Fueling your motivation for 2021

Millions of students were thrust into an unfamiliar learning environment in 2020 with the transition to virtual classrooms. Though students have had time to adjust to this “new normal”, continued feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are valid as the pandemic drags on. However, with a new year comes a new opportunity to reflect and refocus on your goals. Here are some tips for kicking virtual fatigue to the curb and staying motivated!
January 27, 2021
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Millions of students were thrust into an unfamiliar learning environment in 2020 with the seemingly overnight transition to virtual classrooms. In May of 2020, Top Hat conducted a survey on students’ feelings towards virtual learning and found that 52% were feeling generally anxious. Though students have had time to adjust to this “new normal”, continued feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are valid as the pandemic drags on. However, with a new year comes a new opportunity to do some reflection and refocus on your goals even amidst the challenges brought on by the last year. Here are some tips for kicking virtual fatigue to the curb and as our friend Troy Bolton would say, getting your head back in the game!

A mental game

Motivation starts with your mindset and this can directly impact how efficient you are at checking tasks off your to-do list. We’ll be highlighting how to elevate your mental game with some tips, as well as explaining why they’re effective.

Get enough sleep.
Getting enough sleep the night before might seem like a no-brainer but the importance of approaching your day refreshed and energized shouldn’t be undervalued. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for young adults to have a healthy body and mind. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, ditch the phone scrolling right before bed because the blue light from your screen can make it harder to fall asleep and wake up in the morning by affecting melatonin production. Perhaps try reading or meditating instead to let your mind calm down and prepare for sleep.

Follow a morning routine.
Creating and following a set morning ritual before you start your work for the day can help you reinforce a habit of productivity. It can be as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee and putting on your favourite playlist every morning. By getting into this routine, you’ll condition yourself to be productive and energized for the day of work ahead.

Get Organized.
Mentally review what you have to do before each day, then put these down in a virtual or physical list of tasks. As you complete them, check them off and bask in the warm, fuzzy  feeling of accomplishment with each completed task. Blocking your days out using a schedule is also another great strategy , which I highly recommend to anyone who may be easily distracted.

Create your ideal learning environment

Considering your desk is where you’ll be sitting for hours of the day, it’s important to keep it organized, stocked up with anything you’ll need, and distraction-free. Read on to set your work area up for success. 

Declutter your workspace.
As Marie Kondo says, “discard everything that does not spark joy”. Removing any unnecessary items and keeping your work area clear of clutter is a good way to reduce workplace stress from messy surroundings. Cleaning can quite literally “spark joy” and improves both your mental and physical well-being.

Be prepared for your day.
Ensuring you have all of the materials you’ll need throughout the day ready to go is another way to prepare your learning environment. Make sure that all of your stationary equipment is stocked up, your snacks are at hand, and your devices are sufficiently charged. Noise-cancelling headphones are a great investment that will ensure unnecessary noise is blocked out, while also boosting the quality of your work tunes! 

Put your phone away.
If your phone is a constant distraction for you, there are many productivity apps that gamify not checking your phone. My personal favourite is the “Forest” app. You set the amount of time you want to work for in the app and as you work, a tree begins to grow on your screen. Checking your phone and leaving the app causes your tree to wither. Despite how strange the concept sounds, give it a try and you’ll probably be surprised by how much you care about this cute virtual tree, as well as how much more efficient you will be during work periods.

Engagement and development

Though virtual learning may not have been many peoples’ first choice, it does come with a silver lining - you have more time to pursue other interests! Actively seeking opportunities to build on your skills will help you feel ready for the world after the pandemic.

If you’re looking to enrich yourself beyond the classroom, there are tons of opportunities aimed at students specifically adapted for the current virtual environment.  Here are a few examples:

  • Riipen has just launched an innovative work-integrate learning program for students called Level UP. Gain work experience with real companies through short-term virtual internships and get paid for your work!
  • If you’re looking to give back to your community, you can find many virtual options on Volunteer Canada and VolunteerMatch.
  • There are also many online courses available in just about any area of interest through platforms such as Coursera, UDemy, and Masterclass.

Any of the opportunities above are a great way to develop your skills in said areas or create content for your portfolio.  That being said, it is also important to note that in such uniquely difficult times you don’t have to constantly be productive. It is just as important to take care of your mental health and if you’re not in a place to engage with others, re-engage with yourself through practices such as meditation, exercising, or simply finding joy through hobbies or getting more rest.

A check list summarizing tips on how to refuel your motivation covering topics such as mindset, your environment, and self development
Here's a quick check list summarizing all our tips above.
Save it and check it off as you introduce these ideas into your daily routine!


We hope you found these tips helpful and that you feel more prepared to tackle this semester. To learn more about Riipen, the Level UP program, and how to get started with experiential learning, visit our website and keep up with Riipen on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook.

About the author:

Aaron Chang is a Marketing Intern at Riipen, as well as a fourth-year Business student at Simon Fraser University. He is passionate about spreading positivity and creating connections with others. When he has the time, he loves writing short stories, binging anime, and having a little too much chocolate.

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