If you’re anything like me, finding the will and drive to study is difficult.
Procrastination is the love of my life apparently - I find myself waking up, dragging the morning on for as long as I can. I have breakfast, sit on the couch on my phone with the TV on for a bit, and just as I decide to get up and have a shower and start my day, my cat decides to sit on my lap. So naturally, I can’t possibly move now. And there I sit for another 20 to 30 minutes until I finally and sorrowfully disturb my cat and make a move. She meows at me with big attitude. Apart from procrastinating, everyone has a particular time when they study best. Some find it easier in the morning, the afternoon, or night. Everyone is different.
I find it easier in the afternoon, from around either 1:30, 2:30 or 3:30, which is when I have lunch so I can sit down, and go onwards into the night. This is mostly because I’ve wasted the morning procrastinating and now, I have nothing else to do. Also, I have been re-watching the Harry Potter movies, so I watch them whilst I have lunch. But then, of course, that’s a whole new form of procrastinating.
So, to get rid of this, or at least become a bit more productive, I have been researching ways to get motivated to study and came across 'romanticising study'. Here are some of the tips I found useful:
- Make your study space aesthetic by having a colour theme and place your books in an organised way.
- Create some atmosphere and light a candle to set the mood - turn on a lamp or fairy lights.
- Use colours to make it fun and artistic! Coloured pens, highlighters, post-its to separate specific notes.
- Go to the old Mortlock library on North Terrace. It has the best lighting, and you will be surrounded by old dusty books. If you listen to ambient music, you will feel like you’re really at Hogwarts.
- Pretend you’re studying for your OWL’s at Hogwarts with music and ambience you can find on YouTube and create a playlist of your favs (this honestly helps me get in the zone so much, and there are other themes like the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and more)! Alternatively, listen to music without lyrics - jazz or classical really helps.
- Make sure to cozy up (not too much that you might feel tired), put on a warm jumper or an Oodie if you’ve got one (get one if you don’t), even a blanket on your lap or a heat pack. I also like to have my cat sleeping near me because the sound of her purring is comforting.
- Use and create a bullet journal (go to Bulletjournal.com to learn how). This can help aesthetically plan and take notes effectively.
- Listen and learn! Some people find it hard to do the weekly readings, which is fair, there are so many of them! On most computers, whether it’s on a PDF or the actual website, you can highlight the text and click on “edit” at the top of your screen, go down to “speech” and select “Start speaking”. Alternatively, you can just right-click on the highlighted text and do the same thing.
- A new environment! Change it up a bit and take your study to the park, or even the beach. Getting fresh air and sun on your skin is important!
- Create a timetable on when you should have breaks during the day and follow it! It’s important to take a few breaks during the day, no one should study hours on end.
- Make sure to have tea! I am a tea freak, and every time I have one while studying, I feel so much better. It’s also good for the soul.
- Unless it’s an assignment, don’t feel like you must do all of one subject. Mix it up, especially if you feel stuck. And if you feel stuck on everything, go away for a bit and come back when you’re ready.
- The 5-minute rule. This rule is something I learned in a book called You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell, my favourite YouTuber. If you feel like you don’t know how to start something, or you feel stuck on a particular thing, you usually feel like there's nothing you can do about it, or you feel lazy or you could never get it done. But if you think of it in a more honest way, you can flip these thoughts around. Set a timer and try writing for five minutes. Write anything, it doesn’t even have to make sense, drafts never do, so just write. You might find yourself on a role and not want to stop. If not, go away, stretch, breath, reset, get a cup of tea, and try again. Studying in short bursts helps you focus more because you know there is a break coming.
- Make sure to get a bit of exercise in.
- Create your own quizzes. If you have an exam coming up, and if you can be bothered, use Quizlet to create your own quiz on what you’ve learnt. Or have flashcards near you when you’re tired of typing or handwriting. I suggest starting this at the beginning of the semester, even just writing one fact down a day that you think might be relevant at the end of the semester.
It seems like a lot, and really, studying SHOULD be easy but for some, it’s not and that’s totally okay. If you take some of these tips into your daily routine of studying from home, you will be surprised at how much they actually help.