Motivation to study

Skyliinez92Skyliinez92 Level 99 WizardGielinor, UKPosts: 689Mod Mod
It seems to be common among many here at times, but I'm finding the motivation to study very difficult at the moment.

I'm currently aiming for my MCSA: Windows 10 cert to boost my knowledge and value as an employee for my company. I've used Windows 10, I've taken the 70-680 for Windows 7 and have seen a lot of content crossover between the two, so I'm feeling fairly confident for the 70-698. However, I just can't focus at the moment.

I don't think it has anything to do with the exam itself? I want to do it. I feel like it might be more related to life changes. I got my first house back towards the end of 2016 and started a new job around the same time. Since then, I haven't done a single exam (tried for the 70-686 but gave up). This new job has a lot more responsibilities so I don't have time at work to squeeze in some study like I could before. I've also got more responsibilities now at home as I'm taking care of housework and just feel so tired in the evenings that I can't be bothered to study.

I feel quite lucky that I was able to get the certs I have done before these changes as it gave me a boost over my fellow colleagues, but now I need to get the momentum going again to keep my skills up to date for the sake of my job.

Has anyone had this issue before, mainly due to big life changes, and found a way to study again? It would be interesting to hear other peoples techniques. Thanks.
Certs Achieved: CompTIA A+ | Net+ | Sec+, MTA NF (98-366), MTA OSF (98-349), MCTS: Win 7, MCP Win 10 (70-698)
Currently Studying: MCSA: Windows Server 2016 ( 70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742 )

"There are 10 types of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who don't." - Anon

Comments

  • djrabesdjrabes Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I think you just need to take your time and study when you can, even if its for a few hours a week. What you need is to plan your week and fit chucks of studying in then. Set a realistic target for 70-698, pass that (It's easy, you'll have zero issues) and then set a target for 70-697. You have your MCTS in Windows 7, so I doubt taking longer to do your Windows 10 is really going to put your job at risk, Windows is Windows at the end of the day. If you require Windows 10 for your job, talk to your boss and say you want an hour or two a week on a Friday afternoon, when its quiet to study and further develop your skills and understanding of Windows 10, and its benefits to the company.

    I'm having issues studying now as well, especially after Christmas. I did my 70-412, MCSA: WS2016 upgrade and MCSA: W10 in the space of 7 months and I needed the break, but I can't get back in the swing of things for my MCSE (70-414) I'm kinda getting fed up of exams, but for my career to progress I need to do it.

    Do you listen to music? - I always find that having some music playing gets me motivated to read a paragraph of a book or do a little bit in my home lab. When I revise I like to be in my own world, blocked out from the outside world and just focusing on the job in hand. Of course, I don't have the responsibilities of you, having your own house and having to do everything for yourself - But you need to have your own free time to relax otherwise you'll get burnt out and fed up with everything in general.
    Certifications: CompTIA A+, MCP, MCSA: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016, Windows 10
    Studying: Exam 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
    Want: MCSA: Office 365, MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Exam 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure), Network+, Security+
  • HappyBearITHappyBearIT Posts: 54Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    There's always the Pomodoro timer method with the addition of small easy to reach goals during times like you describe. Then you build from there when you find the desire throughout the year. Instead of having a goal to "Pass X Exam" switch your mindset to goals that can be accomplished within a week. Eventually those weeks add up.

    Something like, "Read "x" book for 20 minutes per day 5 times this week with a timer set and headphones on to drown out the outside world" This one example using just 20 minutes a day at a slow reading speed should make it possible to make it through most technical books within 2-3 months or sooner.
    2019: Learn Network Automation Techniques [] | LPIC-1 [] | Finish MBA [] | Explore/Experiment with AWS [] |
  • Mike RMike R Posts: 137Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I have your same problem, it's from a lack of wanting to do it but after a 9 hour day of dealing with people's problems the last thing I want to do is crack open a book. I changed occupations in 2016 and moved across the country, since then I've found it difficult to find the energy to study.

