Long-term online learning is not as easy as it first seems.

Learning online for a long time can lead to mental burnout, and often turns your mind to give up.

As we all know, online courses are becoming more popular and offer opportunities to busy, distant people, or those with family responsibilities, or during a lockdown period.

ELearning is a great opportunity, as it saves time, is more convenient and accessible.

The key to the success of long-term online studies, whether you’re studying in higher education or want to learn a language, a skill, or working remotely, is applying a few simple strategies to keep up your motivation.

Study SmarterNot Harder

by Kevin Paul

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In addition to its benefits, online learning requires more self-discipline and self-motivation than traditional lessons. At home, you can be easily distracted by your family, notifications on your phone, inbound emails, and the frequent visits to the fridge? (Just a quick check, maybe someone filled the fridge during this half-hour since you looked at it? Sounds familiar?).

It is easier to mix learning with daily remote work and everyday life. You don’t have to get ready; you can even stay in your pajamas all day. Borders are blurring.

a woman opens the fridge

But it is perfectly normal. We all experience ups and downs.

The body is looking for the usual patterns, and any change is difficult. These feelings are a kind of defense against new things, whether it is the transition from traditional education to online learning or acquiring a new skill or a language.1

John Assaraf explains it in his book, the Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power.

 

In this post, you will get to know 21 strategies on how to stay motivated while you are learning online, avoid feeling down and boost your inspiration.

 

What is Motivation?

a mug written be the best version of you

It is better to define first what motivation is.

Motivation is the driving force behind our actions, our willingness, and our goals. Our needs and desires are shaped by culture, society, childhood, lifestyle, or innate. An individual’s motivation can be inspired by external forces (extrinsic motivation) or themselves (intrinsic motivation).

Psychologically, motivation is a process in which thoughts influence behavior. Most psychological theories argue that motivation exists purely within the individual. Still, socio-cultural theories express motivation as a result of participation in actions and activities in the cultural context of social groups.2

 

What Causes the Lack of Motivation?

Now you know that motivation is the driving force behind our actions, which are influenced by our inner desires and dreams or some external force.

If the inner desire or the external pressure is lower, the motivation also decreases. If there is no expectation or the reward is not high enough, inspiration can easily fade away.

a man is bored and tired of learning online

Reasons Why You Possibly Lack Motivation

  • It is not entirely clear for you what your purpose/goal is with your studies.
  • You are not specific enough about the pace and way you want to learn.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: too many tasks caused by procrastination or too high expectations.
  • Tend to procrastinate, which is frustrating: if you do not complete your assignments on time, after a while, there will be too many unfinished projects.
  • Disappointment due to too high goals, and expectations, there is no sense of success, no progress.
  • The level is too low and easy to get bored. There is no challenge.
  • You don’t manage your time well. But the time doesn’t come back. You better think about in advance how you allocate your time.

It is helpful first to identify and understand why you feel unmotivated.

And when it is done, let’s look at how you can maintain your inspiration.

 

Here are the 21 Simple Strategies on How to Stay Focused and Motivated While Learning

a couple doing yoga online

1. Find the Original Reasons Why you Started

What is your goal? Do you want to get a certification, such as a university degree, or change your career, take a better job, or acquire a new skill to raise your salary or start your own business?

Think about your original purpose, why you started to study. What does this course or certificate give you towards your desired goals? When you remind yourself that you’re on the right track, it’s easier to get yourself off the couch and get started.

It won’t last forever, it’s just a certain period of your life and career, but you can’t move to the next level without it.

2. Prepare your Mind by Getting Up Earlier

I guess you’ve heard it several times to get up earlier so you can condition your mind and mood early in the morning.

But do you really take time for yourself before you rush into work?

In his book, The Miracle Morning- The 6 habits that will transform your life before 8 a.m. by Hal Elrod, he explains how important the morning routine is to get out of depression and maintain motivation. I can recommend it to read if you wish to create healthy morning routines.3

Your mind needs to warm up, as does your body, before work out.

Make a cup of green tea or a coffee, read your affirmations, meditate, visualize your goals, work out, do yoga, or stretch early in the morning. Make it a habit to practice any or all of these practices.

3. Condition your Body

Take care of your hygiene. Take a nice shower, brush your teeth, get ready just like you would for a traditional class.

Don’t stay in your pajamas all day. I know you’ve heard many times how fun it is to stay in your panties or pajamas all day long. But you will instead feel lazy and stay in resting mode this way.

