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E-learning Platforms Last update: Apr 24, 2024

Master Productivity: My Top 10 Online Learning Tips

Master Productivity My top tips for online learning
Photo of Catherine Cooke

Written by

Catherine Cooke

Catherine Cooke

Upskillwise Advisor

I'm Catherine, originally from London, now living in Spain. My professional journey led me from being a certified teacher to a yoga instructor and then a freelancer designer. These changes were made possible by online learning platforms like Skillshare and Coursera. It wasn't always easy, but so worth it and inspired me to start Upskillwise.

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Back in 2019, I was eager to change my career, which led me to start exploring online learning platforms. As I navigated through different online learning platforms and trying out different online courses, it led me to start


Along the way, I picked up several strategies to stay productive while learning from home, which I must say isn’t always easy and takes some getting used to. That’s why I’ve put together my top 10 tips for mastering productivity when learning from home. I’m excited to share these with you and hope they prove as beneficial to you as they have been to me.

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A Free Guide: Master Online Learning At Home With 10 Top Tips

1. Create a Designated Workspace

Let’s get started with creating a designated study or workspace. While the allure of the sofa or the kitchen counter can be tempting, setting up a dedicated area that’s free of distractions and ready with everything you need can truly transform your study or work sessions into something you actually look forward to.

In my own workspace, I’ve set up a comfortably sized desk that accommodates my laptop and an external monitor. There’s a comfy chair, my trusty notebook, pens, my favorite smelly candle and being British, a fresh cup of tea is never far away. By creating an inviting workspace not only boosts my productivity, but it makes me genuinely excited about working and learning from home.

Key Takeaways: Create a Designated Study Space

  • Ensure there are no distractions
  • Keep all necessary tools and materials at hand
  • Add personal touches to make the space inviting and comfortable

2. Establish a Routine

Next up on our productivity journey is establishing a solid routine. Take the time to sit down and draft a timetable, a consistent routine will keep you on track and boost your motivation and productivity.

This routine not only structures your day/week, but also sets you up for success on your learning journey. It’s just as important to include breaks in your schedule to prevent feeling overwhelmed, stepping away from your screen to decompress. Be patient as your new routine may not come together overnight, but with consistency, it will all start to pay off.

Key Takeaways: Establish a Routine

  • Create a daily/weekly timetable to stay focused and motivated.
  • Schedule regular breaks to manage stress and enhance productivity.
  • Allow time for your routine to develop—consistency leads to success.

3. Break Tasks into Manageable Chunks

Continuing our journey of mastering productivity, is about making big tasks feel less overwhelming by breaking them into manageable chunks. Think of it as taking a large puzzle and laying out all the pieces. Instead of trying to tackle the entire picture at once, focus on assembling small sections one at a time.

In my experience, when I break down my learning or work tasks into smaller segments, I find it far less daunting to start, and it’s easier to keep the momentum going. Like when I took an Adobe Illustrator online course, I’d start each morning watching the video tutorials on a new tool, take a 5-minute break and continue with 30 minutes of practicing using the new tool. Then I’d apply what I learned to a design project for the next couple of hours. I’d end the session with reviewing my work, sharing with peers, and goal setting for the afternoon or next day.

Key Takeaways: Break Tasks into Manageable Chunks

  • Break bigger tasks into smaller chunks.
  • Begin with simple segments to build momentum.
  • Include breaks and reviews in your sessions.

4. Time Management Techniques

Moving forward into time management techniques, which are pivotal in boosting both focus and efficiency. One technique I swear by is the Pomodoro Technique—this approach has truly transformed the way I handle tasks. It’s straightforward: you work with intense focus for 25 minutes, and then reward yourself with a rejuvenating 5-minute break.

During these short breaks, I love to spend the time cuddling with my golden retriever, Lluna. It’s amazing how a few minutes with her can instantly lift my spirits and recharge my batteries. This method isn’t just about keeping on task; it’s a delightful and effective way to keep your energy levels high and your mind sharp.

Key Takeaways: Time Management Techniques

  • Work in focused 25-minute sessions to maximize productivity.
  • Reward yourself with 5-minute breaks to refresh and rejuvenate.
  • Enjoy personal time during breaks to enhance your mood and energy.

5. Minimize Distractions

As we progress in our journey to master productivity, our next focus is on minimizing distractions to ensure your study or work sessions are incredibly effective. The first step? Clear the clutter of distractions from your space. Sharpen your focus by turning off notifications, blocking those all-too-tempting websites, and consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones to really immerse yourself in the task at hand.

When I truly need to buckle down and concentrate, I take a straightforward but significant step: I switch my phone to silent mode. Although it seems like a small gesture, this act has been crucial in eliminating interruptions and allowing me to fully dive into my work. It’s a simple change that can make a massive difference in maintaining focus and efficiency.