    I think one of the things I (we) should remember is that our current circumstances won't change if we don't do anything about it. While I have advanced at my company it's not a place I want to be long term. The only way to change that is to learn more.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,723Mod Mod
    Some good advice here already. I agree with HappyBear and I was going to post something similar. It helps to set small goals. When you get "quick wins" it builds momentum. Also, breaking a larger cert down into smaller chunks makes it seem less daunting. So take the syllabus for whatever exam you want to pursue, and copy it line by line into Excel to create a check list. I use indents to format it. So first column is each task, knowledge area, or line item, then you can put the next column to be a target study time if you want, or leave it blank if you dont want to track study time. Then you can put study type such as read, lab, flashcard, quiz, etc. Or you can have a check column for each one. There's really no limit to what you can do with it. I would look up Iristheangel's post in her CCIE Security thread where she did something similar.

    Another piece of advice with respect to being busy, is find any amount of time you can. If you don't have much commute and don't start early, then wake up early and knock out an hour of study. Study on your lunch break. Study right when you get home for 30-60 minutes, that way you can relax the rest of the night. Get a sub to safaribooks or get ebooks for what you're studying and if you get 20-30 minutes here and there at work, read.

    Your situation is somewhat different than mine. I burnt out after blasting through CISM/CISA/CRISC in 42 days last Summer, and I've not done a cert since. I also got really busy with kids being back in school, activities, and house reno we are doing. I'm just now getting back to studying for certs (AWS) and will be doing the Excel tracking sheet. Also, thankfully A Cloud Guru's videos are broken down into small 5-15 minute chunks so it's easy to get them in here and there.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: eJPT, Learning: Linux/CLI, Git, Python, Pentesting
    Next Up:​ eJPT, eCPPTv2, OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (CLI, Git, Python), eLearnSecurity PTSv3
  • yoba222yoba222 Posts: 888Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I make a spreadsheet so I don't have to do any thinking on low motivation days. Also morning studying is a good thing. When the goal's already spelled out, just open the spreadsheet and put one foot in front of the other. Good to get a day or two ahead as a buffer zone as well.
    Obtained: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | CySA+ | PenTest+ | CAPM | eJPT | CCNA R&S | CCNA CyberOps | GCIH | LFCS
    2018: Virtual Hacking Labs
    2019: eCPPT &/or OSCP | CISSP
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Posts: 557Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Boy, I empathize with the OP here. I tried to knock out the MCSA 2012 last year and studied for the first exam for almost 6 months before I took it and failed. I couldn't focus on the topics at hand. I'm going to agree with everyone here and say 1. Study what you enjoy (I know that's not always possible) and 2. Manage your time and clearly define your study goals. I give myself multiple sources of study material and break up topics into a timeline. If the videos go over setting up VPNs, then the next day I read a chapter in my book about the same thing. While it doesn't always motivate me to study, it at least gives me clear goals on what to do that day.
  • Eightn9neEightn9ne Posts: 24Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I feel your pain mate especially when trying to learn new content or things you've never had to work with or come across it can get draining.

    What I did to overcome this is was to try and find some sort of routine and stick to it. It can get difficult at the start but once you get through the persistence, you'll be able to start making it a habit.

    I've got about an hour commute to and from work so I use that time to read, watch CBT nuggets whilst making notes and when I get home, do about 30-60 minutes of labs. Started of slow, then the next thing I knew it, those 30-60 minutes started becoming 1.5 - 2 hours and so on. It also helps if you're able to access your home lab externally so I was able to work on it during lunch breaks as well.

    I always tried to make use of any spare time I had. Even at the gym after knocking an hour of weights, I'd hop on the cardio machines with my iPad and continue to study lol.

    Tbh though, I do feel a bit burnt out like JoJoCal19. I ended up getting my MCSA 2012, CCA-V and CCP-V in a space of 8-10 months last year but that was just me blasting through ever spare time I had. I haven't touched any study material since November last year but I know I'll slowly start getting back into routine once I start my AWS training next week and CCNA training in a couple of months time.
  • thomas_thomas_ Senior Member Posts: 812Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Buy a voucher and put your money on the line. I also like to imagine getting a better paying job after getting the cert. I know a cert doesn’t guarantee a better paying job, but it still helps to keep me studying.
  • Eightn9neEightn9ne Posts: 24Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    thomas_ wrote: »
    Buy a voucher and put your money on the line. I also like to imagine getting a better paying job after getting the cert. I know a certain doesn’t guarantee a better paying job, but it still helps to keep me studying.


