Most students need help increasing motivation to study from time to time. There are so many, less mentally taxing things you could be doing and it’s easy to get distracted or tempted by something else more enjoyable. Our top tips are here to help you put an end to procrastination and get motivated to study.
1. Understand why you’re procrastinating
Those looking for increasing motivation to study must first understand why they are avoiding it. Common reasons include having difficulty focusing, feeling like the work is overwhelming, too difficult or not knowing where to start. There are many other individual reasons why you might be putting off your studies so spend a little time reflecting and be honest with yourself. Knowing the cause will help you identify which of the following tips will be most useful.
2. Break the task down
If the task feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into small, manageable chunks and doing a little bit each day until it’s completed. Schedule your manageable chunks into your diary and make sure you stick to doing a little bit each day or the task will soon add up again.
3. Try to find an interesting angle to challenging subjects
Are you just assuming the subject is challenging or dull without having investigated it? Almost any subject can be made to sound dull, or interesting, depending on the author, speaker etc. If you must research a subject, don’t waste time on texts you find hard to digest (unless it’s a set text) – simply look for others that are written in a more engaging way. Also, try looking online for video content such as recorded lectures or documentaries as these can often be more engaging than reading long papers. Try to challenge yourself to find an interesting angle on the topic to keep you engaged. Referring to tip 2 is also useful for getting dull tasks done.
4. Organise your time
Creating a schedule can help you get a better idea of how much time you have available. Use a general schedule to map out time you need to study, work etc. and block out your study time. You can then use the time remaining for socialising or hobbies. Putting the schedule on the wall will help to create a visual reminder when you’re procrastinating.
5. Create a study schedule
Once you have blocked out your time for studying in your general schedule (tip 4), you can make a detailed study schedule so you know what exactly you will be doing and when. This will help to keep you focused and on track. There are many templates for this which you can download online, or you could make your own. Make a list of tasks that need completing, breaking them down as small as possible. Prioritise tasks, estimate how long they will take and then assign them a day and time.
6. Take regular breaks
When your studying, it’s important to take regular breaks to keep yourself refreshed. It’s advisable to take short breaks from your desk every hour for 5 minutes. Get up and walk around during this time, perhaps getting a drink or some fresh air. This will help you stay focused and not get drained. If you’re studying for many hours at a time, make sure you take longer breaks, fuel your body with healthy food and stay hydrated. Doing short exercises during your break will send oxygen to your brain, helping you to concentrate better when you return to your desk.
7. Set an alarm for your start time
Often, the hardest part is starting a task. It’s easy to blow it out of proportion in your mind but most things are no way near as bad as we imagine they will be. If this is you, pick a start time and set an alarm. Be strict with yourself and get going as soon as the alarm goes off. Over time, this approach will help you train yourself not to put off starting a task.
8. Remove distractions
It’s easy to get distracted whilst studying, making the task much more difficult and lengthier than it needs to be. When studying, you ideally want to get into a state of flow, where you are at optimum productivity and time passes without you noticing because you’re so engaged in the task. You won’t get anywhere near this state if you’re being distracted regularly. Pay attention to what distracts you and address each issue. Mobile phones and social media tend to be the biggest culprits so a good place to start is by putting your phone on flight mode and out of sight.
9. Study in a group
For many people, studying in a group can really help to make the task easier and much more enjoyable. If you’re struggling, a study group offers you the chance to learn from others. You can share notes and ideas to maximise your learning. Make sure you choose people who are focused and disciplined through or this could become another distraction!
10. Remind yourself why you want to study
Reminding yourself why you want to study can be a powerful tool for increasing motivation to study. You may not feel like you want to study but there will be reasons why you want to achieve your best or clear benefits to studying hard. Perhaps you have a chosen career or further training course that requires specific qualifications or grades. Perhaps you want to maximise your future opportunities or earnings. Or maybe you simply want to be proud of yourself and know you achieved your potential. Whatever it is, reminding yourself why you’re doing this will help to keep you focused on the end result and motivated to succeed.
11. Reward yourself
Allow yourself rewards for completing each chunk of your study. Keep this proportionate to the achievement so you always have something to aim for. For example, you could reward yourself with a 10-minute break to scroll through social media or play a game when you have completed an hour’s work. For greater achievements, like completing all your assignments on time, you could reward yourself with something you have wanted to buy for ages. Promise yourself an even more valuable treat when you achieve your qualification – this will give you the incentive to keep going if your motivations in tip 10 are not quite enough.
We understand that balancing study, work and life can be tricky. These tips will hopefully help you to reduce procrastination as well as increasing motivation to study.
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