3 Ways to Stay Focused During an Online Course

Staying focused on a 3-minute music video is easy. However, under the influence of current circumstances, staying focused during online classes on a daily basis can be difficult. There is no morning structure and no commute. People might be taking classes, working and having meetings in their pyjamas. So, how many times do you catch yourself getting distracted from class?


According to a study from Harvard Business Review, 73% of 35,000 leaders from thousands of companies across the world “feel distracted from their current task either ‘some’ or ‘most’ of the time” while working from home. The study also found that 67% of leaders have a difficult time organizing their priorities. making it difficult to complete tasks on time.


However, being forced to stay indoors presents us with a unique opportunity to improve. Harvard believes everyone has massive potential for improved effectiveness in staying focused on the tasks. Throughout the study, they found a positive relationship between an individual's focus level and their career achievement. Even though it isn’t a promise that exceptional focus will lead to the top, for great leaders, it is their daily routine to stay focused.


The CEO of Heineken, Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, said: “My role does not allow for a lack of focus. I can’t afford to be distracted. I must be on point. I have trained my focus while at work for 15 years, moment-to-moment. I feel the brain is like a muscle, and I exercise it all the time.”


1. Pay attention to your focus pattern 


Among the successful leaders, Harvard noticed that there is a clear focus pattern throughout their day. This is an important step for you to figure out.


Many people are most focused in the morning, with focus tapering off throughout the day. Understand your pattern of when you feel the most focused and ensure to plan this time around your most important priorities or hardest tasks. And then, you can plan activities and less important tasks when your focus is less strong.


2. Be aware of other influences


There are many other factors that may influence your focus level: sleep, mood, diet and exercise – these things can make a real difference to your daytime focus. It may be tempting to go to bed late and wake up later, rolling out of bed to attend lessons online and rely on cups of coffee to stay focused. However ensuring you get enough sleep, keep up an exercise routine (even if it’s a walk around the block) and eating lots of fruit and vegetables is a much better long-term strategy for keeping you focused day after day.


On the other hand, having negative emotions can affect your focus too. Based on the Harvard study, negative emotions may create a “refractory period” that only allows your focus on what made you angry. Positive emotions have the contrary effect, it enables individuals to focus and to think in a wider perspective.


3. Don’t loose sight of your goal


Don’t forget what your goal is – you’re wanting to learn a language so focus on the rewards of that. Envision yourself traveling where you can freely and easily communicate with the locals or improving your future career prospects. Like anything you will need to exercise focus and discipline, and although doing it from home might require that bit more effort, remember it’s not an impossible task!


Learning to stay focused is a strength that can be developed and trained and used throughout your life.

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