“Education for Everyone Everywhere”
The slogan sits beneath the Horizons University banner on our official website, proclaiming the idea that education should be available for everyone, anywhere in the world. While of course Horizons University offers on-campus learning, we’re able to bring the classroom anywhere and everywhere through our online programs. The classroom is wherever the student wants it to be. Whether it’s the living room sofa, the corner table in the local coffee shop, the public library, or the aisle seat on a flight to Boston, online education releases the student from a regimented schedule and allows them to study at their own pace, in their environment of choice.
But, as much as we don’t want to admit it, this freedom comes with the burden of responsibility and self discipline.
Centering the mind and quieting the mind to focus in a non-traditional work environment takes time and practice. Working from home or completing a degree online has wonderful perks, but it’s important to stay organized and to stay aware of our time and space in order to stay creative and productive.
Here are some helpful tips to quiet our minds and decrease distraction when working:
- Meditate: Daily meditation may seem like it belongs in yoga class instead of the office, but meditation can be done by anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Take a break during the day to recollect. It could be in the morning while your coffee is brewing, at lunch in the break room, at your desk or cubicle, or when you get home in the evening. Simply close your eyes and breathe. Meditation isn’t about trying to block your thoughts. The human brain will continue to think and process and worry no matter how hard you try to silence it. The point of meditation is to acknowledge these thoughts and gently move back to a central, calm, focal point. Meditating for 10 minutes before sitting down to write a paper or doing a project will allow your mind to focus more clearly on the task at hand.
- Clear Your Schedule: Clearing your schedule doesn’t necessarily mean canceling plans with friends or missing your favorite TV show because you’re stuck in the library studying. It’s important to balance studying or working with personal time for yourself, however when it is time to buckle down and write, make sure there is nothing hanging over your head. For example, before sitting down to write or begin your work for the day, make sure the bills are paid, the cat is fed, and the laundry is done. It’s incredibly difficult to focus wholly on a project when you are distracted by chores or other tasks you need to accomplish. If possible, set a time during the day that is devoted entirely to your online work or study, then, try to get as many chores accomplished beforehand so distractions are minimized. Hide your phone in the pantry, plug in your headphones, keep a snack next to your computer, and get to work.
- Find Your Ideal Environment: Some people can design, read, write, create, blog, edit, etc. while seated at a tiny table in a loud, bustling cafe. In fact, this may be the only environment they are able to work effectively in, or at least the environment in which they’re the most creative and focused. Others couldn’t read and comprehend a sentence amongst the music and clanking of coffee cups. While most of us think we know our ideal study environment, it’s important to think critically about how productive we’re being in the different places we choose to work. Ask yourself, “Do I get more work done at my kitchen table? Or at the library?” “Does the bookstore or cafe bring me much needed inspiration for my writing? Or is it ultimately a distraction?” Take time to find your space.
Comment below to share your personal study habits. What works well for you? How do you quiet your mind and focus?