I’m into month two of my distance learning CIPD journey with ICS learn and when I speak about my progress to colleagues and friends, they often say that they wouldn’t have to discipline to undertake a distance learning course; it is a lot of additional responsibility but if you are aiming to reach those career goals, then further study is essential.
Whilst distance learning is convenient and adaptable to our lifestyles, it teaches you a lot, except how to stay motivated! This is completely an individual quality that needs to be developed in order to stay focused and achieve the qualification.
I have adopted a positive approach to my CIPD studies level 7 studies by ensuring that I have everything I need to hand, I find that there is nothing worse of getting into the throws of your assignments and having to stop as your have forgotten something! I thought it may be useful to share my top tips for keeping focused while distance learning.
Have everything you need to hand
Make sure you have all of your equipment to hand, I have my iPad for my virtual bookshelf and use my laptop to keep track of how far I need to read, this stops me from getting ahead of myself and allows me to capture all the information I need.
Take regular breaks
Taking a 5 minute break each hour helps your eyes rest and to give your body a well earned stretch, this helps keep the mind fresh and doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed with information. I often use this time to reflect upon what I have learnt and how it translates into my working life.
Map your progress
I have a large wall calendar above my desk which helps me to keep on top of things and so I can see how far I have come in my studies. This helps me to keep the end goal in sight and understand how flexible I can be on weeks where I have commitments.
Get a different perspective
I utilise my network a lot when it comes to my studies, so I attend HR Hour every week on Twitter which gives so many different points of view which helps me to understand arguments for and against certain processes. It also helps if you need further information on a particular subject; reading certain HR blogs and asking questions on the CIPD forum on LinkedIn is also a great place to get inspiration and support for the learning journey.
When an assignment is graded, take time to reward yourself for a job well done, it’s not easy being motivated but a little treat can go a long way to encourage the next step on the learning journey.
Take time out
Just because I’m studying doesn’t mean there isn’t any time for fun! I make time to see friends and family, it helps clear the mind and helps to relieve any stress. I recently spent the day with friends by having a walk around Burghley House and it was great to be in the fresh air with and having a good catch up.
Whatever stage you are at with your learning journey, keep focused, stay organised and always keep the end goal in sight, you will get there and it’ll be worth it!