As our time at home continues, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated and focused to keep on top of study, watch lectures, and get stuff done. If you’re used to going to campus, that can act as an external motivator to help you get moving on your work. This new way of working doesn’t have that, so how do we stay motivated and focused?
Top tips for motivated study
- Discipline always beats motivation. Motivation is a feeling that sometimes goes away, but discipline will be your friend at a time like this. Don’t wait until you feel motivated, because you won’t.
- Looking at deadlines, exams, or the marks you need can help you to realise that you need to work.
- Imagine your tutor or lecturer was standing behind your desk right now. What would they say when they saw that you’re building a tower out of your highlighters and erasers? They’ve been working hard on this transition to online learning, and it’s respectful to them when you participate.
Top Tips for Focused Study
Sitting down to do work without distractions can be difficult at the best of times. Work out what distracts you and how to avoid it. For example:
- Set blocks of time where you can’t look at your phone. Either use an app, put it in another room, or give it to someone else.
- If you need to use the internet to do your work, but the internet is full of distractions, set blocks of time where you can’t check social media, news, or watch videos. Log-out of your accounts as it’s one extra step.
- Write down things you can do later (for example, folding up all your socks has a strong appeal right now). This will help you not to procrastinate.
- Get started on the easy things (for example, typing out quotes you want to use in your essay). Once you get started, it’s easier to keep going on the more difficult bits.
Resting and screens
We are all going to be using screens much more over the next few months. However, screens have been shown to stimulate your brain in unhelpful ways, interfere with your sleep, and have an addictive effect. So if you’ve been looking at screens all day studying, and now want to wind down and relax, bear in mind that going straight from watching lectures to watching Netflix is not going to be restful. Take some time out from screens, read a book, go for a walk or do something physical like cooking dinner. Interact with a real human! Make sure that your rest time is actually restful and recharges you for another day of looking at screens tomorrow. You can also use blue light blockers on your computer and phone to lessen the effect on your sleep.
We have something extra up our sleeve when it comes to study, don’t we? Jesus asked his disciples to “Keep watch while I pray”. And when he found them sleeping, Jesus told them to pray, saying “The body is weak, but the Spirit is willing”. We can pray to God for motivation to do everything for his glory in this difficult time. You never know, he might answer that prayer.
Let’s do that now:
“Father, in this difficult time, help me to be motivated, not so that I can get good marks and glory for myself, but so that I honour you and bring you glory in this time. Please give me motivation by your Spirit to keep trusting you. Amen.”