When making the decision to study from home, you’re making the decision to invest in yourself while continuing to be there for your family.
It’s a noble decision, but a tough one as well.
Indeed, as someone who has gotten degrees both in class and online, I can attest to the fact that studying online is a whole different ball-game. Even when you think you’re someone disciplined enough to commit fully to the course, there’s going to be a time when that’s just not enough and you’re going to forget the end-game and want to give up. Or maybe it will just be a gentle, phasing out kind of thing, where you slowly spend less and less time studying, until one day you forget altogether.
No matter how it happens, sooner or later, it’s bound to.
Unless you set yourself up for success using these easy to implement tips. By doing this, you are giving yourself the chance that you deserve to really go through with it and succeed!
1 – Define some time each day or week for studying
By setting some time aside in your calendar or agenda each day or week to work on your classes, you will be less tempted to just shove them aside whenever something else comes up. To reap all the benefits of an online class (or any class, as a matter of fact), you need to commit fully. To put it down in your agenda, and keep to it.
As far as possible, try to set a time when you will be able to work, meaning not a time when the baby is up and needs the most attention.
Try to do it maybe in the mornings before everyone is up, or in the evenings when your baby daddy can help out and give you some time to focus. Or maybe afternoon nap-time is best. Give it some thought, and decide on the best time of day for you to work, and carve that time out to do exactly that.
2 – Connect with others
Try to connect with others taking the same course as you are. Though this isn’t always possible, in some cases it is, and it can be a huge asset. Connecting with people who are taking the same course will allow you to have support and someone who will keep you accountable, as well as someone you can ask questions to if you’re having trouble with your class.
Many courses now have Facebook groups you can join if you’re in the class, which is great because you’ve got a multitude of people to ask questions to and get feedback from!
3 – Identify your distractions
And find a way to deal with them that works for you. Are you inclined to spend a lot of time on the internet? Or is it Netflix that pulls you away from your books? Or perhaps the little bundle of joy you call mini-me is the worst culprit.
No matter what it is, there’s a solution.
I’ve noticed that what works best for me, no matter the distraction, is to set a timer. Even if I’ve decided that I’m going to work for two hours that day, I set the timer for 30 minutes and focus solely on what I’m doing.
When the timer goes off, I award myself with 10 minutes of which ever distraction I was avoiding. When the ten minutes are up, the timer goes back on for another 30 minutes of work.
This works really well for me because I find that 30 minutes is a very doable time-frame during which to focus, and the reward afterwards makes it all the more manageable.
If this doesn’t sound like something that would work for you, try something else! Many people are more productive away from home, so try going to a library or a coffee shop!
4 – Set small, manageable goals
By setting smaller goals than the achievement of an overall unit (if the unit is long), they seem more attainable. It’s the idea of breaking things down into small, bite-size pieces.
Sometimes, signing up to an online course can seem overwhelming, especially if you get access to the entire course in one go, and you see all that you’ve yet to accomplish.
So set smaller goals for yourself, and celebrate when you achieve them. This will motivate you and keep you feeling like you’re actually getting somewhere in the course, rather than just truddling forward in a sludge of mud.
5 – Keep your loved ones involved
Sometimes, when your course is online, it can feel like you’re not really achieving anything. Like you’ve got nothing tangible to show for your efforts, because you’re at home and spend most of your time just talking to yourself (that’s not just me, right? Of course not…)
By telling your loved ones, your family and friends about your classes, you’re not only freshening up on your curriculum, but you’re also keeping them involved, reminding them that you’re really following an online course and that you’re committed to it.
6 – Take breaks while studying
If you feel like you need a break, whether it’s a few minutes or a few days, take one.
Studying on your own can be really exhausting and mentally draining because you’ve got no one to bounce things off of and to commiserate with (unless you’ve managed to connect with others in a big way!).
When you feel like you need a break, take one. But decide ahead of time how long the break will be, and when you will resume your studying. Again, if you feel like you need to take a week off, then do just that. But decide that in a week, you will start studying again. Otherwise, you’ll fall into the “
So it’s important to know how long you’re going to stop for.
This has the added bonus of leaving you guilt-free! If you don’t decide ahead of time how long your break will be, you’ll always be hearing that darn little voice in your head telling you that you should be studying.
But if you’ve decided on a time-frame, it’s guilt-free time off!
7 – Set limits
When you’re on your own and you’re serious about finishing the course, it can be tempting to keep powering through your units to get to the end as fast as you can.
Resist the urge. Set time-limits or unit limits to yourself.
And respect them.
Decide that today you will work on your class for a couple of hours, and then you will take the baby out to the park to enjoy the beautiful weather,
And then do just that. You need to give yourself some time to breathe, or you’re going to burn out.
8 – Identify what’s motivating you
What drove you to take this online course in the first place? Was it for the career it would open up for you? Is it for the extra income you’ll be able to earn?
Try to be as precise as possible. Then, once you’ve identifyed your motivation, print out an image that reminds you of it and stick it to the wall above your computer (or wherever you’re working from) so that you see it when you raise your eyes.
I find that when I’m tired of studying and feel like quitting, when I lift my eyes and see the reason I’m doing this in the first place, my motivation comes right back to me. Then, instead of quitting, I take a break and come back to it refreshed and ready to take this sucker on!
Committing to studying from home and sticking to it to the end is tough. But by implementing these 8 easy techniques, you’re setting yourself up for success and have a head start on others who don’t!
Respect yourself and your future enough to take your online curriculum seriously. You might hate every second of it, but it will be worth it in the long run; you will never regret investing in yourself.
What about you? Are you studying from home? What are some tips that you’ve got that aren’t mentionned here? Let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,
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