It’s a boring afternoon. You’re tired after class and all you want to do is curl up with Netflix and a bowl of cereal. But you really should study, and you know it. It’s just that you just don’t feel like it. Maybe you have a project ahead of you, a paper to write, or an exam coming up. Or maybe you just know that you need to study a little every day.
How do you avoid procrastination and create the motivation to get started?
Well, you came to the right place. That is what we are talking about today. Of course, there are some long-term steps you can take to ensure this scenario happens less often, like developing more self-discipline and better study habits…
…but what if you need to start like now?
We are protecting you. Follow our 5-step process to get the study motivation you need:
Motivating Yourself to Study
This is probably one of the most difficult but most rewarding things you can do. Self-discipline is not the actual act of changing your behavior, but the force with which you create behavior change.
As writer Sam Thomas Davies says:
“Self-discipline is leaning toward resistance. Act despite how you feel. Live life by design, not by default. But the most important thing is to act on your thoughts, not your feelings.”
You can make small changes in your life to help you develop self-discipline, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. Thomas actually outlined six strategies here.
While definitely one of the hardest paths to take, developing self-discipline creates a baseline to live by. It sets you up for greater success later on.
Build Better Study Habits
Habits are the key to optimizing your whole life. They are almost more effective than self-discipline because once established, they don’t need the willpower to keep going.
Come up with a solid reason why you want to develop better study habits, like getting better grades, doing well on tests, or having less stress about homework deadlines.
Create a routine that you plan to follow each time you want to study, like going to a specific place at a specific time.
Commit to change. Write your plan. Talk to someone. Eliminate as much resistance to this routine as you can and do it as often and consistently as possible until it becomes a habit.
It helps you optimize your environment to promote better habits, which brings us to the next point:
Optimize your environment
The third powerful tool to increase your motivation is to create an environment that is conducive to getting things done.
This goes back, in a way, to the philosophy of mise-en-place. If your bedroom or office is cluttered and disorganized, how can you expect your brain to focus on your work?
Not only that but having a space that your brain associates with productivity are awesome. It’s all a matter of context. Just as science tells us to use your bed only for sleeping, you should have a space that you use only for studying.
Use the Pomodoro Technique to Overcome Inertia
Here’s a way to overcome your resistance to studying all the time:
- Set a timer for twenty-five minutes and work on only one task during those twenty-five minutes.
- Take a five-minute break after the timer goes off.
- Repeat your 25/5 block four more times.
- Take a longer break.
The Pomodoro Technique not only helps eliminate resistance, because exercising for 25 minutes is manageable; Plus, over time, it can help improve your attention and focus.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly this 25-minute block of time goes by, and when you start flowing nicely, don’t be afraid to ignore the timer and keep going! The whole purpose of the technique is just to get you started.
As you work, keep a sheet of paper by your side. When you think of something (say, you need to email your teacher, text a friend, or look up a recipe for Skyrim candy), write it down on the piece of paper and get back to work.
Find the motivation you need to study
To summarize, if you are having trouble studying, there are five steps you need to take:
- Take a walk outside.
- Commit to a single task and write it down.
- Clear your workspace to neutral.
- Use the “low effort” trick to get started.
- Beat procrastination with the Pomodoro Technique.
Combine that with a dose of self-discipline, healthy study habits developed over a period of time, and a well-designed study space that drives you to success, and you shouldn’t find it too difficult to feel motivated to get the job done.
While you’re here, check out Thomas’ studio playlist. There’s nothing like the right song to set the tone for a job well done.
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