    I forgot to say this as well lol. An extra push in motivation is booking the exam a few months out so that I know that 'hey I have to study. I paid x amount for this exam".
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Posts: 1,035Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    yoba222 wrote: »
    I make a spreadsheet so I don't have to do any thinking on low motivation days. Also morning studying is a good thing. When the goal's already spelled out, just open the spreadsheet and put one foot in front of the other. Good to get a day or two ahead as a buffer zone as well.


    I do this as well in Google Sheets. That way I cannot avoid it!
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • ra13ra13 Posts: 137Member
    I'm glad i'm not the only one with the lacking motivation.. I'm not getting a raise by passing (going for 70-410) i'm doing it just for me to keep up with technology and to keep learning, but man I can't retain any info.. I'm overthinking things.. I'm better at watching videos then sitting reading 1200 pages and trying to remember what I read on page 1 lol.. Any studying tips are much appreciated.
  • Skyliinez92Skyliinez92 Level 99 Wizard Gielinor, UKPosts: 689Mod Mod
    Thanks for all the support guys. I'm planning to buy the voucher at the end of the month and have found in the past that it give you that extra push because you've spend money on the exam, so failing to study or pass will result in you losing out on the amount you spent.

    I've also taken your advice by planning out each day how I'm going to study. I didn't make a spreadsheet but I downloaded the CBT Nuggets revision guide which helps you plan your studying for each week with labs and practice exams right up until exam day. Hopefully this should guide me in the right direction. I've found in the past that if you struggle to decide what subject to study or not sure what you're suppose to be doing it can distract you and you will lose motivation a lot quicker, so having some sort of daily plan is key here.

    Also, the Windows 10 cert isn't really a huge requirement for my workplace. Our team have been told that a rollout will happen before the summer, but some people will get some training on the job if needed (no certs included). I wouldn't lose my job if I didn't have it, but I know that I will be more prepared than any in my team if I did have it. It's a nice feeling to know I have the upper hand over my colleagues and can provide more support during the rollout if needed.

    I've got a deadline for my Windows 10 cert as I'm going on a long break over the summer. Knowing I've (hopefully) passed these exams by then will put me in a better mood before jumping back into the exam routing and start my Server certs.
    Certs Achieved: CompTIA A+ | Net+ | Sec+, MTA NF (98-366), MTA OSF (98-349), MCTS: Win 7, MCP Win 10 (70-698)
    Currently Studying: MCSA: Windows Server 2016 ( 70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742 )

    "There are 10 types of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who don't." - Anon
  • PseudonymPseudonym Senior Member Posts: 314Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Just force it.

    I know that isn't particularly helpful advice, but you'll thank yourself in the end.
    Certifications - A+, Net+, Sec+, ITIL v3, MCITP:EDST/EDA, CCNA R&S/Cyber Ops, MCSA:2008/2012, MCSE:CP&I
    Working on - Linux+
  • duta74duta74 Posts: 143Member
    I'm planning to buy the voucher at the end of the month and have found in the past that it give you that extra push because you've spend money on the exam, so failing to study or pass will result in you losing out on the amount you spent.
    Buy it here:
    https://us.mindhub.com/microsoft-exam-replay-mcp-exam-plus-retake/p/Microsoft-Exam-Replay
    or choose your location:
    https://www.mindhub.com/v/location_selector/
  • hurricane1091hurricane1091 Posts: 918Member
    I haven't studied in like 9 months lol. I need to do this CSA+ to renew my Comptia stuff soon though, then do the CCDP next year.
  • fabostrongfabostrong Posts: 210Member
    What keeps me motivated is my current situation and the life I wanna live. I don't like my current situation and I honestly believe that hard work and education will help me better my current situation. I know that I don't wanna live the life I currently do forever. I believe that if I grind super hard for a couple or a few years or so that it'll set me up for significantly better life. I'm okay with the delayed gratification.

