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How to Learn Java at Home and Stay Sane. Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Self-Learning Skills

Published in the Learning Java group
Studying anything at home on your own is never easy for the obvious reason — there is no one around to watch over. No one except you, and let’s face it, most of us just can’t serve as a rigorous warden to thine own self. Studying online from home is a lot about motivation, which for some people is not easy, and for some just plain impossible. Especially when it comes to learning how to code in Java. But actually, if you dive into the topic of studying online at home a bit deeper, you will see this model has so many perks and advantages that traditional education doesn’t. Pricing, flexibility, full control over the studying process — these are all huge benefits of online education. How to Learn Java at Home and Stay Sane. Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Self-Learning Skills - 1So what stops a lot of people from reaping these benefits? The absence of self-discipline. Which is a totally solvable problem, by the way. If you think about it and do some pretty basic research, you will find so many ways to deal with this issue, helping you to learn Java (or something else) from home very effectively and relatively effortlessly (some effort is still required, can’t learn anything without it). So thinking on how to make the process of learning Java online at home as effective as possible and easy at the same time is exactly what we at CodeGhym did, and here’s a number of tips that we would like to share with you.

Self-discipline and improving your ability to focus. The Problem

Having a hard time forcing yourself to focus on studying, work or other important activity, and wasting hours and hours every week on meaningless Internet browsing, social media, games and other time-killers instead? Well, you’re not alone, all of us do, in one way or another. In today’s world, the ability to focus on a task till it is completed turns from a daily skill to a real superpower, as fewer and fewer people actually have it these days. Researchers from Canada conducted a curious study in 2013, aiming to measure how well and how long an average person is actually able to stay focused on one thing. The outcome of this study ended up to be a bit shocking. Turns out, over the last couple of decades human attention span (the average time a person is able to focus on a single task without any interruptions) has decreased drastically — from 12 to 8 seconds. In fact, these days an average person on Earth has a lower attention span than a goldfish, which is able to stay focused on something for 9 seconds on average. What a nerd, right? Does this sound a bit depressing? And more importantly, who’s to blame? You don’t need to look far for the answer. It’s us, our obsession with new technologies and easy pleasures they are able to provide. Social media posts, games, news, YouTube videos, dating apps, etc. They all fight for our attention on a daily basis. And, slowly but steadily, they are winning this battle, taking more and more of our time away from work, studying, and other important and truly beneficial activities.

How to increase your attention span?

Thank God, it is in our power to fix that, and improve the ability to focus on learning with a few simple methods and exercises.
  • Remove or limit useless and addictive activities in your daily life.
The most obvious and simple way to improve your ability to focus on important stuff is just to remove distractions and “junk” activities from your daily schedule. Your phone, for example. Here’s one of the main culprits right there. Have you ever thought of all that time and energy you are wasting when checking for new messages or notifications every 5-10 minutes? According to a recent study, the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone. Millennials spend even more time on their phones — 5.7 hours a day. If you will spend an average of 5.7 hours a day on CodeGym, you’ll become a serious and capable Java developer in no time, we can pretty much guarantee you that. That’s why it most likely will be a good idea to at least switch your phone to silent mode and turn vibration off for the time you are planning to spend learning Java diligently. Even better if you would put your mobile device somewhere far, just not to succumb to the temptation of checking for Facebook updates or chatting with a friend in a messenger.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of health.
Many people tend to underestimate the importance of health and having a proper rest to the overall learning progress. Well, you shouldn’t. In order to learn and accumulate knowledge effectively, your body needs to be in optimal operational conditions. How to achieve that? There are no any special secrets or shortcuts here: you need to give yourself enough time to sleep daily (7-9 hours at least), fix your diet (junk food and pastries are not the best choice to keep yourself fit for work), and exercising once in a while also helps (if you are not a gym kind of person, at least do some simple gymnastics or take a walk regularly).
  • Don’t push yourself too much.
Forcing yourself to study really hard and intense may also backfire, as learning is quite an energy-consuming process, so taking regular breaks and allowing yourself to take some rest is also important, mentally first of all.
  • Turn learning into a habit.
Don’t forget that learning is in fact a habit that you can develop in yourself through regular practice and forming a proper mindset. Stick to self-studying on a daily basis, and soon enough, it will turn into a habit. Science tells us it takes about 2 months on average to form a habit. Think about it: make an effort daily for just two months (or slightly more), and you will get a life-long habit of learning new things daily, which is definitely one of the most beneficial habits you can possibly get. And by the way, learning Java daily for two months only on CodeGym should be enough to master all the basics and set yourself on the right track. Some people even manage to find their first jobs as Java Junior developers after the first couple of months on CodeGym.

