity apps, and don’t try to follow popular productivity techniques unless they actually work for you. Most importantly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If your to-do lists are endless, and you feel overwhelmed all the time, you’re headed for burnout. Consider revising your routines.