There were so many things that excited me when I began freelance writing full-time in 2016, but I think the biggest one was my newfound flexibility. No more commuting, no more strict schedules, and no more real clothes. That excitement quickly waned when I realized you can fly too close to the sun – I quickly became a slob with zero motivation or structure. (Not exactly a recipe for success!) Working from home and online learning from home are remarkably similar, and it’s finally my big moment to share what I’ve learned: here are my TK morning habits to incorporate to set yourself up for a successful day of online learning!

Don’t hit the snooze button.

If you’re set to begin virtual learning at 8 a.m., why wake any earlier than 7:50? I know it’s tempting to sleep in as late as you can, especially now that you don’t have to get ready and out the door, but rolling out of bed to start class is the equivalent of sticking a frozen pizza in a cold oven. You need to preheat your brain a little bit! Give yourself time to fully wake up and prepare for your day, and you’ll be that much more focused and ready when your school day begins. Plus, does anyone actually feel better with those stolen extra 10 minutes of sleep?

Move your body.

I’m not saying you need to run a 5K, do yoga in the park, or set a deadlifting PR before class – unless you want to, in which case you’re my new hero. But consider how much you used to do before starting class in pre-Covid times: showering, getting dressed, and getting to the physical school building warmed your body up before the first bell rang. Instead of simply getting out of bed just to take five steps to your desk, do something every morning that gets your blood pumping a bit. Walk the dog, do some light stretching, whatever it is that appeals to you. A little bit of movement in the morning will boost your alertness, lower your stress, and you’ll get the most out of your virtual learning.

Eat breakfast.

How many times have you heard this tip? I know, it’s eyeroll-inducing. There’s a reason why successful people swear to this part of their morning routine, though. Studies have shown that eating breakfast daily boosts your energy, focus, and even memory. Beyond that, however, it’s hard to concentrate on anything with a growling stomach, day dreaming what you’re going to have for lunch. Make this part of your routine enjoyable, and find a breakfast that you genuinely look forward to. (I’ve found that trying new healthy recipes in the morning is a fun way to start my day on the right foot – currently, I’m enjoying oatmeal with coconut flakes, walnuts, and cinnamon.) Find a breakfast you know you’ll enjoy, and make time for it daily!

Get dressed.

I truly feel for the students who are required to wear their uniforms for virtual learning, and I’m not necessarily advocating for that level of Getting Dressed, but I do highly urge you to change out of your pajamas! Even if I’m having a lazy day and only manage to change out of my Night Sweatpants into my Day Sweatpants, it still makes a difference. Change into a fresh outfit each morning, brush your hair, wash your face, and make yourself feel like a real human. A real human does much better with online learning than a half asleep zombie in last night’s pajamas.

Plan (or read over) your to-do list.

There is something about having a written roadmap for your day that makes everything seem more manageable. Some people like to create their to-do list the night before, and others like to create it first thing in the morning, so pick a method that works for you! List everything you need (or want) to accomplish that day, and cross things off as you go. (Crossing things off is key. It is so satisfying!) Always start with the things you’re dreading, and list the more pleasant tasks later. Once you’ve completed the worst thing on your list, everything else is a cakewalk in comparison!

Organize your workspace.

A cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind, and that’s certainly not conducive for learning. Before you start for the day, tidy up your desk area so everything is in the proper place and you have room to work. In the spirit of keeping your school space organized, we’ve created two printables to make your life a little bit easier – scroll to the bottom of the blog for both!

Logins & Passwords sheet: You’re undoubtedly going to rack up a list of different log-ins and passwords you’ll need to access different classroom websites and online resources. Use the printable below to keep track of them!

Website Cheat Sheet: One teacher posts quizzes on X website, another posts announcements on Y website, and a third posts homework assignments on Z website. How to keep track?! With this simple website cheat sheet, of course (posted below).

Don’t forget, our Enrichery 2020-2021 Academic Planner is chock full of blank to-do lists, study skills worksheets, and other resources created by executive functioning experts. To become a supremely organized virtual learning master, that’s the place to start!

Turn your camera on (and keep it on).

You couldn’t hide in a real classroom, so don’t hide in a virtual classroom! Turn and keep your camera on to stay accountable. It can be so easy to get distracted and zone out when you’re in the comfort of your own home, but it’s much less easy to do so when others are watching. So turn on that camera and focus!

After four years of working from home, I can’t tell you that every day is perfect. Some days, I snooze my alarm clock four times, I have coffee for breakfast, and I’m in my PJs until 3:00. I can tell you, however, that those are not my best days. On my best days, I wake up early, eat breakfast, shower, and hit the ground running. Virtual learning is going to throw you some curveballs this year, but incorporate these habits into your day-to-day and you’ll undoubtedly conquer them all! 

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