Tools and services to help you focus and study more effectively

Another core benefit of studying online from home is the fact that you have all the power of modern-day Internet technologies on your side. Since you’re not the only one having difficulties forcing yourself to do useful things instead of killing time and staying focused on useless stuff, most of us do, there are plenty of tools and Internet services available out there to make this task just a bit easier for you.
  • Distraction blockers.
Distraction blockers of various kinds will help to remove the most common attention grabbers you have to deal with when working on a computer: social networks, email, or news websites. If you are using Google Chrome browser like most of us, you can try StayFocusd — it’s a simple extension that allows you to limit access to certain distracting websites. Anti-Social is a nice app meant for pretty much the same thing. It allows you to temporarily block social networks and other distracting apps on your smartphone.
  • Pomodoro technique tools.
Pomodoro Technique is a simple but quite powerful time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The idea is to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, with short breaks after each interval. You can find plenty of apps and browser extensions based on this method. For example, you can try Pomodairo, an application based on Adobe Air platform, or Tomighty, a simplistic timer for Pomodoro Technique-based work.
  • Habit tracking apps and tools.
Turning learning Java online into a habit is crucially important if you want to succeed in mastering this programming language, or, let’s be realistic, at least learn it to the extent allowing you to get a well-paid job as a Java developer. There’s a number of tools with different approaches to building a habit available online these days. For example, Momentum is a simple Chrome browser extension that replaces the default new tab window with a personalized page containing todo list sidebars, helpful links, weather, and inspirational quotes, etc. Moodnotes is a curious app with an interesting approach: instead of focusing on the habit itself, it chooses to follow mental and emotional states you are in during the day, tracking how they affect your productivity, and which habits tend to be enforced more on a daily basis. Habit List, on the other hand, is a simple but powerful app with a number of tools for habit creation.
  • Study apps.
And, of course, there are plenty of services helping you to organize and structure the studying process. Well, if you are learning Java on CodeGym you won’t really need them, because our platform already has all the best self-studying techniques, applicable in learning how to program, incorporated in it. But for other ways of learning, here are several good apps and tools. My Study Life, for example, is a simple well-designed app that allows you to organize your classes, tasks, and exams, not to forget a lecture or assignment. myHomework is a nice tool to help you organize your homework. Evernote is a famous, old, but still very functional tool that allows you to capture a note or memo in any format whatsoever.

CodeGym’s own self-learning enforcement features

As we said already, when it comes to CodeGym, our platform already has some of the most effective ideas and techniques to help you learn Java from home built-in. For example, we have a coolest feature called Kick Manager. It allows you to set up your own learning schedule (you can easily adjust it any time) and get reminders about following this schedule on email. Besides that, we have lots of gamification elements, such as achievements for the progress made (they make it easier to trick your mind into thinking that learning Java is a game). You also get awarded when helping other users or answering their questions in the Help section. CodeGym users are able to easily save interesting articles and lectures in bookmarks to find them quickly and easily. And of course, we have Chat and Forum sections where you can communicate with other users. If you are so addicted to messengers and social apps, at least at CodeGym you can socialize with like-minded individuals, helping and supporting each other. These and other features were all designed and implemented to make the process of learning Java from home as easy as it gets. What you think, did we do a good job?
Comments (7)
Marcelo Epifanio Level 2, Brazil
30 November 2021
Very good article. I'm glad had read this early morning before start studying. In addition to tricks above, I would like to add another two that really help me. The first I call as "Step-by-step" method. Commonly, programming students try to learn everything at the same time. This habit cause ineffectiveness in studies and your mind will get a 404 error. An very simple way to avoid this is, go Step-by-step, ie, study one topic by time, don't worry, the subjects won't disappear. Have in mind that mastering only one topic is much substantial than knowing slightly many. Then, studying is a progressive action, first you learn something easier and its get harder. So if you try to learn the harder first, you might fail. The secound I call as "Focus on focusing on". Don't forget focusing on, ok? 😉 Joking apart, this is a very importat step to be done before every production day (studying or working) and allied to Pomodoro tchnique it's still stronger. This technique consists to emphasize on what you are focused at this specific time, ie, on what subject are you working or studing? You may repeat the answer several times (mentally or out loud) till this information adhere to your mind. So, one more time, thak you for this article.
FrogTea Level 23
29 November 2021
Like you said, it´s all about a habit, as well as everything in our life. Thanks for positive motivation 😉👍
ly6183 Level 27, New York City, United States
3 November 2020
Self-discipline is not easy, think about why you work so hard.
Chrisantus Makokha Level 32, Nairobi, Kenya
1 September 2020
Nice read
Agent Smith Level 38
31 August 2020
1. I don't know why, but stuff like this helps to focus a LOT - I'm always using it as a background noise when coding or learning. 2. Would be nice to have a "leaderboard" within the Help section on CodeGym. Some people like competition for example. Currently you can only get a few achievies for helping people out and that's it. I think a further gamification there might be a useful thing.
Surya Level 33, Newark, United States
31 August 2020
Good article !