How to Stay on Task This Semester

Boy sitting on bench with green Hatchet backpack

Focusing on schoolwork may be especially hard right now, but these tips will help you get it all done ASAP.


Staying motivated when it comes to school may feel impossible right now, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. But whether you’re learning remotely or in person, there are plenty of easy ways to encourage productivity and make work feel less painful. Try these tips to set yourself up for success whenever you sit down to study.


Maintain a Healthy Sleep Routine

You’ve heard this before, but it’s true: Feeling well rested will make a huge difference to the quality of your work—and if your brain is more alert, you may get things done faster too. If you’re having trouble getting sleep at night, a little self-care or meditation practice might help you drift off. (And psst, when you wake up, try following this amazing morning routine to start your day off the right way.)


Figure Out When You’re Most Productive

Some people are half asleep in the morning and therefore perform their best work at night. Others need to get important tasks done first thing, before their brain turns to mush in the evening. Which type are you? Try out different times of day and figure out when you’re usually in the right frame of mind to study—and then plan to do schoolwork during that period every day.


Don’t Work Where You Sleep

Research suggests that if you work from your bed—or even at a desk in your bedroom—your productivity levels and quality of sleep may suffer. If you can, set up a workstation in another area of your home. Or, if you’re in a college dorm, try working from the library or in a public space like a café. These tips will help you set up the perfect home study station.


Stock up on Stationery

Just like buying some new gym gear can motivate you to work out, kitting yourself out with some new school supplies can boost your productivity. Organize your desk, buy some new pens, and of course, treat yourself to some highlighters. You could even order a new backpack and make it your own with custom decorations. (Hint: These quirky pins and patches are ideal accessories.)


Prioritize Tasks You Don’t Enjoy

Whatever you’re studying, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be given a task that you dread completing. Our advice? Do this before any other schoolwork and hand it in right away. When you’re worrying about an assignment like that, you may start experiencing stress or anxiety, and you could lose motivation for other projects. So finish the unpleasant work quickly—and then move on to something more exciting. You can do it!


Take Regular Breaks

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to take regular breaks to refresh and refuel. If you’re struggling with an assignment, consider taking a walk in the park or jogging around the quad; exercise is a great way to get blood and oxygen flowing around your body and can help you regain focus. Chatting with friends can help you feel supported and energized again too; even a quick video chat might be enough to help you power through your work.


Communicate with Your Teachers

This one is especially important if you’re learning remotely. But even if you’re going to school in person, touching base and discussing any questions you may have about assignments can help you overcome any challenges or concerns you might have. (Plus it’s always nice to get to know your teacher a little better!)


Make Note of What You’ve Achieved

You’ve been working so hard this semester, so take the time to recognize your achievements and reward your successes. It doesn’t matter how small the win; give yourself a pat on the back (or treat yourself to something special) for the work you’ve completed. Then set your focus on your future goals and what you’re going to accomplish next.


Need some more help getting through the school year? These online resources will help you keep calm and study on.


By: Charli Moore