Guest Author - Patricia Pedraza-Nafziger
With a difficult and long term goal such as a college education it is important to have an incentive to keep you motivated. Whether youíre trying to eat healthier, exercise more, or quit smoking, the ultimate goal is improved health and a greater chance for a longer life. Distance Learning students face particular challenges in this respect because they lack the scheduled times to attend class, listen to lectures, complete reading assignments, and participate in discussions. Time management falls entirely on the student, and motivational support is an independent effort. Staying focused on your degree is a great way to maintain motivation, but with all the stresses and distractions surrounding you on a daily basis, keeping focused on what needs to be done is not always an easy task.
By nature, human beings are easily distracted, and today there are an abundance of impediments diverting their attention such as family, work, cell phones, text messages, social media, TV, video games, random thoughts, hunger pains, and simply boredom. Staying focused and motivated to complete your coursework and degree program takes planning. Try removing all distractions before you sit down to begin your study session. Although Iím a huge fan of learning, my lack of desire for completing coursework is apparent. Take a personal example, I find myself trying to complete all my daily tasks before I begin to study, by doing so Iíve wiped my slate clean leaving nothing in my path to distract my thought process when I finally do attend to my coursework. This process eliminates most distractions, so when I enter my study environment I can dedicate all my attention to my coursework or writing. But don't let yourself turn eliminating distractions into avoiding your work.
Your selected study environment should be one that makes your thought process flourish. Do you have a place where you typically study, a place that allows your ideas to percolate? Individuals thrive in different types of environments. Some prefer the atmosphere of a busy coffee shop, and some the solitude of a quiet room sitting next to a window filled with views that enhance their imagination. This is a very personal choice. Discovering the environment that works best for you is essential, and using that environment on a regular basis will help you develop a routine that will continue to stimulate your motivation.
Completing your weekly coursework is an accomplishment in itself, but sometimes it helps to spice up those accomplishments with a small reward, whether something relaxing or something exciting. For instance, if you have a number of TV shows you record on a weekly basis, postpone viewing them until youíve completed your coursework. Perhaps you enjoy playing a round of golf once or twice a week. Plan those tee times after your designated coursework times. Without your schoolwork hanging over your head, a round of golf can then feel like a real reward. Whatever reward you choose as motivation, always try to remember the reasons inspiring you to go to college in the first place. Never forget your degree.