This week’s post is about the hands-on activities I do while tuning into Zoom class in order to keep myself focused. I have a bad habit of having Zoom or BB collaborate open, and then also social media, or an assignment for a different class, or recently, a YouTube video of a parrot playing a drum.
Since my laptop’s right in front of me (the one thing that holds all sorts of procrastination fun) I can’t hold back from opening up a new tab with a few button clicks. One solution I’ve come up with is to do something with my hands. Here are some things I do:
Building, Organizing, Stacking: Playing around with stackable and colourful items is just distracting enough to prevent me from tuning out the lecture. I use starbursts because this is a good excuse to buy candy, but if I owned something like Lego I would use that.
Finger Knitting: I am actually very proud of this one. For me, finger knitting makes much more sense than regular knitting and crochet. Here’s a good tutorial on how to begin.
Braiding: There is a surprising amount of string that is hidden around the house (shoelaces, hoodie strings, thread in a sewing kit, etc), and I’ve found that fiddling around with these strands keeps my hands busy enough to not scroll through social media.
Origami: The only origami I know by heart is a cootie catcher so that’s what I make. Anything else would require extra brain energy and would distract me a bit too much. Sometimes I just fold the paper and try to figure stuff out for myself though.
Squeeze Toy: This is my beloved stuffed narwhal, and he is purposely made to be squeezed. Holding a squeezable item, or something you can play around with like a ball, works too.
Drawing or Colouring: This is what I would do if classes were in-person anyway. I always have little drawings and scribbles around my notes. Here’s a picture I drew on a piece of paper towel last week.
I’m sure some people will think that doing these activities in class will actually hinder my learning experience, but since I have such a difficult time staying on track, I’ve found that it’s better to be half-aware of what the prof is saying rather than completely tuned out. Having something physical to do with my hands while attending online classes has been very useful to me!