How To Study When You Don’t Feel Like It
Nobody feels motivated to study all the time. But, your assignments aren’t going to go away just because you don’t feel like working on them! This is where discipline comes in - sometimes you just have to sit down and make yourself do the work. Here’s how I do it.
1. Sit at a desk. This can be a desk in your room, a desk in a library, or even a table (kind of like a desk, right?) in a coffee shop. Desks scream “I’m going to get stuff done today” in a way that couches and beds and beanbags just don’t.
2. Get organised. Set a time limit for this to prevent yourself from procrastinating by doing an all-day room tidy! About 10-20 minutes is a good time. Neaten up your study space, get all your books and pens laid out, and get some water and snacks next to you.
3. Make a list. Put something really fast and easy to do at the top, and then follow that up with the most important things. This means that you will get to cross something off the list right away which is a good feeling and might even give you some motivation to keep going, and then you can use this momentum to power through the rest.
4. Set time limits. Work hard with no distractions for 20 or so minutes (depending just how much you are struggling with study today), then take a 10 minute break. This is quite a large amount of rest compared to what I’d normally take but on unmotivated days I find it’s better to take longer study breaks to help me keep going.
5. Listen to energising music. (Unless you will get distracted by this). It helps if you make a soundtrack that you only listen to when studying, then when your brain hears this music then it automatically gets ready to study!
6. Reward yourself. Make a cup of tea as a reward for reading a chapter. Watch a cat video as a reward for writing an essay draft. Whatever works for you.
7. Get some exercise. I find that when I’m really struggling to concentrate, a walk, a jog, or a yoga class can really help. Pick your favourite type of exercise and go for it!
8. Create accountability. Text a friend and tell them what you plan to get done in the next hour. Ask them to text you at the end of the hour and find out just how much you’ve got done. You won’t want to report that you’ve been on tumblr the whole time, so you’ll have to do some study!
9. Chew gum. I’ve known for a while that this helps me focus better but I’ve never looked into why before. I had a quick search today and apparently it improves concentration and memory by increasing oxygen flow to the brain (source).
10. Ask yourself why. We all have unmotivated days but if it’s getting really bad, have a think about why. Do you need to take a few days off to rest and recover? Do you need more sleep or exercise? Is your diet lacking brain foods? Are you getting sick? Do you need to talk to someone? Studying is good but looking after yourself is more important, so make sure you listen to what your body is telling you.