Monthly Archives: August 2013

How to Get Yourself to Study When You Don’t Want To

One of the not-great things about still being in school is the fact that I still have to study. Sometimes, when it is a class that I like, studying isn’t too bad. Other times, especially when I’m trying to tackle a subject that I find completely and utterly boring, studying feels like the worst thing in the world. So I totally get it if the thought of studying makes you want to put your head in your hands and cry a little. But here are some tips to make it better.

1. Write down your mission
The first tip for getting motivated to study is simply writing something down that will motivate you. So first think about what you want to get out of your education and write that down. Remember this is your goal. It doesn’t have to be an academic or career goal.  (At one point in my life, my goal was to do well in school so that I could prove my haters wrong). That was all. Whatever it takes to get you studying, make it a goal. And write that goal down and (if possible) put it up where you can see it.

2. Set a stop time
One of the reasons that studying sometimes feels so daunting is that, theoretically, studying can go on forever. Unlike writing papers, you are never actually finished with studying, you could always do more. And who wants to spend forever on a subject that they don’t like? So, one of the quickest ways to get yourself motivated to study is to simply plan your ending. Maybe you will quit after two hours of studying. Maybe you will quit after you’ve gone through your entire study guide. Whatever it is, plan your exit strategy ahead of time.

3. Set a timer
Don’t think you can even make it to your stop time? Never fear. Get an egg timer, or use a timer on your phone. Set the timer for a certain amount of time, and promise yourself that in that period of time, you will focus—really focus—on your work. When your timer goals off, it’s break time! Take a break and pat yourself on the back for another hard earned work sessions.

The amount of time you set to focus on your work doesn’t have to be long. Some days, I set a timer for 10 minutes. I think anyone can do almost anything, no matter how boring/hard/confusing/horrible,  for 10 minutes. One of my favorite time-setting methods, the Pomodoro Technique, advocates setting a timer for 25 minutes and taking a break every five minutes. Whatever amount of time works for you, set a timer for that amount and promise yourself that—for at least that amount of time—you will focus on studying.

3. Bribe yourself
If you’re like me and you…um…have a habit of procrastinating by doing anything and everything but studying, you know that while procrastinating is fun, it also comes mixed in with a load of guilt. You know what’s better than looking at Youtube while feeling a little bit guilty? Looking at Youtube with no guilt at all! You can do exactly this when you bribe yourself to study. Tell yourself that for each pre-set amount of time studying, that you can do whatever you like for 5 or 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat.

4. Pair studying with something you like
Music, food, hot chocolate, add whatever it is that you need that will make studying bearable. Admittedly, most experts note that it is easier to concentrate when you are only focused on one thing at a time…and I agree. But I think that halfway concentrating while studying is better than not studying at all. So pack up your own “make this situation better” bag and start studying!

studying help3

5. Study with friends
This goes without saying, but many times, studying with friends can make the studying more fun and more effective. Try to quiz each other, and consider making your study session a game. And then go out for ice cream afterwards. Win win.

6.  Make it a game
As you go through studying, quiz yourself and give yourself a point for every correct answer. When you get to a certain number of points, you’ve won (and can stop studying). Also consider studying by “teaching” a pet or even some stuffed animals. Whatever it takes to make studying more fun, do it.

Michaela-studying2

7. Study in public
You don’t have to stay cooped up in your room to study. Libraries, coffee shops, and parks are all great places to study, especially if you like studying with people around. This way, you can take breaks and people watch. So, if being in your room is making you antsy, get outside your house and get your work done!

8. Get tired
Sometimes you can be too revved up to study. If that’s the case, then do a quick workout before you sit down and study. Make the workout hard enough so that when you are done you are at least a little bit tired. This way, studying will feel like a break and your body will feel calm enough to study.

What are your favorite ways to get yourself to study when you don’t feel like it?

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