Do you have the motivation to study from home?

Lets face facts… you have a lesson at 9am, what time is your alarm set for? 8am? What time do you actually get out of bed? 8.50am? Yep, we bet that is true for the majority of students taking online classes during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Roll out of bed, walk across to your desk, make sure your webcam is turned off and login to the relevant platform ready for Maths… Sound familiar?

So, why is it hard to find the motivation?

One of the first things to understand is that you shouldn’t expect to feel motivated all the time! Yes, you will probably be feeling a greater sense of uncertainty at this time, which may be causing you to panic. The more you panic, the harder it is to get to work, resulting in a lack of motivation.

So, if you are waiting for the perfect time to start that piece of homework, compile your revision notes or complete a past paper the perfect time is now. Procrastination is one of the most complex problems you can face. Understanding why you scroll through your social media feed one more time, or choose to watch the latest episode of your favourite programme, rather than studying is the first step to take in finding your motivation.

Let’s take a look at some key steps to getting back on-track:

1.     Bite-size chunks

Revision can be overwhelming. Break it down into bite-size chunks that makes it not so scary.

Example: Read 3 pages of the text book, make revision cards and complete 5 Multiple choice questions on one particular topic.

2.     Reward yourself

What is it that you love to do? Is it scrolling through Social Media, catching up on TV, eating chocolate… Whatever it maybe, when you complete a bite-size chunk, reward yourself. Most research shows that study sessions should be between 30-90 minutes. A one hour block gives you enough time to dive deep into the material, but isn’t so long that your mind wanders.

3.     Time Management

Good time management allows you to accomplish more in a shorter period of time, which leads to more free time, which lets you take advantage of learning opportunities, lower your stress and helps you focus… Each benefit of time management improves another aspect of your life. We are creatures of habit and once you develop a study routine you’ll find it easier to motivate yourself as you will want to maintain your routine… Habits aren’t formed overnight, though – typically, it takes 21 days to create a new habit so stick at it!

If you need a template to help plan your time then head over to our Facebook page and download our revision template.

4.     Set a Goal

Do you know what you want to achieve? Have you chosen your preferred course for university? By setting a goal, you have something to work towards. Define what it is you want to achieve, then break it down. How does each bite-size study period help you achieve your goal? Goal setting is a major component of any employment; therefore, learning how to set SMART goals and objectives now can help you in the future. When you have set your goal, build an action plan that is designed to motivate and guide you towards achieving it.

One reason for setting a goal is maybe that you want to live without regrets!

5.     Make it interesting

Studying doesn’t have to be boring. There are many ways to make it fun… listening to music, turning it into game, creating a nice inviting study space, challenging yourself, making it colourful, writing comics, short stories, songs or poems relating to your revision topics.

Mind maps might be a great way to make it interesting. Why? Because they mimic the way the brain works. When you create a mind map, you’re mapping out the way your brain has processed a certain topic. This makes it easier for you to recall the information when you need it.

Create an online study group, whether this be via WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom, Messenger or any other applications. Utilise messages from others to help stimulate your own motivation or schedule face to face call groups to discuss a topic, role play or test each other. Just because you can’t revise together physically, doesn’t mean that you can’t revise together.

6.     Gain understanding

One of the keys to effective studying is to develop an understanding of the topic rather than just memorising facts. A key part of your development at university will be to ensure you can understand the relationships and connections between different concepts, and how you research effectively to gather relevant information, apply principles to the facts you have discovered, and draw conclusions to underpin your theories. Developing these skills during revision will be your building blocks for university; understanding a topic is far more rewarding than memorising it and it will also keep you motivated. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

7.     Exercise

How do you find the energy you need to have a successful study session? Tea, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate?

While it may seem counterproductive to exercise when you have a timetable to follow, studies actually show you gain significant benefits from exercising. Yes, energy drinks may promise to ‘give you wings’ but exercise not only energises your body, but it also kick-starts your brain. Research shows that physical exercise releases proteins in the brain that can actually help improve your memory and increase your cognitive performance. Exercise also reduces stress by releasing endorphins, making you happier. So, go for a jog, walk or cycle, do push ups or situps, or follow an exercise DVD/ programme on You Tube and then get ready to focus!

8.     Take a break

We learn new information by forming memories. Allowing time between each study session enables this to happen. Memories are formed through links between neurons in the brain. In order for these memories to become embedded, the neurons have to be left undisturbed for a period of time.

Relax. Recharge. Learn better.

Take a walk – at the moment this may be difficult. If you have a garden walk around it, look at the things in your garden that you have never noticed before. If not, put your headphones on and walk on the spot.

Have a snack: there are so many foods that benefit studying – bananas, for example. Remember to stay hydrated especially by drinking water.

Meditate. Meditation is a fantastic way to clear your head while you are studying. There are many apps out there that can help such as Balance or Calm.

Don’t forget to take a nap… If you need a nap, take one! Studying can be tiring. Sleep experts have found that daytime naps can improve many things: they increased alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, brighten your mood and boost memory.

So, spend a few minutes every day visualising yourself successfully completing your various study activities, think of the bigger picture and what you want to achieve, then create new habits! Your future is in your hands.

If you need help with your online study routine, get in touch. Phoenix College Malaga started out as an online support college, so many of our teachers are already experienced at teaching via virtual classrooms and issuing directed learning tasks.

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