5 Ways to Stay Organized and Focused as an Online Learner

Woman getting organised
The modern student’s life is tied to technology, but sometimes technical challenges can disrupt study plans. Students who spend hours researching and working on their computers know how difficult it can be to stay focused and organized. The temptation to check Facebook or browse Buzzfeed can be hard to resist. A hard drive crash or a lost USB storage device can be devastating. Luckily, the Internet community has banded together to provide students with ways to survive and resist the pitfalls of technology.

1. Backup it up!

That’s right, you gotta back up that data, boys and girls. If your hard drive crashes, you will be lucky to recover your information at all, and even then, it could be days or weeks before you can access it. Backing up your data is absolutely necessary, whether it’s to a separate hard drive or to an online cloud storage unit like Mozy where you can get 2GB totally free . The cloud storage unit offers even better protection under the grim circumstance that your computer should be stolen.

2. Show a little restraint.

When using your computer in class or for research, it is easy to become distracted by the millions of entertaining titbits floating around the Internet. I secretly suspect that even professors get distracted by their favourite blogs and YouTube videos, but I have no proof to support this. If you feel like you need some help avoiding the temptation of Facebook or other sites, you can download restriction software that will temporarily block certain sites from your browser. There are a different options for PC and Mac users, but SelfRestraint and SelfControl come highly recommended.

3. Take a break.

You over-achiever, you! Okay, so even if you’re not an obsessive perfectionist, you might be up to your eyeballs in a last-minute project or other time intensive study session. One of the most important things about studying and researching is to take breaks. It sounds a little crazy, and maybe too good to be true, but it’s the truth. Without rest, your brain will cease to function properly, and your quality of work won’t be as high. Using a timed break application can keep you rested and focused, but it can also help you keep track of your time investment. Focus Booster for Mac and Tomighty for PCs can help you

4. Get organized.

There are a lot of ways to get organized, but one of the newest organizational sites on the Web is called MySocialCloud. (Those of you who are addicted to Facebook and Twitter, beware! This site allows you to merge notifications from both sites!) This site allows you to save passwords for all of you accounts, but it’s real stand-out feature is its organizational web browser bookmark tool. Students can bookmark course Websites and articles, which makes keeping track of online research content extremely convenient.

5. Drop it.

Once again, cloud storage comes to save the day! Dropbox is a file sharing and storage cloud system that allows you to share and edit files between other users. This is a great tool for collaborative projects, but it’s also an alternative for USB devices and email attachments. Students who don’t have access to a printer in the dorm room or the apartment can move their documents to Dropbox and access them from a campus computer lab. You never have to worry about losing important documents again.

Kate Willson is an energetic education writer who specializes in college life. She shares her many tips for students and recent grads at collegecrunch.org. You can reach Kate by leaving her a message in the comment section. She loves hearing from readers!