Date of Publication: 20 May 2020
Learning from home? Finding that you’ve got no motivation to study?
Studying at home can be difficult. And we know that the effects of 2020 meant that it’s something 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 to separate studying from free time and create a healthy academia-life balance. With mounting pressures and reduced downtime, you can soon find yourself falling out of a regular routine and eventually, lacking motivation to study.
Home has lots of nice distractions and often, is a far more relaxed environment than the classroom. First and foremost, it’s unlikely you have a teacher challenging you to reach your potential – instead you’re accountable for the work you get done and the success of your studies.
And secondly, it’s much easier to take regular breaks, grab snacks, or even pick up your mobile phone. Your self-discipline plays an incremental role in your daily studies.
Looking for tips on how to motivate yourself to study and stop procrastinating?
Take a look below at our top 10 tips on how to study effectively at home. Include these as part of your daily study routine to start using your study time more efficiently and keep your learning ahead of the rest.
1. Designated study space
The first step to help you motivate yourself to study at home involves creating a designated space for your learning and revision to take place. Whether it’s a desk in your bedroom, or a portion of the kitchen table, make sure you sit in this same 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.
Have no motivation to study? Preparing your study area will help focus your mind into a study ‘zone,’ without needing to actually study. With enough repetition, each time you perform this ritual, your brain will unconsciously focus your attention towards studying, helping you to remain concentrated on your work.
2. Effective study schedule
One of the greatest benefits of getting up and going into school and/or college or university, is that you follow a structured timetable that helps your body get into routine. As humans, we need routine to help our brains know where and when to focus our attention, as well as when to relax. Therefore, it’s essential you create your own schedule/timetable to ensure you can study efficiently at home.
Having a routine for home life is effective at helping your brain to continue to follow this kind of structure, help you feel motivated to study, 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 on your studies.
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 – even up to two or three hours 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.
You may find it tempting to skip a break, especially if you’re in the flow of your work. But working in short increments will actually help keep you motivated to complete the tasks within the time given – helping you to work more efficiently.
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. Anything you can do to get the blood flowing to your brain will help your motivation to study at home.
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 have no motivation to study 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. It’s the old rinse and repeat technique that seems to work great at first, but, as with anything in life, the more we duplicate tasks, the more mundane they become.
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, block distractions, and ultimately, help you to stay motivated to study.
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. Try a 10-minute study stint
How many times do you sit at your desk, checking emails or sorting notes, so that you don’t actually have to study? Often, one of the biggest issues you may face when trying to motivate yourself to study is to actually begin. However, in most cases, breaking down this initial cognitive barrier is enough to give us the motivation we need to study for longer stints.
If this sounds like you, try setting yourself a timer for ten minutes. Tell yourself that within those ten minutes, you’re going to focus completely on your work and get as much done as possible.
Add that after the ten minutes, if you don’t feel like working, you can pause, and come back to it after doing some relaxing. But, we guarantee that this initial 10-minute study stint will likely be enough time to get you into the flow and stay motivated to study.
8. Set small challenges
Are you someone who finds that being competitive helps you to achieve your best? Sometimes, students who set themselves small goals and challenges with their work can actually help them to be more productive – simply by changing the way they frame and phrase language around their studies.
Setting small goals has been proven to help us be more successful and concentrate for longer periods of time. So, next time you find yourself with no motivation to study, ask yourself “how much can I achieve in the next 2 hours?” instead of thinking “can I even complete all of this?”
Framing your challenges in this way will help you achieve two things:
- Help you feel less overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to complete, and;
- Make you feel more motivated to complete as many tasks as possible within your study session.
Make sure to keep a to-do list next to you as you study in this way – seeing what you have achieved with in the time period will be the positive reinforcement you need to help you feel motivated to go back and study again.
9. Try to understand why you have no motivation to study
Sometimes, even after trying all the different tools and techniques in this list, it can still feel like you have absolutely no motivation to study.
In these circumstances, rather than growing frustrated with yourself and forcing yourself to work, take a moment to acknowledge and explore your reasons for not feeling motivated.
Perhaps you have some personal things going on that are making you feel sluggish? Maybe you’re just tired of revising the same topic for an upcoming test? Write down whatever comes to mind so you can process these thoughts.
Often, simply getting things out of your mind and onto paper can be enough to help you clear your mind and focus on your studies. But if this doesn’t sound like that’s working for you, don’t be afraid to take a short stint away from your studying and return when you’re feeling better. After all, it might be far more productive to spend half an hour doing something you enjoy and working a little later, rather than forcing yourself to sit at a desk when you’re in the wrong headspace.
10. Explore your lack of motivation
Setting yourself a reward – no matter how big or small – for when you have completed a particular task or set of tasks is a great way to keep yourself motivated while studying at home. Especially during current circumstances – any small reward can really help to lift our moods and be the self-recognition we need to keep pushing with our work.
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.
No matter what stage of your education you are at, you’re probably always going to come to a stage where you find yourself lacking motivation to study. Due to the unprecedented challenges this past year has brought upon us, this lack of motivation has become far more prominent for many students, mainly because of the loss of routine and ability to participate in extracurricular activities with their schoolmates and friends.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and techniques you can use to try and focus your mind and help you to feel more motivated to study. Their main aim is to help your body get into the daily routine of studying, so that over time, you’ll find it far easier to ‘get into the zone’ and, ultimately, study effectively at home.
You may need to trial and error a few of them to see which work best for you, but eventually, you’ll find a rhythm and routine that works for you.
Discover a new motivation to study at home with Melio
Sometimes, exploring a new online learning option can be everything you need to get excited and help you find yourself motivated to study.
Melio Education is our sister company and new online learning platform. Taking the best of Oxford Summer Courses’ in-person teaching and adapting it for online, Melio connects you with some of the top tutors in the world – no matter where you are located.
With a carefully curated selection of academic subjects to choose from, as well as a choice between 1:1 tutoring and online courses, they offer a tailored learning programme to suit every student’s preferences.