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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

December 15, 2010

Concentration and motivation for your online degree.

woman concentrating

The old saying, "the only person standing in your way is you" may hit close to home for many. Tackling your online studies and dealing with the stresses of daily life can be difficult, but a little planning can help you stay motivated.

Get healthy. Good health is an important aspect of keeping a consistent schedule, and a healthy diet can boost your immune system and brain power. The three basic neurotransmitters that promote brain function are acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin:

  • Acetylcholine excites neurons and improves memory. Foods like liver, broccoli, cabbage, fish, milk, and egg yolks are good sources.
  • Dopamine improves movement, concentration, memory and learning. Protein from every food group can help sustain your dopamine levels.
  • Serotonin promotes feelings of well-being and concentration.  Starches like pasta, potatoes and bread contain the levels your body needs.

Make sure to get a serving of brain food at every meal. You will find your online degree studies easier to understand and complete.

Avoid distractions. We all have our guilty pleasures, our favorite form of distraction. For you it may be late-night TV or the sports section of the newspaper. Exercise your willpower during study time and remove these distractions from arm's length. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.

Set goals. Many students find their online studies are easier to complete if they have an end goal in sight. The most obvious goal is completing the online degree entirely, but setting weekly milestones for yourself can help break up your work into more manageable segments. At the beginning of each week, decide how much time to commit to your work and stick to it. Understand that falling behind in Week 2 will affect your schedule in Week 4, and your motivation to stay on track will kick in.

Give yourself a break. If you're feeling burnt out and can't give your online studies the attention they deserve, take an occasional day off. Yes, you may have to adjust your schedule to stay on track in the weeks to come, but a short break will allow you a fresh perspective with your online courses.

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