With the exam season closing in and all the midterm/finals approaching, there’s that dreadful thought of staying motivated to study when you’re frustrated, tired and unable to concentrate. Keeping up with the semester with the same energized spirit you started with can be difficult. Most of the times, by the third week of the academic year we have all burnt ourselves out, become unmotivated and exhausted. While the academic pressure put by our institutions isn’t lessening any time soon, there are six things we can do to stay motivated and highly productive throughout the semester!
HAVE A WELL-LIT DESK SPACE
A clean, well-lit (preferably by natural light) desk space is the key to minimising distraction and to get in the mood of doing things. Since the ancient times, the sun has been personified as the bringer of light, prosperity and happiness. Sunlight has an uplifting effect on our emotional and spiritual health. Just waking up to the warm, bright morning sun gets me in the wonderwoman mood of getting things done!
Now unless you’re a night owl, and love studying under your fluorescent table lamp at 2 am in the morning which is absolutely fine, this tip is for you. If possible, move your desk closer to a window where you can have ample sunlight (not blinding light though) and remove all distraction. Only keep the materials you are currently working on and keep away the rest. This will trick your mind into thinking you have less to do and will not overwhelm you.
Here’s a pretty desk space by one of my favourite study blogger Study Diary of a Medstudent
USE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
I swear by this killer productivity technique! What this basically is – you take only one task and focus on it for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. Repeat for 4 times then take a 25 minute break.
These small chunks of study sessions scattered throughout the day will help you be more productive than cramming in 6 hours of study the night before the exam. You can learn more about the science behind this technique on YouTube.
There are lots of free apps that let you design your own focus-timetable. I personally use:
- