Posted by ICON School on Feb 5, 2020 12:42:00 PM

Distractions faced in online schools

Congratulations, you're on the path to earning an online high school diploma! You'll quickly begin to see the many benefits of learning from home, such as flexibility, self-directed learning, and a comfortable environment. 

But a few challenges will go hand-in-hand with your newfound freedom. You'll soon discover that online schools can be tough in different ways that a typical classroom setting, and the number one cause of frustration and burnout is distraction. When you're sitting in a classroom, you have a teacher and clear rules keeping you on task. When you're in your bedroom or at a coffee shop, you're the boss—and that's a good thing. But it's easy to get distracted and go off on productivity-killing tangents, especially with the many entertainment opportunities of the internet today.

Here are a few ways to stay focused and get the most out of your online education: rethink social media use, consider background noise, make the most of your space, and use a timer. Let's dive into each of those tips. 

1.Strategically Block (& Use!) Social Media

Social media tends to be one of the biggest distractions. With endless memes, videos, articles, status updates, and more, social media promises hours of unproductive entertainment. Luckily, there are several apps and browser extensions that can help you limit your social media interaction time. Look for productivity extensions for your favorite browsers and find one that makes sense for how you want to use it. For your phone, there are plenty of apps that can block social media apps, texts, or games, and there are both paid and free options. 

It can also be helpful to put social media on your daily schedule as a reward: for instance, when you've spent an hour on your math homework, you can scroll through Instagram for 15 minutes. 

2. Consider Background Noise

Some people work best with music on in the background. Others prefer the hum of a coffee shop, while some are looking for absolute silence while they work. Find your balance of background noise or silence and create the right environment when you sit down at your computer to work. Use headphones—even noise-canceling ones—when necessary and set yourself up for success. There are also some great pre-made playlists on Spotify and YouTube that are made for focus time. If you've been dealing with distraction and not having good focus time for your work, consider what you're using for background noise (if anything) and try switching it up. 

3. Create a Learning Nook

When you learn online, there's no "going" to school. When your feet hit the ground in the morning, you're already at school. That said, being in your own home can be a distraction in itself. You'll remember you have chips and salsa calling your name in the kitchen, or decide to take a nap on the couch if you're not careful. 

To combat this, set up a consistent place in your home to do your work. Maybe it's a desk in the corner of your dining room or your bedroom. Wherever you decide to do your work, consider this place a school-focused area and don't let yourself get up until you've put in your time. It's important that you go to this nook every day and use that space rather than trying to do your schoolwork in bed. Keep your schoolwork area separate from where you tend to relax or sleep and you'll see a difference. 

4. Use a Timer

There's a significant amount of research out there to suggest that timed work and break periods increase productivity. It's natural for the human brain to suffer fatigue after an extended time of application, and that's when we all subconsciously start looking for distractions.

Use your brain's rhythm of productivity to your advantage by setting a timer for an hour and promising yourself you'll work diligently the entire time. When the hour is up, even if you're in the middle of something, take a break—maybe for 20 or 30 minutes—again, with a timer set. When break time is over, put away the entertainment or food again and get back to work for another hour.


Being mindful about all aspects of your day to day learning routines can help you do your best as you learn online. Social media, background noise, where you learn, and how you keep yourself on task for set periods of time—all of these are key ways you can harness the power of online learning, and keep yourself on track for success. 

Pursuing an online high school diploma can be a challenge, but the benefits are worth the work. Learn more about how you can tailor flexible, free, online high school education around your schedule by contacting us today.

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