Sometimes getting study motivation is like playing hide-and-seek when it comes to online learning, only… it’s really good at hiding, right?
We get it. We see it and hear about it all the time from our students who are struggling to get started, or keep going, on their online studies for the Cert IV TAE or the Diploma of Training and Assessment.
Well hopefully this blog will help, after all, we’ve been doing this online learning thing for over a decade so we may know a few things about it.
Firstly, study motivation can sometimes be a bit like reasoning with a 3 year old… If you know the right tactics, you can win! But it’s often a game of hard core strategy, plus a few cups of patience and a decent amount of creativity, to win.
So we’ve come up with a small list of things to try to encourage your motivation to study to come out and play. Nicely even.
Start by asking yourself questions and going deeper into the answers:
–> Why are you spending your time and energy even doing this?
–> What is this going to lead you to that is better than what you have now (this is pretty much the main reason we do anything like this)? Is it to get a better job or different career path?
–> More money or more time for life stuff? To save for a house, wedding or amazing holiday somewhere tropical with nothing but sun, sand and turquoise sea? Or is that last one just me…?
Whatever you think it is, go a bit deeper and ask “and why do I want that?” Once you get that answer, ask the same question; “and why do I want THAT?”, until there is just nowhere deeper to go.
If one of your initial answers was “more money”, but when you asked why you wanted that, you got “I want more freedom of time to spend with loved ones and enjoying life”,then doing it for the money won’t have as strong a motivation as focusing on “freeeeeeeeedommmmm!!!”
This is how you get to the core of your why. Keep asking yourself why you really want it!
Our why; our purpose; our reason is a big part of the fuel behind anything we choose to do that requires a sacrifice of time, money and energy to do it. Be it to study, launch a business, lose weight, or conquer a fear, only those with the strongest why (and least amount of focus on the reasons not to), will actually achieve it.
This isn’t always easy to do, particularly if the topic or module of your current study is as mind numbing as being on hold for 2 hours and listening to the same 30 second tune looping and looping… and looping. Ugh.
So if you can’t change the content but you still have to get through it, change the things you can control to boost your study motivation, like your environment.
Put your favourite music on in the background so you can be internally dancing while you do your online learning, but if you can’t concentrate with those epic songs because you keep stopping for random air guitar riffs, or to sing your heart out on your imaginary stage, maybe find something a little less awesome but still gets you chair grooving.
There are also lots of music options designed to help with focus (using binaural beats or certain frequencies) that apparently help with concentration. Now we can’t confirm if this is true or not, we’re experts in the Cert IV TAE, not music therapy.
Wear your most comfortable clothes! Drag out that super soft unicorn onesie, or your favourite t-shirt and shorts that’ve been worn so much they have holes and stitching that’s come undone. Hell, go naked if that’s your jam, but be comfortable!
Then find somewhere awesome, or comfy, to study in. Grab your laptop and hit the best couch in the house with yummy some brain-fueling snacks, or sit outside in nature if that feels better. Maybe sitting at your favourite cafe, sipping a luscious latte is an easier place for you to study. Wherever you go, let it be somewhere you really enjoy being.
Sometimes the biggest block for study motivation is thinking about how much online learning you still have to do, and how many hours you might have to sit there studying, so…
The key here is to pick a short amount of time that feels really easy to do, like 5 – 20 minutes. It just has to be enough to get you started, and then it’s more likely the “well, since I’m here…” part can kick in.
Pretty soon the “I’ll just do this next part…” starts, and before you know it, you’ve done a few hours and all you had to tell yourself is that you had to just do 5/10/15/20 minutes.
This one works well (weirdly) even though you know you’re just lying and tricking yourself into doing a lot more. But who are we to argue with what actually works?
Doing anything for long periods of time is draining and that’s when any kind of study motivation also goes down the drain. Break it up into smaller chunks and take breaks. But not so many breaks that it’s more like the study time is the break from the breaks… right?
Study motivation is a LOT easier when your energy is running high and you’re practically bouncing off the walls (although we don’t recommend it… bouncing off walls that is).
There is an exception to that last part… There are times where just thinking about having to study drains your energy, so don’t mistake this as meaning it’s time to recharge, no, no, no. This is your brain’s clever way of giving you an out. This is where you have to be honest with yourself and then choose to do a switch-a-roo.
Get your favourite music on and turn it up so you want to dance, sing, or do something that makes you MOVE! Movement and fun create energy, then you can use that energy to motivate you to study. See? No naps required. Try it and send us a photo of your best air guitar or impression of your favourite singer, we’d love to see them.
Oh and eat good food that’s got a decent amount of protein and good fats in it so you aren’t getting the drop in blood sugar. Sugary stuff will give you a short burst of energy but we promise you, the crash will come and it will get really hard, really fast. Research some brain-fueling snacks to help you (hmm, we might have to do a post on that… Watch this space!)
This is a great one to do if you can manage it. Anyone else who is studying is good, they don’t have to be doing the same subject or even be doing online learning.
There’s this magic study and focus mojo that gets generated by being around others who are studying. It more easily kicks us into wanting to study when we’re there and often lasts longer than if we were by ourselves.
If you can get together with someone doing the same training, bonus! Plus if the person/people you choose to study with are people you really like to be around, it will definitely increase your motivation to study.
Or to distraction…
Realistically, this is one that can go one of 2 ways… Either it can work REALLY well or it can go very sideways into having a great time just hanging out. Which, if we’re honest, is a whole lot of fun, but not so productive.
This happens if no-one in the group is actually doing any study, interested in doing any study, or are a bunch of people who are too easily distracted from studying… Squirrel!
At the end of the day, we have a lot of control over our motivation, even if it doesn’t feel like it at times. It really just comes down to the choices we make; what we choose to focus on and the actions we take. So bribe it, trick it or just choose it, the results of being motivated and committed to getting your study done, will be well worth it!