10 tips for staying focused when learning from home

Just like most of y’all, I’m struggling with remote learning (and having ADHD doesn’t make things any easier). In college, I’m studying to be an educator, so I thought I’d share some tips for staying focused when learning at home.

1. Make your study space cozy and clean.

Keep your computer screen clean, too. Close any distracting browser tabs. (Check out the free OneTab Chrome App to save those extra tabs for later.)

2. Switch up your study spots.

Your location influences how you process information. Even a slight change can be refreshing. Experiment with matching locations to specific tasks. I like to do math at the kitchen table and watch lectures on the couch.

3. Do a “brain boost” whenever you find yourself drifting.

Take a walk around the block, do some jumping jacks, stretch your limbs, and shake out any muscle tension in ways that feel comfy.

4. Hydrate!

Your body naturally performs better when you’re fully hydrated. Keep a water bottle on your desk. I still forget to pick up the purple plastic bottle sitting right in front of me, so I also stick a Post-it reminder on my notebook and computer screen.

5. Keep lists.

Making to-do lists for school, work, and other goals is a must for me. I’m much less likely to miss pesky homework deadlines when they’re all stored in one place.

6. Play around with sound.

Some of my friends like to listen to classical music while they study. When I’m taking an online quiz, I turn on a fan to cover noise from my neighbors. If you don’t have a fan, search for “ambience sounds” on YouTube.

7. Find a creative outlet.

Whether you’re learning new ukulele chords, doodling in a notebook, or keeping a journal, having an outlet for self-expression matters now more than ever.

8. Learn a new skill to balance your studying.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to learn? Finger spelling, knitting, computer coding, a trending TikTok dance. (I only tripped twice while learning the “Say So” routine!) Pick a new skill that excites you and set reasonable goals to keep up your progress. When you’re finished, try teaching a friend.

9. Stay connected with family and friends. 

Having conversations with loved ones can be refreshing during isolation. Consider reaching out to old friends to catch up, too.

10. Promote community care.

Other people who are struggling right now could use your support. I’ve been volunteering to do maintenance for neighbors who need extra hands. I’m also joining other students in sending emails to advocate for my school’s service workers to be paid.

Responding to my neighbors’ needs reminds me how lucky I am to be a part of my community right now.


Read next