You want to work full-time, fulfill your family and household duties, and get a degree—all at the same time. You’re aware that those are some pretty lofty goals, but you’re confident you can do it. You’re smart, you’re driven and you’ve already written a schedule with your short, intermediate and long-term goals. Now, the issue is how to stay motivated to stay on track and achieve each milestone. Motivation can be tough to come by if you’re not prepared and you suddenly get overwhelmed, but there are many ways you can stay inspired.
Build Your Support System
You need a support system not only to catch you when you fall, but also to lift you to new heights by motivating you to do your best. A bigger and stronger network is more reliable because you’ll have constant prompting from every direction. Here are a few potentially effective members of your support system.
• Your spouse: If you’re lucky enough to be happily married, your spouse is your best friend and life partner. Your spouse can inspire you by telling you how proud he or she is of your efforts. In addition, you can make a conscious effort to recognize the extra effort your spouse puts in to make the house run smoothly, and you can stay motivated by excelling in your studies to make all of the effort worthwhile.
• Classmates: When you are pursuing online learning, many of your classmates are in similar situations, working full-time jobs and taking care of family. You and your classmates can keep each other motivated in the virtual classroom by reminding each other about assignments and studying together. Your classmates may grow into personal friends even if you never meet them in person.
• Colleagues: Juggling work, school and life are a lot easier when you have someone from work who knows your situation and is in your corner.You’ll be able to relax and focus on being a better employee and student if you know that your colleague will be willing to swap shifts if you have an exam coming up, or who will contribute to projects on your schedule so that you can get other tasks done on time.
• Your children: Even young children are inspirational because every time you see them, you’ll be re-energized to work harder now for a better future for them. Older children who understand your situation may be your best daily study buddies. Encourage them to ask how you’re doing in school, and when they sit down to do their homework, follow their example.
Be More Efficient
Do you really feel motivated when you spend an hour doing a makeshift job with something that should have taken five minutes? You feel a lot more motivated when you accomplish your tasks quickly and well without struggling. Beside the traditional advice of having a clean workspace and removing distractions, you can take advantage of new technology to stay motivated. Using programs like Microsoft’s Microsoft’s Live@edu can make you more efficient. It has a free email account and the Moodle Learning Management System that lets you work on Microsoft Office documents online. DreamSpark is another free option; it lets you download software development programs.
You’ll feel more inspired when you feel positive. These ideas can help.
• Practice: Practice makes perfect, so act positive and you’ll really start to think more optimistically.
• Remind: Remind yourself about why you’re doing each task so that you’ll be motivated to finish.
• Reward: Set milestones and reward yourself when you hit them.
Going to school, working and taking care of a family are not for the faint of heart. You can accomplish a higher education degree in an online learning program if you stay motivated and focused. After setting your goals, try a few different approaches for motivation. If some of them don’t work, keep trying until you find a few that do.