Study motivation: 5 tips to work when you don’t want to

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“How can I find motivation to study?”, “How to stop procrastinaing?” As the sun is shining outside and the beach is near, it can be challenging to get started in your work. Here are 5 tips to study motivation.


1. Find a quiet and clear place to study

If you’ve been “working” on your sofa, on your bed, at the beach (it happens), try to change for a more “work-friendly” atmosphere. Working in a quiet place will help you focus, thus leading to increasing your study motivation.

open notebook on a desk

A clear workspace is key. The more stimuli, the less you’ll focus. You should only keep on your desk what is absolutely necessary so when your eyes start to wander, they don’t encounter anything more interesting.

2. Vary your learning methods

Some people need to hear to remember, some others need to write, some prefer to teach… in the end, you have to find what suits you best. But if you can’t seem to get any motivation to study, try changing your approach.

persson looking at documents pinned on wall

Working in small groups can help you finding it more attractive to study. Try to use mind maps if you are more visual. Record yourself reading your notes out loud if you prefer to listen. There are countless techniques to remember: find your own.

3. Schedules are not made to be followed

You probably gave up on study schedules because you realized you never followed them. And it’s true: study schedules are never followed.

However, one of the reasons why you can’t get started in your work may be because you don’t know what you have to do. That’s what schedules are for. You might not follow them, but they’ll give you a clear view of what you still have to achieve. Study preparation can lead to study motivation. 

dates on a calendar

To make a great study schedules, use colours, one per subject, and write down on a sheet everything you have to do and to study, as well as the number of pages for each lecture. This will help you visualise what you can do quickly and what will take more time. Then you can start putting these tasks in a weekly schedule.

I recommend a digital study schedule so you can move elements more easily. If you originally planned to make an index card on Lecture 1 on Monday but you didn’t, you can move it to Tuesday and so on. This way, you will see how much you have been procrastinating, but more importantly how much time you still have before exams.

4. Stop multitasking

Multitasking is ineffective and detrimental to encoding information. You may have the impression that you are wasting your time on “just one subject”, but you’ll actually be more efficient if you focus on one task. Not being 100% attentive can make you make mistakes and forget details which could be important in the end.

person behind pile of books

Don’t open all your notebooks in front of you. Work in a quiet, device-free environment. Go airplane mode. You will be more efficient and as a consequence, you’ll have time for checking your Instagram feed when you’re done.

5. Last resort: weaponize your electronic devices

Picture this: you are desperate and your exams are in a few days. It’s now time to take drastic steps. Phones are easy distractions. You can choose to use this distraction against yourself by putting your list of homework as your wallpaper. This is your last resort: tricking yourself into feeling guilty everytime you pick up your phone. Open Notes, write down your homeworks, screenshot, and make this ugly list your new wallpaper. Hopefully, the urge of wanting your old wallpaper back will get you to open a book.

angry emoji on phone screen

Nicer variations with “You should be working” wallpapers exist.

In the end, the most important is to know what you’re working for. See the big picture: studying is not just some obligation but tools you can use to get a fulfilling job. Check our other tips for studying!

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