How To Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions in Online Classes

Posted: October 09, 2020 | Author: Addison Love | Read Time: 4 minutes

Stayed focused and avoid distractions as an online student at SUUOnline learning has made expanding your education and obtaining a degree much more accessible than ever been before. Those who may be raising children, working full time, or otherwise unable to attend in-person classes now have the opportunity to continue their education. While a great opportunity, learning online presents unique challenges that may not be present in a traditional classroom. There are countless distractions that can stand in the way of coursework, so here are three ways to avoid distractions in online classes.

What Qualifies as a Distraction?

A distraction is anything that takes you or your focus away from the task at hand. Some of the tasks at hand may be listening to recorded audio lectures or reading the textbook. A distraction is not just something that completely pulls you away, like going out to run errands instead of listening to the lecture. A distraction can also be anything that weakens your attention to that lecture even if you are listening to it. For example, if you are listening to your lecture while doing the dishes, you are likely not paying as close of attention as you would if you were following along or taking notes. The law of cause and effect (you only get back what you put in) is still ever-present in online learning. If you do not allow yourself distraction-free time to study, you will likely fall behind in your coursework.

How to Avoid Distractions in Online Classes

1. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Distractions are different from person to person. What may help one person tune out distractions may actually be a distraction to someone else. For instance, some students may like to listen to music while they write or read to help drown out distractions in their surroundings.
But what may be a tool to aid focus for some may cause a distraction for others. It’s easy to get absorbed in the words of a song or the compelling melodies of instrumental music. Students may find themselves singing along when they should be reading. The first step in stopping distractions is identifying them.

2. Synchronize With Yourself

A lot of online classes take place in what we call an asynchronous environment. This means that even though there are assignment deadlines at specific times, it doesn’t matter if you listen to lectures or do the readings at 1 p.m. or 1 a.m. This is the very thing that makes having a busy schedule while going to school possible for online students. While asynchronous learning can be an advantage to those with busy schedules, it can also be a pitfall if you don’t synchronize your own schedule.

If you try squeezing coursework between other tasks, there may end up being a lot of unnecessary late nights and missed deadlines. It’s important to fully allocate time to each of your courses rather than waiting for your other tasks to be done. And your class time should be distraction free. This may mean scheduling it during a child’s nap times or after they go to bed. Asynchronous courses allow you to schedule your course whenever you want, not go without scheduling it. Dedicated coursework time is a great way to ensure that you stay on track in online classes.

3. Location, Location, Location

The online classroom can be absolutely anywhere you have access to the internet! This opens so many doors for students to attend a quality university even if they don’t live near one or can’t relocate. But, there are many potential risks for distraction when you do your work in an uncontrolled environment. Set aside a dedicated study area, even if it’s the cleared kitchen or dining room table. Sitting on the couch may be tempting, but it can often be filled with distractions like TV and others sharing the living space. Knowing the potential distractions that may enter your workspace will help you counter them before they come. If no one is home or you don’t share your living space with anyone, the couch may be a comfortable place to do work, but consider sitting as straight as you can or even sitting on a different side of the couch to do classwork than you sit on to watch tv or do other leisure activities.


Education is so important and it should be treated as an important part of your life. A little forethought and preparation to prevent distractions can go a long way in securing your success as an online student.

SUU Online

Southern Utah Universities Online programs are designed to help online students reach their fullest potential from right where they are. Our online programs are nationally accredited and award-winning. Visit us at to learn more about how you can have an accessible, affordable, and flexible education from right where you are.

Tags: SUU Online

Related Posts