    Also, purpose. I feel like motivation is easy to come and go at times but if I feel like I have a real purpose, that stays regardless and I remind myself of that and it pushes me to keep going.

    One more thing, responsibility. Taking everything or at least most things that come my way and saying it's my fault. Whenever I don't get something I want, I say it's my fault. Putting all of the responsibility on myself and never leaving room to point the finger or blame someone else makes me work hard.

    I hope this helps at least a little bit. It definitely helps me.
  • Skyliinez92Skyliinez92 Level 99 Wizard Gielinor, UKPosts: 689Mod Mod
    fabostrong wrote: »
    What keeps me motivated is my current situation and the life I wanna live. I don't like my current situation and I honestly believe that hard work and education will help me better my current situation. I know that I don't wanna live the life I currently do forever. I believe that if I grind super hard for a couple or a few years or so that it'll set me up for significantly better life. I'm okay with the delayed gratification.

    Also, purpose. I feel like motivation is easy to come and go at times but if I feel like I have a real purpose, that stays regardless and I remind myself of that and it pushes me to keep going.

    One more thing, responsibility. Taking everything or at least most things that come my way and saying it's my fault. Whenever I don't get something I want, I say it's my fault. Putting all of the responsibility on myself and never leaving room to point the finger or blame someone else makes me work hard.

    I hope this helps at least a little bit. It definitely helps me.

    Thanks fabostrong. I agree that the main thing over everything is to better yourself and improve your life, it just seems like such a long term goal but I guess you need to put in the effort to get where you want to be in life. I hope your current situation gets better, you sound like you've got your life planned out :).
    Certs Achieved: CompTIA A+ | Net+ | Sec+, MTA NF (98-366), MTA OSF (98-349), MCTS: Win 7, MCP Win 10 (70-698)
    Currently Studying: MCSA: Windows Server 2016 ( 70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742 )

    "There are 10 types of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who don't." - Anon
  • NissekiNisseki Posts: 160Member
    A week before my CCENT I binge watched an entire 12 hour video course and I really did pushed myself that last week!

    However, months before the exam sometimes I studied well and other times I didn't. I rescheduled the exam a few times.

    I'm very tempted to ask my boss to go part time because work does get in the way.

    But what I believe what helps is having good, engaging study resources and Jeremy at CBT nuggets does a really good job.

    I also read a cisco study book whiles I relax when watching youtube and listening to music.
  • daviddwsdaviddws Posts: 303Member
    I've found that if you place a deadline on taking the certification and study accordingly, as well as channeling any anger (at least for me) into getting it done.. magic happens.
    ________________________________________
    M.I.S.M:
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
  • chmodchmod Posts: 354Member
    The habit of learning how to get things done.
  • barberj66barberj66 Member United KingdomPosts: 83Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think sometimes you just need to just force yourself and do it. I bought the book for CCENT/CCNA a year ago and kept picking it up and putting it down. By time I picked it up I needed to restart it from the beginning as I forgot what I'd read previously.

    At the start of the year I just decided I was going to do it this time and have been actively reading almost everyday, the times where I think I can't be bothered and would rather watch TV etc I just get the book and the laptop out and make myself do it. If I'm tired and can't face the books I'll watch the some videos instead so I'm actively keeping the info going in. Now I'm at the point where I automatically just start doing it and enjoy it rather than think it's a chore. Getting through each chapter knowing that's another topic done and ticked off keeps me going.

    Maybe give yourself small goals of watching an hours worth of videos a night or getting through a chapter of a book every night or 2-3 nights depending on the size. Before you know it you are getting through large amounts of material.
    Goals for 2018: Not over committing this year so CCENT then take it from there. CCENT Passed 28/11/18!
    https://jballaboutit.blogspot.co.uk/
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Posts: 1,035Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I want to mention, that you will be motivated ONLY if you like the subject.

