At this point in the semester, many of us can say that “Zoom fatigue” is getting the best of us. Whether it’s cameras on or cameras off, breakout rooms or a full-blown lecture, having class over Zoom has become tiring for all of us who would rather work in an in-person environment. Although Zoom classes have their downsides, there are several ways that you can switch up your routine to make online classes the best that they can be. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay focused and start enjoying your online classes.
Keep your video on, but hide self view
I know that keeping your video on over Zoom can seem like a grim prospect, but it’s one step closer to feeling like you are in a real classroom again. Having your camera on reminds you that you are still in a setting with other students and gives you a reason to dress nicely, sit upright and show your professors who you are. Moreover, not to state the obvious, but having your camera on keeps you hyper-aware of the fact others can see you, giving more reason to eliminate distractions and pay attention. One additional hack that will help you stay focused on your professor specifically is hiding your self view. Recent research from Stanford has found that the “all day mirror” we see of ourselves on Zoom can lead to excessive self-evaluation and stress. I think we can all admit that we take the occasional glance to check ourselves out when our video is in view — who doesn’t?I can tell you that hiding my self view in every class has significantly increased my attention to professors over Zoom.
Leave your phone in a separate room
With the vast amount of distractions that a cell phone brings, it’s hard to avoid picking it up every now and then when class gets dull. Since having your phone nearby can be awfully tempting during a Zoom class, it helps to leave your other devices in a different room and remove the temptation completely. Not only will removing your phone from the room help you pay more attention in class, but it also eliminates the habit of letting distractions get in the way.
Switch up your workspace every now and then
Sitting in the same spot in your room every day for classes can strongly contribute to the monotony of Zoom fatigue. If you notice yourself getting overly distracted and antsy when you’ve been sitting in your designated Zoom spot for too long, a change in environment can make a big difference. Studies have already shown that doing work from your bed or even in any space in your bedroom can decrease work quality and energy throughout the day, so simply moving over to your living room or the kitchen table can be a refreshing switch and increase your attention span. Fortunately, as the weather gets nicer, doing classes outside is a great option that will make Zoom classes feel more comfortable, dynamic and less stilted.
Sit further away from your screen and minimize the Zoom window
Staring so closely at your screen all day can not only wear on your eyes but contribute to feeling drained and bored in class. Research has shown that the reduced mobility we encounter in Zoom classes by trying to fit into a small camera frame can feel unnatural and uncomfortable. Instead of trying to fit your face in the frame perfectly, sit a little further away from your computer, stretch out a bit and don’t feel pressured to stare deeply into the screen all of class. Moreover, minimizing your Zoom window can help reduce the strain of looking at the same screen all day and might make your Zoom classroom experience more enjoyable.
As we continue to adjust to the new normal of online learning, it’s important to do what we can to make the most out of Zoom classes, even though they can feel tiring sometimes. Making some of these easy adjustments might just be what gets you back into the groove of online classes.