There are many perks to studying online, but it can also take more self-discipline and motivation than attending in-person classes. With no need to go to campus for lectures and labs, it is very easy to get distracted and caught up in everyday life. Finding the motivation to study can sometimes be difficult.

Below are 10 tips to help you stay motivated while online learning at Dal. You can also use the Motivation Calculator [PDF 129 KB] to increase your motivation on-demand. 

10 tips to stay motivated 

1. Pick one thing to focus on
Take one bigger task you have to do and break it up into smaller ones. It is easier to be motivated to work when the end of a task is near and clear. 

2. Put away your tempting distractions
Turn your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb, block distracting websites, and turn off your computer if you don’t need it for your work.

3. Make use of success spirals
The idea of a success spiral is that accomplishment creates confidence, which creates more effort, which results in more accomplishment. If we set a series of ongoing, challenging, but achievable goals, we maximize our motivation. 

4. Take breaks 
It may seem strange to encourage taking breaks when talking about motivation. However, research has shown that breaks are an important part of a successful work ethic. Taking strategic breaks can refresh your mind, restore motivation and increase productivity.

5. Make sure you have energy
Just like when your muscles are exhausted, having an exhausted mind will make you feel tired and burned out. Make sure your base needs like sleeping and eating are taken care of.

6. Work at the times that are best for you
It’s easiest to tackle your work when you have the most energy, which depends on when you work best. Reserve your peak performance hours for your hardest work.

7. Pair an unpleasant task with one you find more enjoyable
If you have one assignment you want to work on and one you’re totally lacking motivation for, let yourself work – at least for a little while – on the one you like first. Once you’ve got the ball rolling and you’re in work mode, switch to the other task. Even if it’s just a small amount, you’re still making progress!

8. Treat yourself
Be sure to reward yourself for your hard work. The rewards might be small, but they can still be motivating! Don’t allow yourself rewards if you haven’t earned them!! Be honest with yourself.

9. Find an accountability buddy
Talking to another person about the things you need to get done can be a great motivator. Find a classmate or peer who can relate to your experience and help motivate you to keep going. 

10. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Sometimes you need someone else’s input to assist you in your learning. You can talk to classmates, maybe ask your TAs questions, make use of your professor’s office hours or email them… there are lots of options!