Make Online Classes a Piece of Cake
Finally, back to school, university or work after a long holiday, and we all know how hard it can be to focus on studying/working from home—at least without the right computer, mindset, and comfortable workspace! That’s why we put together this article—to help you get situated and make those pesky online classes a piece of cake!
First Let’s Get You That Refurbished Laptop
One of the first and most important elements of working from home is the right equipment—if you have a good laptop, it’ll be much easier to get a lot of work done. We recommend spending at least £400 or more to get a powerful laptop that will serve you well for at least a few years. If you’re on a budget, we strongly recommend refurbished laptops as your next upgrade as it will perform just like new, just for a lot less on your wallet.
When it comes to speed, try to get something with an Intel Core i5 processor and at least 6GB of RAM (Core i7 models are even faster, but also more expensive). Even if the laptop is a couple of years old, you can expect it to perform quite well with these kinds of specs. I would be hesitant buying a laptop that’s over 6 years old—unless the deal is super fresh (under £500) and the specs are super nice (Intel Core i7 processor, at least 6GB of RAM).
Now That You Have the Right Refurbished Laptop, Let’s Think About Your Workspace!
Being well-equipped for online classes is much more complicated than just having the right refurbished laptop. Posture is super important, and even if you have the best laptop in the world, it’s going to be really hard to focus if you aren’t comfortable! Seriously, if you’re noticing yourself having troubles focussing when doing work online, look at your workspace. Is your desk the right height? Does it have ample space for you to sit comfortably for long periods of time? Is your neck becoming strained from constantly staring down at your laptop screen? What kind of chair are you sitting in as you work? These are all important questions to ask if you want to maximise your work output and wellbeing!
Investing in a computer monitor prevents you from straining your neck when looking down at your laptop screen for hours on end! For ideal ergonomics, we suggest positioning the monitor in such a way so that the top part of the frame is roughly at eye-level. And you can easily plug up a monitor to just about any laptop with the right adaptor cable. First check what kind of ports your laptop comes with—if it has an HDMI port, you just need a double-sided HDMI cable (these are the easiest to come by). If you have a more modern Ultrabook, you may need a USB-C to HDMI, and most MacBooks will need a Thunderbolt 2 to HDMI. Please don’t assume what cable you will need from just this simple checklist, though, remember to thoroughly check your laptop before placing an order. Most monitors use HDMI as their primary input method, so you won’t need to worry about this end of the cable. You can get a nice certified refurbished monitor on Back Market for under £200, and I guarantee you that it will be well worth the investment if you position it in such a way that prevents your neck from unnecessary strain.
Last But Not Least—The Mindset!
There are many different theories on how to best stay focused when doing online coursework. Everybody is different and will find their own unique work habits, but there are a few basic ideas that can help just about anybody, regardless of their workstyle.
One of our first suggestions is to remove any kind of distractions that are easily accessible. Some find it helpful to block themselves off from any games or social media when it’s time to work. The key is to remove anything that you may find enticing from your immediate proximity. This way, your focus won’t be divided. You want all your brain juices to be focused on the work in front of you—instead of being scattered thinking about all the fun stuff you would rather be doing. So unplug that Xbox/PlayStation, temporarily uninstall Instagram/TikTok, and leave your iPhone/Android somewhere far away from your desk or workspace. Although these are all things we have come to love and enjoy, temporarily removing them from your surroundings can greatly help increase your focus and motivation!
And last but not least, it’s important to take a lot of breaks when taking online classes! It’s easy to get frustrated if you spend a lot of time locked away by yourself. Find time for other activities so that you can have a healthy balance of work, relaxation, and all the other good things that life has to offer.