How to stay focused and motivated when learning remotely


It can be tough to stay motivated when there’s so much going on in your life and in the world. And it can be equally hard to stay focused on classes when it feels like there are so many other distractions, like Netflix, family, social media, etc. We checked in with Dr. Kevin Correa, director of the First-Year Success Center, to see what kind of advice he had for students to overcome some of these challenges while learning remotely. 

Ask yourself what you can control

When you’re feeling like you’re spiraling because there are so many factors of your life that you can’t control, take a deep breath and remember to focus on what you can control — your thoughts, what you say and do, and what you value in life.

When it comes to school, you can control how much time you devote to homework and whether or not you choose to reach out to use ASU services to help you succeed. Reminding yourself that these things are up to you can help you feel more grounded, and can drive you to reach out for any help you need. 

Live in the present

Instead of spending your time thinking about how things used to be or how things will be once this pandemic is over, focus on what’s going on right now. Ask yourself what currently requires your focus and do that. 

Take your present situation day-by-day, and be careful not to over-expect from yourself. It’s probably not realistic that you’ll start five new hobbies or learn an entirely new language while still focusing on school, family and life. Make realistic expectations for yourself each day that you can accomplish, like going to virtual office hours or starting a paper, and count those as wins along the way.

Remember what you’ve accomplished so far

The one time it’s a good idea to look back is when you’re reflecting on past accomplishments to remind yourself of what you have and can overcome. By thinking back to other adverse situations and how you persevered, you’re reminding yourself that you’re stronger than you may feel and that you’ve overcome tough situations before, so you can do it again. 

Be compassionate with yourself and others

No matter how focused or motivated you are, there are going to be times when you’re just … not. Feeling disconnected and unmotivated from time to time is completely normal, and may mean it’s time for a break. Step away from your laptop and do something fun (here’s a list of five fun things to do in quarantine). 

Take a breath

Life can feel overwhelming right now, and there’s a lot to take in. Focus on taking deep breaths when it starts to feel overwhelming, and determine what you need to get back on track. Try reaching out to your FYS coach for a supportive ear. They can help you make a study schedule and work through any challenges you’re having with remote learning. To hear from Dr. Correa about these tips and more, check out this video.

For even more support, visit this site dedicated to helpful tips for remote learning

Adultinng 101

Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.


Newsletter subscription

Stay connected
Subscribe to our newsletter
By completing and submitting your information to ASU, you consent to:

Student contributor view

Meet the interns

Meet Mariela
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Major: Marketing
Meet Joe
Hometown: Peoria, AZ
Major: Graphic design

Next topic opinion form

What should we cover next?