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Learn Your Way: Tips for boosting productivity while studying online

Studying online comes with an array of benefits from less time commuting, a more flexible lifestyle and a unique skillset. Sometimes though, studying remotely can provide challenges with staying on track. To support our current and future online students, we have decided to compile some top tips for boosting productivity while studying online.

By Elena Carruthers. Published 28 March 2022. Last updated 04 May 2023.

Make a schedule

One of the most effective ways to stay on track when studying online is sticking to a schedule in between your lessons. Firstly, make a list of the tasks and topics you want to address that day. Next, highlight these in order of importance which can be done using a traffic light system wherein red and orange signifies more urgent tasks while green signifies more straightforward and less pressing tasks.

Once you have figured out your tasks in order of priority, you can begin to make a schedule starting with the tasks of high importance, such as revising for an upcoming deadline. When you have completed these initial tasks, you might opt to have a more relaxed afternoon and do some light reading. For night owls, this type of schedule might work better in reverse.

Limit time on your phone

Scrolling on your phone can easily go from a few minutes to an hour. With so many different social media apps and distractions, it ends up being very disruptive to concentration. While there’s nothing wrong with taking a quick break to scroll, the most important thing is setting a clear limit.

Most social media apps have digital wellbeing settings which allow you to set specific time limits. Once you reach your designated time limit, you will receive a form of prompt typically requiring a passcode to re-enter the app. This is an effective way to limit screen time and not get carried away.

Apps such as Forest and Flora allow you to cut down your screen time and save the environment at the same time. The apps partner with tree-planting organisations around the world and encourages you to plant a virtual tree each time you want to stay focused and the longer you leave it, the more it grows. As time goes on, you can grow an entire forest signifying your hard work and time spent focused.

Indulge in something creative

While taking a break in your studies to do something creative might sound like another challenging task, it has many benefits for boosting overall productivity. Studying generally requires a specific approach that is fairly logical and repetitive which can cause a loss in motivation over time.

Taking time out to do something creative whether this is art, music, dancing, writing or anything creative that you enjoy, helps to stimulate a more open way of thinking. According to a report by Bupa, partaking in creative tasks boosts overall mood and brain function.

Once you are done with whatever your chosen creative task is, you can continue with your day feeling proud of your creation and more motivated for the rest of the day.

Give yourself something to look forward to

Humans are simple creatures really and we are all motivated by rewards. What motivates us depends entirely on our individual differences but a powerful way to supercharge productivity is by having an exciting end-goal. This could be making your favourite meal or ordering a takeaway, watching your favourite show, or making plans with a friend.

For some, simply finishing the day and relaxing is the end-goal. The most important thing is to make time for the things that you enjoy and bear this in mind when trying to stay focused. This way, you are working towards something both personally and academically, and reminding yourself why it’s all worth it.


Learn more about studying online at The University of Law.