Why do I find it so difficult to get started with my study?
Why is it that some students just seem to be able to get stuck in and study whenever they want to and seem to enjoy themselves whilst doing so, and then there are those that just seem to struggle to even get started? To answer this question we need to look at the bigger picture and see what their motivations are.
Firstly there are basically 3 groups of students at college/university:
1. Those that are easily able to get on with their study and complete assignments.
2. Those that want to succeed but just seem to get stuck on where to start.
3. Those that are there for a good time.
I am going to hazard a guess that if you have come to this blog that you fit in the second category, you want to succeed and want to get ahead but just can’t seem to get going. Do you want to know what the secret to succeeding is?
There is no magic formula that instantly works for everyone. However there are things that you are able to do that have worked for those people who are prepared to follow through. When people don’t have clarity they tend to put things off, to procrastinate and find excuses.
So lets get started.
What is the driving force?
People do things for one of two reasons;
1. To gain pleasure or reward,
2. To avoid loss or pain
Of these two things we will do more to avoid loss or pain than what we will do to chase a reward or to gain pleasure. Why? Well I think that the thought of the loss is that we are losing something that you already have, whereas the failure to gain the reward or pleasure was something that you are going to get in the future. We seem to value the thing we have more highly than the ultimate goal that we are after. How do we change this around?
Getting the Motivation!
So using the above information we can now start to work on our motivation. To do this we need to do two things, attach more pain/loss to not studying and increase the rewards we get from studying.
Each of us have a different reason for wanting to study, whether it is the job or career at the end of the process or something else. You need to decide what it is for your individual circumstances. So what is it for you? Focus on all the rewards you are going to receive as a result of completing your study.
Then we have to focus on the loss or pain we face if we don’t study. Is it we end up flipping burgers in a truck stop cafe? Again you will have your own view on what this end result is, work out what it is for you. Then focus on how bad it could be if we don’t study, this should start to get some urgency and desire to get on with your study.
Right we should now be clear on why we want to study and succeed. We have caught up to the the first group, those that are easily able to get into their study.
Where to from here?
A lot of college students don’t see the point of doing their work quickly, because they feel that they have a lot of time to finish it up, or they tell themselves that they work better with their backs against the wall. This might be true for some people, but it really isn’t the case for a lot of students. Putting off work that should have been done is very stressful, which is why it doesn’t make much sense. This might sound corny, but students who take the time to do their work early, do better in their classes and have less stress than their peers that wait until the last minute.
This makes a lot of sense if you think about it for a second, if you go to the library for a couple of hours after your classes each day, and do a little light study or review of your notes from the day, and also finish any homework you might have, you have the rest of your day to do as you wish, and the information from your lectures will be easier to remember by the time a test comes around.
Getting the most out of your study time
How do we get the most out of our study time and study habits? Now we have sorted out our motivation and desire to study most of the hard work is done. All we need to do now is put in place some study habits to achieve the best results with the available time and resources we have. There are many things that you can do to keep you motivated to study, and avoid procrastination, some of which include.
Creating a Study Group
A lot of people who usually find themselves procrastinating instead of getting their work done, prefer to work in groups with their peers. Working in a group helps you keep motivated, because a lot of the times, each member of the group is supposed to focus on one part of the subject matter that they are studying, and explain it to the rest of the group. This is a great way to understand topics without having to read the whole book, and since you wouldn’t want to be the only one in your group who didn’t read their part, you will have the motivation that you need to do so.
Break Your Work into Small Parts
When you have to study or do homework, it can get overwhelming if you have a lot of ground to cover. Some people have had success breaking down what they have to do into smaller parts. For example, if you have to read a whole book by a certain day, instead of waiting till a few days before the deadline to read it, you can break it down to a couple of chapters that you need to read per day. This will make it easy for you to get started on it, and you might even get into the book and its subject matter, and finish it quicker than you planned. This can be applied to most school work that you aren’t motivated to get done.
Do the Hard Stuff First
This is something that applies to a lot of things that you do in life. In the school setting, if you have to study for a class, or do some homework, it is always better to get the hard stuff done first. For example, if you have chemistry, but love music, it is better to get the chemistry work out of the way first, because it is the hardest, by the time you are done with it, you will be looking forward to the music work, and it won’t take as long to finish. If you start with the music first, you will have a harder time staying motivated to finish the chemistry.
There is a fantastic book available that covers this area. Eat That Frog! less than $10 on Amazon, check it out.
Distractions are probably the biggest reasons people procrastinate, you might just want to quickly check your email, but you see a tweet or Instagram by one of your friends and click it, which leads to you spending over an hour doing something other than the work you were trying to get done. You should try to avoid these types of distractions in order to stay motivated to do your work. If you plan on spending an hour studying, put your phone on silent for the hour, and also try to do the work in an environment where you will be the least distracted, like the school library.
A tactic that works for a lot of people to keep them motivated when they are trying to get their work done, is to reward themselves once they complete it. The reward depends on what you personally prefer. Some people reward themselves with their favorite snacks, some reward themselves by going out with their friends and blowing off a little steam, and others reward themselves by playing video games. The bottom line is that you deserve a reward for staying motivated and completing the task.
These are just a few tips to help you get motivated to study while in school, there are plenty of other tips that you can use that are just as useful, these are just to help you get started.
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