Over the past year, many of us have spent more time in front of a computer than ever before. Whether it be for work, school, or social reasons; remaining connected in our current climate has increased the amount of screen-time in our lives. We look forward to when we are all together again in downtown Northampton, MA studying at the International Language Institute of Massachusetts, but we are grateful for the ways we have all stayed connected in the meantime. Whether you are joining us online for our World Language Program, Workplace Training, TESOL Training, Free English Program, or another online course, we believe online learning is a GREAT and vital resource, now more than ever. In reflecting on the realities of virtual education, we are sharing some of our personal methods for staying focused, productive, and happy while online learning.

1. Develop a routine & create a specific space to participate in your learning.

Whether it is an office, a corner of your living room, or your dining room table- setting up this space will reinforce your routine and help you transition to and from a “work-time” mindset when it is time to do so. Your home is a special place, and separating where you relax and unwind from your productive space is extremely beneficial.

2. Stay hydrated and remember to take lunch and snack breaks.

Your mind will be clearer and you will have the fuel to help take on what comes your way! Being well-hydrated is proven to improve your cognition and mood.

3. Take screen breaks and stretch.

With increased screen time, it is natural to experience fatigue, headaches, and neck aches- make sure your body is happy! Going for walks, yoga, practicing mindfulness or meditation techniques, and adjusting your posture while sitting can all help decrease these effects.Though debated amongst some, Blue Light Glasses have been said to have helped some with headaches, eyestrain, and restful sleep. Look into different practices and take note of what makes you and your body feel good!

4. Create lists, charts, or write in a journal!

This helps keep you on track AND is a great tangible item to refer to that shows you the work you are doing and the progress you are making. Even a simple “To-Do” list written on a scrap piece of paper has the potential to increase your motivation and physically checking off each task or goal is great a way to encourage yourself and recognize your hard work.

5. Wear headphones.

Especially if you share a space, this will help you focus in on what you are doing and block out the distractions around you and hone into what you are working on in front of you.

6. Be patient with yourself!

Online learning is very different from being with your peers in a classroom- allow yourself some time to adjust to the current “normal”!

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