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How to motivate yourself to study

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When you’re not in the mood to study, doing LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE becomes far more appealing. Whether that’s watching another episode of a show on Netflix, making a snack, even doing the laundry or tidying up your room, these tasks all of a sudden seem much more urgent.

A student sitting reading a book

But weekly readings and assignment deadlines exist and you can’t ignore them forever. So below we share our top five tips to avoid procrastination and build up the motivation to study.

  1. Go for a walk

While it seems counterintuitive to leave all your study behind and go outside for a walk, it is actually a super effective way to help kick start you into study mode.

Going for a walk helps to wake up your brain as exercise produces endorphins, chemicals that improve your mood and boost motivation. It also moves more oxygen to your brain, helping to get rid of any feelings of fatigue.

Walking also creates momentum, so by the time you return to your desk to study you will feel as if you have already accomplished something. Once you get moving on a productive track you will stay in motion.

  1. Commit to a single task

Once you sit down at your desk to begin working, first write out all the tasks on a to-do list, then commit to just working on one of these tasks. If you commit to doing more than one task, all you are doing is setting yourself up to be distracted.

By writing a to-do list, you are getting all the tasks that you are thinking about floating around in your head out and down on to a physical piece of paper where you won’t forget them. This helps to clear your mind to allow you to focus on the single task at hand.

  1. Clear your workspace

It is hard to focus when your work space isn’t clean so get rid of anything that doesn’t relate to the work you’re doing. Throw away any rubbish, put away any distracting books or materials and close any internet tabs that have nothing to do with your study.

  1. Start small

Getting started is the hardest part of study, but usually once you get going, you will get on a roll. So just get started, even if your productivity is only in small bursts. If you’re writing an essay and are staring at a blank page, just start writing, it may not actually have anything to do with the topic but it will help you get into a writing flow. If you are completing a weekly reading, get out your book and start reading in five minute bursts. As you gain momentum and focus you will find yourself able to complete more.

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique

This time management technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo in Italy in the late 1980s and uses a timer to break work down into intervals separated by short breaks.

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on just one task during that time.
  2. Stop working when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper
  3. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short 5 minute break
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you have completed four “pomodoros”
  5. After four “promodoros”, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes, reset your checkmark count to zero and then go back to step 1

This technique helps to eliminate resistance as working for 25 minutes is manageable and will help improve your attention span and focus.