Whether you want to get motivated to study so you can pass a math test or your BAR exam, figuring out how to get motivated to study or how to stay focused on homework when you’re not feeling it can be a real slog.
After all, there’s nothing tangible that you can complete with studying.
It’s something you to do to prepare for something else, and you almost never feel like you’re finished because there’s always more to learn and you can always look over your notes more.
It’s not like getting motivated to write an essay where there’s always an easy beginning and end.
But I can tell you that, in the spirit of Goodbye, Self Help, you need to suck it up and stop reading articles like this one and actually get down to studying.
“But I’m desperate,” you say. “Please, tell me how to get motivated to study even though I accept that my time would be better spent actually studying right now.”
Fine, I’ll show you how to get motivated to study, but then you need a read of my productivity tips and then you need to stop making excuses and study.
Study Tools You Need RIght Now
1. Find Your Why
There’s always a reason you’re studying for something.
Even if it’s a high school test and you have to take it because you need to pass the class, you can find your why.
This is easier when it’s something like a real estate qualification test that is going to help you jumpstart your new career.
But even if it seems like a pointless quiz your teacher is making you do, you know that you need to do well on it to do well in school, which is going to give you more opportunities in the future and is going to help you hone your skills and intelligence that will make you a more well-rounded person in the future.
Nobody studies in a vaccum, so find your why and write that down first.
2. Tap into Your Emotion
Again, you need to connect some sort of emotion with studying.
Think how good you’ll feel if you get an A on the test, or think about how accomplished you’ll feel when you graduate medical school after passing all of the required exams.
Look to the future and picture yourself doing well on whatever it is you need to do and how much better you’ll feel than if you do average or poorly and didn’t even bother to study.
A lot of things in life require emotions to help us move forward, and studying is no different.
3. Chunk it Down
If you have to write a 2,000 word paper, you don’t need to write it all at once.
One of my biggest productivity improvement tips is to chunk it down into segments or the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion so it feels easier to achieve.
If you’re studying for a test, you can also chunk it down into segments.
Say you have to learn all of the parts of the body.
Before you even start to study, separate the body into different sections that you have to learn.
Looking at a mammoth task can be very overwhelming, but getting motivated to learn just the bones in the leg?
Much easier than looking at the whole skeleton and wanting to cry.
4. Create a Study Partnership
If you’re really struggling motivating yourself to study, create a study partnership with someone who you know will help you keep on track.
This isn’t always helpful if you create a partnership with someone who is going to distract you, but if you have a friend or classmate you work well with, it can be helpful to reach out and ask if they want to help keep you accountable and have some in-person study sessions so you can quiz each other and stick to your plan to study.
You can even go so far as to create a larger study group or hold a virtual study group using a tool like Skype, but keep in mind that the more people, the more opportunity for distraction.
5. Come Up with Rewards for Yourself
Sometimes, getting motivated to study involves rewarding yourself at the end with more than just a good grade.
And that’s totally fine.
You can embrace external rewards and set some for yourself, particularly when it’s a subject you find really dry or boring (this is how I got through geology in college, hello).
Set yourself up so that once you study the first chapter, you get some chocolate, and when you finish studying for the evening, you get a pizza dinner.
It could also be something like where after 5 days of studying, you treat yourself to one day at the spa or some other kind of bargain you make with yourself.
If you’re someone with little discipline, tell a friend or family member what you’re doing and “report in” to them to tell when you can get your reward instead of just being able to reward yourself.
6. Make a List You can Actually Complete
As humans, we have a certain amount of things we can handle thinking about at once and a certain amount of things we can get done during the day.
You can be the most productive person around and spend all day figuring out how to be more efficient, but at the end of the day, there is a limit.
Make your studying plan realistic and a list you can actually complete each day to help you stay focused on your studying goals.
To be able to complete a 2,000 word research paper, study chemistry for 2 hours, create a diorama of ancient Egypt and complete 100 math problems in an afternoon is going to stress even the most productive of us out.
Follow the next tip and you’ll be able to keep your studying going smoothly without crying at your desk (which I have done, often).
7. Do Less, More Often
When you’re setting your plan for studying, you can set it to study less each time, but for more instances during the week.
If you need to study world history for 5 hours, do one hour per day for 5 days instead of it all at once.
This will help keep you sane and actually complete more than you would if you did it all at once.
Spending one hour on a topic and staying organized is much easier than 5.
8. Accept that it’s not Fun and do it Anyway
Studying isn’t fun for everyone, and even those who do enjoy learning and school or tests will find that there are just some subjects or times in life when studying is the last thing you want to do.
Accept that and do it anyway.
Read some quotes on not giving up and get back to it.
If we only went around doing things that we thought were fun, we run the real risk of not feeling productive or confident in our lives.
It’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to infuse fun into your studying, but at the end of the day, you need to just suck it up and do it regardless of how motivated you are.