signs you're stuck in a rut and what to do about it

Online study can be a dream come true for many of us.

It gives us a chance to go back to school later in life, without worrying about feeling uncomfortable in the classroom. It allows us to study around our jobs, ensuring our financial security and enabling us to afford expensive education.

It gives parents and those with other commitments a chance to study in their own time, without having to rely on childcare and outside help. And it gives people the opportunity to change career in later life when they’d have otherwise been stuck doing something that no longer makes them happy.

Online study has opened the door to education for many people that wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

But, it’s not always as easy as you might think.

Of course, studying a higher education course like an online msw degree is never going to be a walk in the park. Especially if you’ve been out of education for a long time. But, it’s not just the content that people find difficult.

People that study online often have trouble with productivity and procrastination without a strict timetable or study plan.

They put things off, they leave important assignments until the last minute, and they find it hard to focus when the distractions of family life surround them.

Education is expensive and exhausting, but it’s also rewarding and a way to better yourself and get more from your life. So, it’s well worth it.

To make sure you are able to get the most out of the opportunity to study online it’s crucial that you learn to manage your time.

Stick to a Routine

Structure and routine are essential. Without it, we’re a little bit lost, and we find it hard to get into the right mindset to do what we need to.

At school, you know when you have to work and when you are free. When you study at home with no apparent structure, it can be hard to focus.

So, build your own routine.

Take a look at your schedule and other commitments and set time aside to work when you can. Allow yourself flexibility when you need it but stick to your routine as much as possible, and you’ll find it much easier to work.

Get out of the House

my best practices to stay productive while living the laptop lifestyle

If you find that you struggle to work from home when distraction surrounds you or that you’ll even do the washing to avoid work, get out.

Studying online doesn’t mean that you have to study at home. If you’ve got kids, obviously you’ll need to be in until your partner is home or use a childminder. But, get out for a few hours when you can.

Some find it easier to work in coffee shops, others libraries. And some people find they are more productive when they’ve hired a co-working space as they don’t want to waste their money.

Try a few things out to see what works best for you.

Set Yourself Targets

When you study online, you still have deadlines for work and assignments. But, to stop yourself leaving the bulk of the work it’s a good idea to set yourself smaller goals.

You could read so many chapters a day. Or complete research for an assignment in a few hours and then set yourself word count targets when you’ve got a lot on.

Write a daily to-do list with your goals and don’t stop until you get there. Then, reward yourself with a treat.

Read also: 8 Tips to Help You Balance a Job and Online Study

Ask for Help

Studying at home is tough. Especially if you are trying to do it around your family and job.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can do it all on your own without any help.

You’ll just get stressed out, make yourself ill and start to feel like you are failing. Which will result in you getting even less done.

Instead, ask for help when you need it.

You’ll have the support of tutors that you can email or video call if you are struggling or need a little extra help. You also have friends and family that can help with your other responsibilities or just be there to hear you vent. You just need to ask.

Get an Accountability Buddy

Working alone can be hard. There’s no one to ask how you are doing or give you a boost.

Most online courses have forums and chat rooms set up. Join them, get to know other people studying the same course and ask someone to be your buddy.

Someone that you can set targets with and to help you stick to them. This little motivation boost can be a massive help.