    My MCSA was a killer. I lacked alot of motivation. The Hyper-V elective was more interesting to me because of networking concepts.

    Cisco and Sec subjects are more interesting, so those take very little time compared to advanced server topics.

    Would you rather pursue a professional certification afterwards?

    Also. one thing to motivate you is Salary. Yes, i know alot of people deny this, but think about this seriously.
    Do you know alot of other fields where you can make $100k/year with a high school diploma?
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • aqtechaqtech Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Nothing like the threat of losing your job for motivation.

    I work on average 60hrs a week, sometimes upwards of 100hrs for months—including weekends (I’m salaried). Getting my MCSA felt like a low priority given the oppressive environment, until I was threatened with termination. Of course, over a year had passed since I was told to do it, too, so certainly my fault there. Simply put, I was burned out every day I get home.

    Anyway, I was given a 4 weeks to pass both exams and did so in 3. Feel like I lost years from my life in the process, not to mention living like a hermit for almost a month. The deadline was part fairness in response to procrastination and part retaliation from my manager over another matter, which I still resent.

    Just remember, you can always get motivated. It’s just that it should be voluntary, so get with it as long as you have a choice, as it could be worse.
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Posts: 293Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Kind of running into the same problem. What I'm trying is to double up on what I'm doing at the same time. Downloaded CBT Nuggets app on my iPad, plopped that thing in front of me on my elliptical machine, and just watch some videos, do some quick quizzes (which I feel is kind of meh, since they don't tell you WHY the answer was wrong, or what was right and why it's right like Darrel Gibson's Sec+ will), and get some exercise at the same time.

    I too feel tired when I'm done with work, but when you're exercising the blood is going to be pounding through your head either way, so might as well take advantage of being awake and alert when you're working out to try to work out your brain at the same time. There is also a physiological reason why people find working out to be enjoyable (something to do with generation of phenylalanine), so taking advantage of that effect to study might make the overall experience to be less mundane and boring. I also find my quality of sleep to be better if I'm also physically exhausted before I go to bed.
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Posts: 293Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Also try to automate your life too. Get a dishwasher, use an iRobot to do some of the smaller vacuuming. When you do your laundry, are you doing other things while waiting for the load to finish? Maybe make a schedule and get into a daily routine. Laundry day is Friday for me, it's not written down on a calendar or anything for me, but it gets done no matter what kind of day I had at work. It certainly frees up my weekend so I can do my 10 miles on my elliptical.

    Also plan it out and commit to it. Determine a reasonable commitment to studying/labs and set up a block of time in the week for it (say, 2-3 hours). If say every Sunday the plan is to eat out with friends, set every other Sunday to using those 2 hours or so to studying and unless your house is literally burning down or someone is dead or dying, you will not be doing anything else. This is a little system of prioritizing we do at work to guarantee that everyone gets a minimum chunk of time to make progress on their projects without being distracted by petty things.
  • technogoattechnogoat Posts: 73Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I realise that I'm not lucky and need to work harder than people around me

    I lose focus as well but I swear to god I won't be 40 and stuck in a miserable job ;)

    I started to study while my long commute (over an hour) so that allowed me to have more focus and more free time at home
  • link087link087 Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Skyliinez92,
    think of it this way. What is motivation? Motivation for me is relationship between the work and the reward. Let's imagine someone will pay you 10 million USD for you passing the exam. Then you WILL have motivation to study even so you are very tired in the evenings. Now let's imagine other situation: exam creator decided to add 3 times more topics into exam. Now you will have less motivation to study.
    But we do not have 10 million dollars. But we might have other things that we like. For example I play World of Warcraft and now I want to level up my rogue to 60 level since I recently change servers and now need to level up all toons once again. So back to the subject. We need kinda bargain with ourselves and make contract each time we need to study. I say to myself "OK, I'll read that chapter but for that I want to level up the rogue to 60 level". It can be ANY agreement. I can even say "I want to level up rogue to 100 level" but in reality 60 level is enough for me to study 1 chapter.
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