Wear the clothes you would wear at your workplace or a traditional lesson. This simple trick will boost your desire to learn, increase your self-confidence and motivation. Once you’re done with your daily study, change back to your comfortable clothes, switch to resting mode again.

4. Tidy Up and Create an Inspiring Environment

It can be hard to focus in a mess, in the middle of chaos. Stay organized.

It’s best to arrange your things, be it paper or folders and files on your device, every day after studying. You will be much more eager to start learning the next day if you leave your study corner clean and tidy.

modern home office

Create a nice, well-lit, and comfortable station only for your studies. If you like plants place some around. I can also recommend creating a study vision board and place it close to your or behind your computer to motivate you to achieve your degree, certificate, or skill.

Here you can find help on how to create your vision board: Vision Board Guide for Beginners.

5. Change your Sourrondings

Changing your environment can help you step out of your usual routine. If you start to feel that learning is not effective, certain things distract you, or you don’t feel inspired by the environment, switch!

Try another room or the balcony, garden, kitchen. You will see that you are performing differently in a different environment. If the usual study corner has not been thriving, check out if the kitchen table will be more motivating

 

6. Just Get Started

Just start learning whether you feel like it or not. The first step is always the hardest, but once you’ve set it in motion the more, you will be encouraged.

Turn on your computer, start reading a few sentences, start a video, or have a video chat or call with colleagues. Once you begin with your daily responsibilities, the momentum comes automatically.

a woman start to study on her pc

It is the Law of inertia, or also called Newton’s First Law: if a body is at rest or moves in a straight line at a constant speed, it also remains at rest or continues to move in a straight line at a constant speed, unless it is affected by an external force.4

It means that you will also remain in rest if you are at rest, but if you move in motion, you will stay in motion. When your thoughts, your mind inspires you from the inside to force your body to move, and you start learning, you keep the momentum, and you soon realize that it’s not that bad or hard, and you have the mood to learn.

7. Eat Healthily

Eat healthily, drink plenty of water, exercise enough. It is essential that you eat nutritious foods to help your brain function. Your brain needs a lot of calories and vitamins to work, so choose foods that help. For example, eating a huge and heavy meal takes a lot of energy, less blood flows into our brain, and makes learning more difficult.

best foods for brain

Best food for brain and memory consumed in moderation: fatty fishes, dark chocolate, coffee, blueberries, broccoli, nuts, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, green tea, oranges, and eggs. Read more about healthy food for the brain.5,mind6

I can recommend my two favorite books on this topic, to get to know more about the best foods for brain function:

If you stay mentally and physically healthy, you increase your performance, focus, and concentration. If you feel that it is difficult to pay attention to what you eat, then taking different supplements, like Brain Boost by Nootrix, will also help your brain function and boost your performance.

8. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is vital for proper brain work.

Exercise improves blood flow and memory. It stimulates chemical changes in the brain that positively affect learning, mood, and thinking. Furthermore, the development of various diseases reduced by frequent workouts.

More blood and fresh oxygen flow to the brain by enhancing your circulation, which helps with learning. Whether you move in the morning or evening, do it at least four times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. If you choose evenings as your workout time, refreshing yoga or stretching in the morning is recommended to start your blood circulation and oxygen flow early in the morning.

The recommended best exercises for brain functionality: fast walking, running, swimming, and interval exercises.

a young couple jogging in a park

9. Take a Walks and Natural Light Daily

Get outside daily to take fresh air and natural light, if it is possible sunlight, for at least 10-20 minutes every day. You can go for a walk in your breaks between 2 learning sessions.

Walking boosts your blood flow, which helps you revive and recharge. Any form of exercise benefits your physical and mental health.

10. Meditate Regularly

We can increase our level of motivation through regular meditation.

Meditation helps keep our concentration high, clear our thoughts, helps to release everyday worries, and focus on what we really want. It unquestionably increases our level of inspiration and allows us to take action to get the results we want.

a woman is meditating

11. Visualize

When you feel frustrated or overwhelmed, visualize that you have already achieved the expected result or learned that necessary skill and you are already on your way towards your goals.

It grows your self-esteem and inspires you to continue.

You can use the help of your vision board, it is a great tool to focus your attention on your studies.

12. Daily Affirmations are Helpful

Affirmations are positive statements that can help us overcome negative thoughts and focus on our goals.

