Staying motivated to study is a really important aspect of university life. I’ve found university to be less guided and much more independent than sixth form or college. Here are a few of my top tips to keep you motivated!
Set realistic goals
The first thing I do when working on an assignment is to break it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. This makes the work seem much less daunting and I find it easier to focus if I set small goals. By doing this you get a sense of achievement when you complete a task, which encourages you to keep working.
I find that scheduling little rewards for reaching a goal keeps me motivated as well. These can be small things like having a snack or a cup of tea to bigger things like a takeaway or watching a film. It is important to keep these rewards sensible and proportional to the amount of effort that you put into achieving that goal. Giving yourself really generous rewards for not much work can make you lose motivation to start working again. This could lead to you having to rush in order to finish an assignment and nobody likes doing that!
Take time out
It is important to take breaks as well. Whether you’re someone who creates timetables, planning out exactly what needs doing, or you prefer less structured work, it’s always important to plan for some time out. Personally, I like to get outside for some fresh air and to clear my head. Doing something you enjoy can help you mentally reset and be more productive when you start working again.
The Pomodoro technique is a great way of integrating breaks into your workday and I know many students and lecturers that use this method. It involves working for 25 minutes, having a quick break and then starting again. As 25 minutes isn’t actually that long, you’re more likely to start working and if you feel like you’re starting to lose focus, then checking the timer and seeing that there isn’t that much time left is a great way to get back in the zone! There are free apps and browser extensions that make using this technique really simple.
Another tip would be to try to minimise distractions while you work. Watching a few YouTube videos can quickly end in hours passing in the blink of an eye so it’s important to be mindful of these distractions. I’ve found installing programs that limit time on social media really useful. The Forest: Stay focused” app is a good example. As well as this, having a designated work space allows you to keep your work and personal time separate. Working from bed may sound great but in reality you may start to associate that space with work or you may struggle to get motivated to do anything.
Perhaps the most important tip is that you need to look after yourself. Being conscious of both your physical and mental health is really important, not just for staying motivated but your wellbeing in general. Having a regular sleep schedule, exercising, a balanced diet and not overworking yourself can all benefit your wellbeing. Being aware of these factors can help keep you healthy, motivated and productive. If you do feel like you’re struggling with anything, at the University of York there are some really good support networks in place so never feel bad about getting help.
Be kind to yourself
If you worked really hard for an assessment but didn’t get the grade you were hoping for, try not to beat yourself up over it. Instead, use it as an opportunity to improve. Find out what went wrong and use this as motivation for the next piece of work rather than the opposite. I know it can be really tough but it is possible. Book into the office hours of lecturers for the module so you can talk about the assessment. At the University of York, you also have an academic supervisor who is there to support and help you improve your work. This will hopefully lead to grades improving, adding to your confidence and encouraging you to do your best work!
That makes up my tips for staying motivated while studying and I hope they were useful. Find what works for you and keep pushing forward!
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