Setting Goals and Staying Motivated
How to keep focused and stay motivated during your online studies
Online learning is great. You get to learn at your own pace, on your own time, and if you take full advantage of your teachings, you come out well versed in your chosen industry and you have a solid foundation for an exciting career!
But that’s only if you graduate.
Since online learning is self-paced, your inner procrastinator will inevitably speak up sooner or later. It can be hard to shut up that voice and stay focused throughout your studies.
Unlike high school or even college, no one will stay on your case and give you deadlines. No one will be upset if you don’t show up for class. You really have to motivate yourself and keep going until you reach that finish line!
Lucky for you, here are a few tips that can help!
The flexibility of online learning can make planning for your course a little challenging. Some QC students complete their entire program within 2 months, while others take the full three years!
Where do you want to be on that scale? Perhaps you already have a job and a family and intend on taking a year or two to complete the course, which is just fine. On the other hand, you might need this certificate to get a job ASAP.
Whatever your situation, set a goal for yourself. Write it down in a calendar or day planner.
Note: Though you have up to three years to complete any QC course, we suggest you set your target date of completion no more than two years out. That way if something happens and you are set back, you’ll still have plenty of time to catch up!
Make a plan
Once you receive your course materials, read through your course guides and make a list of all the assignments you have to complete.
Now grab a calendar and give yourself due dates for all these assignments. You can do this by hand, in a google calendar, or any other software you use to keep you organized. Myself, I’m a huge fan of Trello and Asana. Both have lists, due dates, calendar integrations, email reminders, and just about everything you need to stay organized.
If you’re interested in checking out other tools that help you keep organized, read this: 10 great apps to stay organized.
Note: Make sure you give yourself realistic deadlines! Really think about how much time each assignment will take, then give yourself a buffer on top of that.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
You probably enrolled in an online course because you think it will bring you closer to your dream job, right? So why wait until after graduation to get started?
Instead of looking at your online course as yet another roadblock before you can truly dive into the industry, try treating every assignment as real-world industry experience. Become a professional before you even graduate: get a few clients and work on their projects pro-bono to help build your portfolio. There are quite a few people out there who will entertain students in the industry for a discount, however they will still expect a very high standard of work.
TIP: If you’re worried about staying motivated, make a list of the reasons why completing your course is important to you, and keep it somewhere visible!
This is the real world, darling, and delays will inevitably happen. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t complete an assignment on time or you’re falling behind on your school work.
Instead, use delays as an opportunity to make you a better planner. Take out your calendar (whichever one you’re using), and update future due dates based on what you’ve now learned. You might want to think about giving yourself a greater buffer between assignments, or lengthening the time spent on each unit.
If you’re overwhelmed, there’s no shame in asking for help. QC’s student support team is available to help you work through course assignments whenever you need that extra hand.
But it doesn’t stop there. If the road block is a personal one, try talking to friends or family about your hiccups and to get some encouragement. Even if you confirm with your friends that you were born to be a makeup artist, designer, or writer… it might be a much needed boost to keep going!
Celebrate your Accomplishments
If motivation is a problem for you, take the time to celebrate your progress. When you complete a reading or an assignment, reward yourself with a snack, a walk, a favorite movie, whatever you love to do!
Don’t be afraid to turn off for a day or two. If you schedule breaks, you’re less likely to stop half-way through a reading or assignment!
It’s easy to be motivated with something that’s fun. Whether you’ve enrolled in QC’s makeup artistry, event planning, design, or writing programs, it must be because you have a passion for that line of work.
So have fun with your assignments!
Create a makeup look you’ve always wanted to try, and get your tutor’s feedback on how it can be improved. Or redecorate your bedroom (possibly for the 15th time), and send the pictures to your interior decorating tutor for valuable insight. Write a short story about something that fascinates you.
Any of these sound like fun? Work them into your school assignments!
As Greg Anderson once said, “When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live.”
So if your school work is on the path to your dream career, keep that in mind as you complete your work and don’t give up!