How to stay motivated and productive during remote learning this term

Welcome Crew mentor Divyena Thakkar shares her top tips, from power naps to big-picture planning
February 19, 2021
By Divyena Thakkar

Young woman sitting in front of a large television screen, on a zoom call. Divyena Thakkar: “Planning for the future gives you room to dream and build exciting opportunities.”

Divyena Thakkar is an undergraduate finance student and Welcome Crew mentor.

Pat yourself on the back for making it halfway through the term — you are doing an amazing job so far! We’re heading toward the end of February, with assignment deadlines and midterms looming. If you’re feeling a slight dip in motivation, you are not alone.

As a Welcome Crew mentor and a fellow Concordia student, I am happy to share some tips that have helped me stay productive and motivated in the past and are still working during this online term.

Tip 1: Connect with your classmates

Joining study groups and associations and meeting like-minded students are all great ways to keep yourself motivated. Study groups with your classmates often give you an urge to help each other out, which also helps you to stay on track with your coursework.

Your department or even your specific program likely has an active student association. Getting plugged into a group of people who chose the same major as you could spark conversations that inspire you and generate even more excitement about what you’re learning.

Tip 2: Set your schedule

As coursework and deadlines accumulate, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I find it helpful to make a weekly schedule and jot down my priorities and upcoming assignment deadlines, and then stick them on the bulletin board in front of my study table. This gives me a clear visual understanding of what’s coming. Knowing that I have a specific block of time to complete a task motivates me to get moving.

Tip 3: Think about the future

Sometimes looking at the “big picture” helps you get through the immediate tasks at hand. For example, at Concordia you can do things like internships, co-op placements, case competitions and international exchanges as part of your degree. You could start looking into these big-picture projects now, even though they may only take place next year, or the year after. Planning for the future gives you room to dream and build exciting opportunities into your degree.

Get an overview of the six kinds of experiential learning opportunities open to you, from course-integrated to community-based.

Tip 4: Take breaks — you deserve it

It’s all about self-care at the end of the day. Being in front of the computer screen for long hours without stopping is exhausting. Breaks restore motivation and increase productivity and creativity.

You can use breaks to have a snack, listen to podcasts, meditate, work out at home or even take a power nap. You could attend events that Concordia offers such as Danc’Zen and online fitness classes, which help get you moving, relax your mind and ultimately restore your focus to tackle assignments and studying.

Tip 5: Use the services Concordia offers students

Lastly, if you are having trouble finding motivation alone, there are Concordia staff who are available to help! For instance, the Student Success Centre’s first-year support counsellor and learning specialists could offer you the support you need to get back on track. Or, you may benefit from a meeting with the peer math assistants and writing assistants for assignment-specific support.

You might also find the boost you are looking for from the energizing activities hosted by the Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre such as Conversation Cafés or Thoughtful Thursdays.

First-year students can always connect with
Concordia’s Welcome Crew mentors for tips or ideas on staying motivated.


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