Not every study motivation strategy is going to work for everyone, but there’s something out there that will work for you. We’ve compiled a list of study motivation ideas to try out when you just need to buckle down and get it done. Don’t forget to book in for our study organisation and motivation workshop.
The Pomodoro Technique
At its core, the Pomodoro Technique is very simple:
Study for 25 minutes
Take a break for 5-10 minutes
Repeat the cycle 4 times
Take a longer break
Of course, there are variations of this technique, and you might find that you like shorter study intervals, or maybe you can only repeat the cycle three times until you need a longer break. No matter how you customize it for yourself, when you know the end is in sight and a break is coming up, it makes studying easier for longer periods.
To help keep track of time and make sure you’re not constantly checking the clock, set a timer for both your study sessions and your breaks. You can make the most of your breaks by getting up and doing something physical that gets your blood pumping. If you use your breaks to watch 10 minutes of a TV show, you probably won’t be very motivated to jump back in.
The Pomodoro Technique also works really well in conjunction with website and app blockers.
Create your own reward system
Choose something that you really want: a box of cookies, a break to go for a run, a trip to the movies, etc. Whatever it is, use it as a reward for completing a study session. Maybe you buy some cookies but only allow yourself to eat them once you’ve studied for an hour. Maybe you decide to go see a new movie, but you can only go once you’ve studied for three hours or mastered 20 terms. Maybe you pick up some candy and pop one in your mouth every time you correctly answer a question or complete a practice problem. Maybe you make your favourite snack, but decide that from now until your test, you can only eat this snack while you’re studying.
Creating shorter reward intervals as in the example with the candy after each question might work better at first if you’re really having trouble focusing. Once you get in the groove or start to find a little more motivation, you can work up to more delayed gratification.
To really put the pressure on and encourage yourself to do well, try creating a reward for yourself that you can only receive if you do well on the exam or in the course as a whole. Having your parents get in on this can be helpful, too.
Believe it or not, you can use procrastination to your advantage. Structured procrastination was first created and explained by Stanford University professor John Perry.
If you tend to procrastinate, you likely do easy or simple tasks while putting off harder, bigger tasks. “The procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important,” Perry explains. For this technique to work, you’ll need to think of tasks that are more important or difficult than studying and put them at the top of your to-do list. Then studying–a task that is also important–becomes an easier task and one that you’re more inclined to do as a way not to do that more important task
Most important of all – know what you need to know, otherwise, you could spend time revising the wrong content and this is frustrating, demotivating and pointless.