Date of Publication: 20 May 2020
Studying at home can be difficult. And we know recently it’s something that a lot students have had to get accustomed to.
If you’re used to going into school or university each day, it can be hard when studying at home to separate studying from free time, and create an equal balance.
Home has lots of nice distractions, and a much more relaxed timetable. As a result, you may be feeling unmotivated and find it hard to get into a rhythm of daily study. You may also not be studying effectively and using your time to your full potential.
Looking for tips on how to stop procrastinating? Take a look below at our top seven ways to stay motivated while studying at home, that will help you to start using your time more effectively, and keep your learning ahead of the rest.
1. Designated study space
The first step to staying motivated whilst studying at home involves creating a designated space for you to study in. Whether it’s a desk in your bedroom, or a portion of the kitchen table, make sure you sit in this designated space each time you want to study, so your body gets into a routine of knowing that this is the space in which it needs to focus.
Make sure to de-clutter the area of any distractions (including your phone, the television or even the cat or dog), and give yourself as much clean space as possible – clean space, clean mind. This means putting away textbooks that you don’t need, regularly removing used cups/mugs, and giving yourself enough room to place your computer or laptop and all your required study materials.
2. Effective study schedule
Having a routine for your studying is a great way to keep you motivated and has even been proven to help increase students’ grades. Knowing you need to complete certain tasks or a set amount of revision by a certain time or date encourages you to stay focused and work through.
Even if your deadlines for exams have been cancelled recently, it’s good to still give yourself a loose study routine to keep ahead of your academia for when you return to school or university. You can instead set time sensitive targets such as; reading a certain topic before your virtual class, or read three additional secondary reading texts before the next term begins.
Want some more tips? Take a look at our blog on creating an effective study schedule for further help on how to create a timetable that works for you.
3. Regular breaks
It’s the age old question – should you force yourself to sit down and concentrate for hours on end? Or should you study in short bursts and give yourself regular breaks? Well, scientific research has found that taking even a brief break can dramatically improve one’s ability to concentrate for prolonged periods of time.
When creating your study schedule, be sure to factor in breaks so that you can give your brain a chance to reset and refocus. Research suggests that you will be able to reach your ‘perfect productivity’ by working in periods of 52 minutes and then taking a break for 17.
Breaks should be active, and remove you from your desk. Try going into your garden for a few minutes to sit in the fresh air, or by getting up and pouring yourself a glass of water.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise isn’t just great for our physical and mental health, but it’s also been shown to improve concentration when studying. So, why not try going out for a run during your lunch break to get your blood pumping? Or, if you’ve got lots of virtual classes scheduled and won’t be able to have a long break, you could always go for a walk in the morning so you can kick-start your day feeling refreshed and motivated.
If you can, you should even try exercising during your mini-breaks that are dotted amongst your study time. Even if it’s doing 40 star jumps or stretching for ten minutes, it’s a quick and easy way to release those endorphins and help to improve your concentration levels.
5. Mix up your learning style
Often, the reason why we lose motivation for studying is because we grow tired of repeating the same learning style, e.g. reading a textbook and condensing it down into a page of notes.
To keep your learning new and exciting, you should try mixing up the way you approach it, trying out new study methods. It’s a chance to get creative and mix up each day, so you don’t get into the same tiring repetition of tasks which you will soon get bored of doing.
For example, if you like studying in groups, perhaps you could try organising a virtual study group. You and your friends can take it in turns to each present a different part of a subject topic to the others. But, be careful not to spend too much time socialising and catching up at the start, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get distracted and off-topic from studying.
Alternatively, if you work better alone and you’re feeling creative, you could try writing a short story about a topic you have learned, or even writing a song about it – there’s plenty of ways for you to mix it up and keep your learning exciting!
6. Productivity technology
The great thing about studying at home and creating your own routine is that you have access to so many technologies that can help to keep you organised and stay motivated. Here’s a few of our favourites:
- Forest App – A free downloadable app for your phone that helps you to keep focused. Whenever you need to concentrate for a set period of time – perhaps for your 52 minutes of study – you set a tree to grow during that time. If you get distracted and go on your phone during the set time, then your tree dies. If you don’t, you’ve successfully planted another one to add to your forest! The best thing is, the more trees people grow on their phones, the more real trees the app owners plant to help the environment.
- Focus Booster App – Available on most laptops and tablets, Focus Booster is a time-tracking app that helps you to focus on your tasks. Using the Pomodoro Technique, it claims to help you increase your concentration levels and minimise interruptions.
- Todoist – If you have lots of overhanging tasks, then Todoist is a great tool at helping you to keep track of them. Again, downloadable to your laptop or computer, you can set tasks with completion dates, and set reminders to prompt you to get them finished before the deadline.
7. Reward yourself
Setting yourself a reward – no matter how big or small – for when you have completed your studying is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Especially during current circumstances – any small reward can really help perk us up!
Whether it’s small rewards and often, such as a 15 minute phone call with your friend after an hour’s study, or larger, like treating yourself to an episode of your favourite show on Netflix after a full 6 hours of studying, research suggests that rewards are one of the most important factors in helping us to stay motivated and keep focused.