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“Mrs. Schultze I’m having a hard time focusing all day long at the computer, what should I do?”

I totally can relate! I love being an online teacher, but like this student, I definitely need to take breaks from the screen time as well. Did you know that research shows that when you give your brain frequent breaks, it actually helps you focus more and become more effective when you are doing schoolwork? Here are a few fun and helpful things that you can do to break up your day:

1. Set your phone timer for one hour. When it goes off, stand up and take a break from your computer. This could be a quick trip to the kitchen for a snack or drink, a quick walk around the block with your dog or even time to do a few stretches. Believe it or not, this will “reset” your eyes and brain when you go back to your schoolwork. Don’t be surprised if it makes you feel a bit more positive and ready to take on another assignment!

2. Set small manageable goals for yourself throughout the day and then “reward” yourself. For instance, if you get done a bit early before lunch, take an extra 20 minutes for your lunch break, or take a power nap. It’s amazing how just a quick 15 minutes of rest can reenergize you!

3. If you are an active human like a lot of our students, it’s OK to move around! Take advantage of the fact you are at your house. Oftentimes just a change of scenery can really help – sitting on the porch on a nice day, moving to the kitchen table if it’s quiet in the house, etc. If you are reading a book, find your favorite place to read away from the computer and enjoy the time off the screen!

4. Make sure you have real sunlight streaming in through a window in the room you are located in. Vitamin D is a huge part of how we as human beings stay positive and healthy. Even just five minutes sitting outside every so often can make a huge difference in your overall mentality.

5. Are you a “doodler?” Me too! Sometimes I actually feel I can focus more on what is being said in a class connect session if I am free drawing. Take notes and doodle while you listen if it helps you focus!

6. Break up the screen time. Look at the different classes you have and what needs to be done on and off-line. If you can break it up by doing your off-line activities in between your online ones, it can make the day really fun!

7. Listen to music throughout your day. Personally, I like to listen to instrumental music while I work. It can calm me, help me to focus and just help pass the time in a really enjoyable way. Research actually shows that some types of classical music can actually help you to focus more on a task and be more productive at completing it in a timely manner. Many of the music apps and sites out there will even have playlists or radio stations you can put on if you are not sure where to start.

8. A big one for me actually happens after my work day. It’s so easy to turn off the computer at the end of the day only to take out another electronic device for hours. Make sure you try and take a break from ALL devices for a little bit every single day. Your eyes and your brain will thank you! This is a great time to Interact with your family. When I take breaks or at the end of the day, I will often take a minute or two to call a family member and just visit. Asking another

about their day or being encouraged by a family member is a perfect way to connect in a meaningful way and build relationships away from the computer screen.

9. Schedule physical activity in your day. This may be a workout, yoga, a walk outside or a run on a treadmill. I have even taught a class connect from my treadmill! Make it a game and shoot for a specific number of steps per day. That will get you up out of your seat and moving through your day for sure!

10. If all else fails, there is always Dance Party Time. What is Dance party time you might ask? Blare your favorite music for just a couple of minutes and dance your heart out. And before you ask – yes it does work! Every single time!

About The Author

Jennifer Schultze

Jennifer Schultze teaches music in grades 7-12 and serves as an advisor to high school students at Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA). Prior to joining WYVA in July 2008, Jennifer was a general music teacher, high school choir director and middle school band director for eight years. Jennifer graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. In 2006 she received a master’s of science in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University.  In addition, she is a concurrent professor for Eastern Wyoming College.  Jennifer lives in Buffalo, Wyoming, with her husband, who is a deputy sheriff, and their five children. Jennifer loves coffee, reading, blogging, and spending time with her family.

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