Back to School

12 back-to-school tips for studying remotely and staying productive


It’s back-to-school season, and snapping back into study mode can be a jolt to the system. With many traditional schools having to switch back and forth from on-campus to online learning this past year, some students may be seeking remote learning strategies to help them stay productive and focused. Of course, a stable internet connection and a quiet place to learn are crucial, but we wondered if there were additional strategies that could help students stay productive and focused.

We turned to the teaching assistants at the online digital art school CG Spectrum and here are a few of their pieces of advice:

Oliver Rotter

Oliver Rotter – Game Design Teaching Assistant


Set goals and find out your why –  starting out a new semester and visualizing the journey ahead can feel overwhelming, especially coming out of the holiday season. To kickstart your motivation and not feel overwhelmed, it is wise to not only follow the school’s curriculum but set personal goals and find your personal reason for reaching them.

The stronger your reason for reaching your goals, the easier it will be to achieve them.

Have a workplace setup that fits your needs  –  this can boost your performance, and make it easier to get things started. Set up your PC, calibrate your monitor or interactive pen display. Set up a microphone and camera for remote study sessions. Make the workplace fit your ergonomic needs, have a comfy chair, get a height-adjustable table or set the monitor height to a good viewing angle. A well-adjusted working place makes studying way more fun. Especially setting up the drawing tablet, that it is in a good working position to start drawing whenever you get the inspiration.

Penny Gaubatz

Penny Gaubatz – Digital Painting Teaching Assistant


Get a routine going – map out your day so you have some relaxation time left over!

Free yourself from distractions – only take your phone out when you need it and minimize social media access if it’s too time-consuming.

Drink lots of water throughout the day – it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated when you’re not exercising.

Wear some cool blue light filter glasses if you’re staring at the computer for long periods to prevent eye strain and fatigue.

Renata Christine

Renata Christine – 3D Animation Teaching Assistant


Keep a to-do list of your tasks.

Break up your day with walks, stretches, cooking.

Hannah Fung

Hannah Fung – 2D Animation Teaching Assistant


Do hand exercises – one of the most important things–especially for artists–to do is to make sure you do your hand exercises and rest your eyes. Every 2 hours stand up and take a gander around your surroundings. Brew yourself a pot of tea/coffee or get some water.

(Note: check out the article 8 Quick Tips to Keep You Creatively Limber)

Set up a timer to save your work – you never know when the fatal crash will strike!


Niwa Jongkind

Niwa Jongkind – Digital Painting Teaching Assistant


Break up your workload into smaller tasks – monitor how much time you are spending on each task, and start breaking the workload up into bite-sized chunks. I try to set a timer on my phone every time I start working on something. I allocate a specific amount of hours to each task, this doesn’t mean I always stick to it but it’s a good starting point.

Morning or midday exercise, even if this is only 10 minutes long. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier and more motivated. In my personal experience, it helps me focus for longer periods of time.

About the school

CG Spectrum is an online animation, visual effects, digital painting, and game development school that helps get students industry ready. Through world-class career training and mentorship from industry experts who have worked on blockbuster films and best-selling games, students become well trained and prepared for a career in the entertainment industry.

With students and industry mentors in more than 60 countries, online digital art school CG Spectrum has proven how successful and effective studying online can be. And with a workforce that is increasingly more remote and free of borders, students used to studying online are in an advantageous position to transition to a remote workplace when they graduate.

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