Six tips to stay motivated as an online student

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One of the major benefits of studying online is that it gives you the flexibility to plan your studies around your personal and professional commitments. However, with this freedom and convenience also comes the responsibility and accountability for your own learning. As an online student, you need to develop some strategies to motivate yourself and beat procrastination when it hits.

1. Begin with the end in mind

Why did you decide to study? Is it to change careers, obtain a promotion or help your family? Setting goals can be powerful for visualising your future and motivating yourself to complete your studies in order to achieve them.

Mindtools provides some useful information and exercises to help you set SMART goals. Keep a list of these goals somewhere visible so that you can refer to them when you need a boost. Focusing on the end result of your studies when you are struggling will help you to get through challenging times.

2. Plan your schedule

Planning a realistic schedule will help you manage your time well, juggle your competing priorities, avoid procrastination and reduce stress.

Monash Online units last six weeks and you should plan your daily activities for each of those weeks using a diary, mobile app or a calendar tool such as our Study Time Planner. Start by listing all your daily activities, including work, commuting, and other routine activities. Then add your fixed course-related activities such as online classes, and assessment deadlines. Finally, block out time for studying and include goals of what you will achieve in each study block. Make sure to plan for enough time to meet your deadlines in case of unexpected delays.

Finally, don’t forget to include breaks in your schedule to recharge your batteries and maintain that motivation to study!

3. Find a motivating workspace

Finding a conducive place to work is important for maintaining concentration on your studies. If you are easily distracted by noise, the TV, refrigerator or comfortable bed, go to your local library, or favourite cosy café. If you don’t want to leave the house, set up your workspace in a way that makes you feel energised. Choose a quite spot and fill it with things that lift your mood, such as pictures, plants or colourful stationary. Also ensure that you have a comfortable, ergonomic chair to support your posture and adequate lighting, or create a standing desk using a bookshelf or adjustable table.

4. Get support

There may be times when you will need to seek support from others to keep you going. Remember that you can seek help from your family, friends, course convenors and Monash Online’s Student Support Team.

Students who discuss their course with their family and friends are more likely to complete the course according to this US News article. Discuss your goals with them and get them to share daily responsibilities so that you have more time to focus on your studies.

If you are struggling with your coursework, reach out to your convenors. Also keep your Monash Online Student Support Advisor’s contact details handy. Our friendly team are there to support you through your studies and can provide you with study tips, tools and resources to motivate you and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

5. Connect with others

Studying online need not be a lonely experience just because you are not on a campus. Sharing and discussing information with your peers can inspire and motivate as you learn about new ideas and perspectives from people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Log onto our various discussion forums, such as Yammer, or social media groups to interact with your classmates and feel part of the Monash University community.

6. Reward Yourself

All work and no play can lead to burn out fast. Reward yourself whenever you achieve mini-goals such as completing an assessment or finishing a whole unit. Rewards can be as small as taking a short break to watch your favourite TV show to going out to a nice restaurant with your friends when you complete a unit. Taking time off to celebrate your achievements will go a long way to motivating yourself to make it all the way to graduation.