By Bridie McArthur
I’ve been learning remotely for about a month. To be honest, it’s been kind of a hot mess — hallmarked by glitchy Zoom calls, frantic emails, and a heavy dose of panic. I’ve also discovered that I’m super bad at resisting distraction with no teachers around, that it’s not a good idea to have my workspace located so close to the pantry, and that the search for motivation seems never-ending.
I’ve struggled with the transition to remote learning and especially with motivating myself. It feels weird to be doing an assignment when people are sick and struggling financially. However, life goes on and school goes on.
I’ve been finding ways to boost my own motivation, though; this is what I’ve found works for me.
Setting a routine, lists, and regular breaks have been helpful. I wake up early, work out, have breakfast, then at about 9am I’ll start my school day; I usually stop around 3.30–4.30pm. On Sunday nights I make a weekly list that set out the tasks for that week, and daily lists that set out the tasks I’m aiming to complete that day. My routine is a lot more flexible than my school timetable which I like, but I know that for some people the timetable keeps them on track. Do what works for you!
Regular breaks are key to my routine also. I get antsy and distracted if I force myself to work for long blocks of time, so I’ll work on a task until I’m done/sick of it, then I take a break, and I usually eat, do a workout video, etc.
It’s been difficult to separate school from home when school is home. Exercise has become really important in furthering that separation and boosting motivation. As the best student of our time (Elle Woods) said, ‘Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy’.
I try to start my day with a workout and/or work in intermittent exercise breaks throughout the day. You’d think it would be hard to work out when you’re stuck at home, but YouTube has your back. I love MadFit’s dance workout videos. Also, don’t underestimate a walk! I go for a walk every day to move my body and escape the confines of my house for the contraband and now-alluring outdoors.
I’ve also been filling up my time by listening to podcasts: NYT’s Sugar Calling, the Shameless Podcast, and Keep It Cleaner’s KIC Pod are my favourites! It’s also been important to check in with my friends.
I’ve approached this whole crazy situation with a Nike-esque mindset; i.e. just do it. If I just force myself to do it, to at least start, whatever ‘it’ may be gets done a whole lot quicker. Motivation can only get you so far — self-discipline is important too.
I think the most important thing right now is to be patient with yourself. It’s okay to be struggling with motivation right now; at the very least, I’d suggest everyone tries to set a routine, take regular breaks, exercise and check in with their friends.