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Learning and working autonomously

Throughout your degree, your self-managing skills will develop, and you will be able to work increasingly more independently.

  • Making informed decisions when presented with ambiguous situations
  • Increasing the importance of integrity
  • Building and developing ongoing respect for team members
  • Develop ethical standpoints on business issues

Working independently

On this page, we will discuss some strategies that will help you learn how to become a self-motivated, self-regulating independent learner.

What does it mean to be independent?

  • Becoming more self-aware, self-monitoring and self-correcting
  • Knowing what you need to do to complete the task while taking an initiative
  • Taking ownership and learning from your mistakes, rather than looking for excuses.


Self-awareness is about learning to understand better why you feel what you feel and why you behave in a particular way, as well as your knowledge of understanding of yourself; including your emotions, beliefs, biases and abilities.

As you are studying throughout your degree, make an effort to learn more about yourself; your abilities, beliefs, likes and dislikes.

Self-awareness is often the first step to goal setting, being aware of what you are good at, and what you need to learn and improve.

Because the world around us is continuously changing, and because we are forever changing, we never finish developing our sense of self-awareness. It is an ongoing evolving process.


Self-motivation is the force that keeps pushing us to go on – it’s our internal drive to achieve, produce, develop, and keep moving forward. It is the force that drives you to do things.

Staying motivated as a student is one of the hardest tasks and biggest obstacles you will face. Wanting to do something and motivating yourself actually to do it are two different things.

Find an effective method to transition from thought into action; everyone is different.

  • Study in short bursts
  • Break the task down into smaller chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • Make an effort to understand the topic or subject, and don’t just memorise it
  • Keep your end goal in mind—but also use interim goals on the way


Self-regulation involves pausing a feeling and an action—taking the time to think things through and making a plan; by using self-control and our ability to manage emotions, desires, and behaviours to reach a positive outcome.

Focus on your ability to affect personal and professional growth based on your self – awareness and motivation. Being able to act in your long term best interest, consistent with your values and not being impacted by outside influences.

Time-management and prioritising your tasks

Time management is essential in achieving your goals and getting your work done. Remember all projects need to have clear priorities, especially the large ones.

Prioritising workload

Before you can prioritise your work, figure out what you need to do.

How do you prioritise your workload when everything is number 1?

Start by doing a To Do list, whether it’s paper or electronic and write down everything that needs to be done.

Label the tasks with a rating A, B, or C.

A – Tasks which are most important and are closely tied to the achievement of your goals.  There are serious consequences for not completing these tasks.  “A” tasks are your biggest and most unappealing tasks.

B – Tasks which you should do, but which have mild consequences if not completed.

C – Tasks which are enjoyable to do, but which have no consequences at all.

D – Tasks which should be done, but which you can delegate.

E – Tasks which do not matter at all and can be eliminated.

Eat your frogs first

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it First Thing in the Morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first.” — Mark Twain

Things you don’t want to do, but actually, need to do. These are the ‘Frogs’. The ugly, distasteful things that need to be done, but tend not to. You aren’t motivated to do them, leaving them victim to procrastination. There are always some tasks we would like to tick off of our to-do list as soon as possible and that if accomplished would help us feel better, but are just so unmotivating to do.

Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment. Once that one task is done, the rest of the day will be a smoother ride, and you will get both momentum and a sense of accomplishment at the beginning of your day.

Think of this as a “test.” Treat it like a personal challenge. Resist the temptation to start with the easier task.


“My most important task is too big for me to complete in one day, so I have trouble consistently working on it.”

If you find yourself struggling with this, you probably haven’t broken your tasks down far enough. Remember, you are working on your most important task, not your most important project. Break down your task until you can’t break it down any more, and then take action on it.

Find out more by visiting Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy. 21 Great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time.