Key Takeaways: Minimize Distractions

  • Eliminate background noise and interruptions by using noise-canceling headphones and turning off notifications.
  • Block distracting websites to maintain a clear focus on your tasks.
  • Put your phone on silent to avoid breaks in concentration and boost productivity.

6. Stay Organized

Next, let’s explore the importance of staying organized—not just keeping your space tidy, but ensuring everything you need has a designated place. When your environment is free of clutter, you’ll notice a significant boost in productivity during your work or study sessions. Organizing isn’t just about physical tidiness; it extends to managing your digital and paper resources effectively as well.

For organizing materials, I recommend using folders to neatly store your documents and utilizing apps to keep track of your tasks. A well-organized notebook can also be a game-changer. Personally, I’ve found Trello to be an invaluable tool for managing both my projects and daily tasks. I love using color coding on my Trello cards to denote priority levels, from high to low, which makes it incredibly easy to assess what needs immediate attention. My boards are divided into “To-Do,” “Working-On,” and “Done” lists, allowing me to visually track my progress and feel motivated as I move tasks to the “Done” list. This organized approach not only saves time but simplifies your workflow.

Key Takeaways: Stay Organized

  • Utilize organizational tools like folders and apps to keep materials and tasks in check.
  • Implement a system like Trello to visually manage your workload with color-coded priority levels.
  • Keep your workspace clutter-free to enhance focus and efficiency.

7. Stay Engaged During Online Classes

As we continue on our productivity path, let’s delve into how to stay engaged during online classes. Actively participating in discussions, asking questions, and diligently taking notes are key strategies to maintain focus and deepen your understanding. This proactive involvement does more than just keep you up-to-date; it embeds the information more firmly in your memory and sharpens your cognitive focus.

In the age of constant distractions—where apps like WhatsApp and TikTok beckon—it’s crucial to commit your full attention to your educational endeavors. For example, when I participated in a MasterClass by Yotam Ottolenghi, I made extensive use of the note-taking feature. This didn’t just keep me engaged; it held me accountable throughout the course, ensuring that I was absorbing as much knowledge as possible.

Key Takeaways: Stay Engaged During Online Classes

  • Actively participate in class through discussions and questions.
  • Use tools like note-taking to deepen understanding and retention.
  • Dedicate your full attention to the class, minimizing external distractions.

8. Take Regular Breaks

Moving forward with the productivity tips, is taking regular breaks is crucial. Just like any other part of your body, your brain needs rest to function at its best. Make it a habit to periodically step away from your desk, whether it’s for some light stretching, a quick snack, or a coffee break. These breaks are essential not just for maintaining focus, but for recharging your overall productivity.

Research from the University of Michigan highlights that spending time in nature, or even simply viewing images of natural scenes, can significantly improve cognitive functions such as memory and attention. So consider taking a brief walk in a park during your break, or if pressed for time, look at pictures of natural landscapes. These aren’t just breaks from work—they’re vital moments to refresh your mind, leaving you rejuvenated and ready to tackle your tasks with enhanced focus.

Key Takeaways: Take Regular Breaks

  • Regularly step away from your tasks to refresh your mind and body.
  • Consider spending break time in nature or looking at natural scenes to boost cognitive functions.
  • Use breaks as an opportunity to rejuvenate and enhance productivity when you return to your tasks.

9. Engage with Your Online Community

Let’s dive into the power of engaging with your online community. Learning from home doesn’t mean you’re on this journey solo! By staying active in forums, participating in study groups, and attending virtual meetups, you can keep the learning dynamic and interactive. Engaging with peers not only maintains your motivation and strengthens your accountability.

Plus, sharing the learning process with others who understand your challenges and goals makes the whole experience much more enjoyable and enriching. It’s about building connections which never no may have a small or big impact on your life.

Key Takeaways: Engage with Your Online Community

  • Participate actively in forums and virtual study groups to stay connected.
  • Attend virtual meetups to enrich your learning experience.
  • Connect with peers to enhance motivation and accountability.

10. Practice Self-Care

Don’t overlook the ultimate productivity enhancer: self-care! It’s all about more than just hitting the books; it’s about thriving in every aspect of your life. Ensuring you get adequate sleep, eat well, and stay physically active can profoundly boost your study effectiveness. This holistic approach benefits not just your physical and mental health, but it also elevates your capacity to learn. When you feel fantastic, your performance follows suit.

For me, cooking is not just a hobby but a form of self-care. There’s nothing more satisfying than planning and preparing a nutritious and delicious meal. I find the whole process of cooking to be relaxing and therapeutic. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to gather the family and enjoy quality time together over a meal. It’s these moments of joy and well-being that make you more resilient and productive in your learning journey.

Key Takeaways: Practice Self-Care

  • Ensure a balance of good sleep, nutrition, and physical activity.
  • Find relaxing activities that you enjoy to relieve stress.
  • Remember, when you take care of yourself, you boost both your well-being and your study capabilities.