Start and end your day with encouraging affirmations. This way, you can focus better on your goals. Read your morning affirmations right after waking up or with your coffee to boost your energy throughout the day. Read your night affirmations directly before you fall asleep. While you sleep, your subconscious is working on solutions to achieve your goals.

13. Sleeping Well is Vital

Sleep plays a vital role throughout our lives. Getting the right amount and quality of sleep at the right time protects our mental and physical health and quality of life.

Lack of sleep negatively affects our motivation. It causes drowsiness, decreased energy, and difficulty concentrating. It takes more energy to maintain focus and self-discipline.

a young lady is wearing sleeping mask to sleep well

14. Take regular breaks to recharge

Aim for work-life balance. Don’t let things overwhelm you. Find time to recharge.

If you study for a long time without a break, your mind becomes exhausted. Your brain also needs to rest. Regular short breaks after every 50-90 minutes of learning depend on the subject and concentration required and help you stay motivated.

Take a walk, breathe fresh air, make a nice coffee, stretch your body. Switch off, so you can focus more while you are in front of your studies.

a young lady is stretching

Taking regular breaks helps in retaining information and improving focus and attention.

15. Set Up Realistic Goals

If you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, you may want to break down the learning process into small steps and set small, achievable goals.

You can even plan the learning rhythm of each curriculum. You may then want to track your goals by describing them, creating a spreadsheet to track your progress.

a calendar and a goal setting book

16. Create a Learning Schedule

Distance learning allows you to learn at your own pace with commitment. However, it is easy to confuse distance learning with rest time if you are not pre-planned.

Take breaks from time to time. However, when there is dedicated learning time, focus on learning, when there is a break or relaxing time, do not deal with the curriculum or any work. Let your brain stay in diffuse mode and recharge.

Use planners to help you allocate your time:

Learn more about scheduling in our blog post, in the 8 steps Daily Planning Guide.

If you have a schedule, it increases the likelihood of success and helps you stay motivated to achieve your goals.

17. Prioritize your tasks

Using the help of the Eisenhower Matrix, the famous productivity strategy, and decision-making tool, you can easily prioritize your tasks according to their importance or urgency.

eisenhower matrix

    • Do it: urgent and important tasks (do it right now)
    • Decide: important but not urgent (schedule it in advance for later)
    • Delegate: urgent, but not important (give it to someone else)
    • Delete: neither urgent nor important (eliminate)

18. Reward yourself and Review your Progress

Celebrate every small achievement whenever you complete a module or a project. Many students mistake completing one module, task, or exam and jumping into another right away. Stop for a while, review, and reward yourself. You deserve it.

At the end of every course or module, take the time to recognize and evaluate your results, whether you have completed a minor assignment or a major exam. It will help you systematize what you have learned and maintain a positive attitude and motivation.

19. Be social

As you don’t meet your classmates or instructors face to face, it can often seem like your only friend is your computer.

To avoid feeling isolated, make it a habit to keep in touch with your fellow mates and tutors. You can use email, community groups, chat forums, and connect with your peers via video conference where you can share your ideas, jokes, feelings, and problems, looking for a solution together.

It helps maintain your mood and reinforces your commitment to the course.

20. Share your Knowledge and Teach Others

Talk about the course with your friends and family. Share what you learned.

If your classmates get stuck, help them, teach them, share if they need something when stuck. You will also get this back if required. They motivate each other as much as they can.

Sharing knowledge with others can help build a sense of self-confidence and value, further encouraging you to continue the course.

21. Accept Help When Needed

If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted for a long time from studying online you can count on the help of your instructors, fellow students, or any of your friends and family members you trust in.

By telling others how we feel about the situation can help. Reconsidering other aspects can give new meaning to our studies.

 

Final Thoughts on the 21 strategies of maintaining motivation

Finding self-motivation and self-discipline is often a difficult task. When there is a lack of external motivation through traditional lessons, the social environment, the encouragement of classmates, the energy and expectations of the instructors, and the upcoming exams, more effort is required to maintain the pace of learning and enthusiasm.

Using these 21 simple strategies to help you stay on track and enjoy your online learning.

 

Sources

(1) Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power by John Assaraf
(2) Definition of Motivation in Wikipedia
(3) The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
(4) The Law of Inertia in Britannica
(5) Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere
(6) Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Lisa Mosconi PhD

 

Which of the above rules do you think best encourages you to stay motivated? Let us know in the comments below.