Studying for Success: Seeking Motivation During a Pandemic

computer and backpack on the floor

By Kaelyn Emslie | Learning Support Centre Student Success Mentor

Do you ever have days where you just can’t seem to get moving? Same here. In fact, sometimes it takes me an extra hour in the morning to just get started. Learning in an online environment gives us the opportunity to have flexibility, but it can also cause us to procrastinate and do minimal work. Having a head start on my work, and staying on top of it, makes me feel great. So, the question is, how can I keep myself motivated?

  1. Pretend You Are Physically Going to School.

    We have all said things like “I have time later, I will just do it then”, “I’ll just wear my pajamas, I’m not leaving the house” or “I can do this lecture in bed”. But the truth is, this is not helping you. I’m guilty of doing these things too, don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s easy to fall into; however, when we are allowing ourselves to get into these habits, it gives us the opportunity to procrastinate.

    Things like making a routine to get up at the same time every day, finding a space away from your bed and other distractions and organizing when you can get your schoolwork done are all things that can be implemented into our at-home lifestyle. This can help you stay focused and get you into a mindset that is ready to work.

  2. Stay Accountable.

    If you struggle with finding your own routine, have a friend or peer keep you accountable. You can ask someone to make sure you have gotten out of bed at a certain time or ensure you have completed tasks you wanted to get done.

  3. Set Small, Attainable Goals.

    Making a daily or weekly to-do list can help you get your work done. Every time I can cross something off my list, it makes me feel accomplished! Having this can help motivate you to want to continue to complete homework and assignments. You can also incorporate a deadline for yourself, so that you know you are getting your work done in a timely fashion.

  4. Incorporate Non-School Related Activities into Your Schedule.

    Whether it be something like painting, recreational reading, going for a socially distanced walk/hike or having a Zoom call with your friends, it’s important that you incorporate these activities into your week so you can take breaks and have fun! Having a balance in your schedule can make it easier to focus when you are working.

Remember the Bigger Picture:

  1. What have you accomplished up to this point?
  2. Why did you start this program?
  3. What will be the outcome?

I like to ask myself these questions often. Living during these historical times, it can be easy to lose sight of why you wanted to start in the first place. Having a reminder like this is small, but it can be very influential to your mindset. Reminding yourself of your goals and the outcome of the program can help put things into perspective for you. This can be enough for me to finish that last bit of an assignment early or get started on a new project at that moment. Don’t forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed.

I know it can be hard to want to stay engaged with learning, especially when a lot of things we usually love, we aren’t able to do. However, this is a good time to gain a sense of self-responsibility, as well as create other tools that help you get important work/chores done. So, are you ready to start that assignment now?

For more information and tips to help you succeed, check out Keys to Success or consider booking an appointment with me or the other Student Success Mentors!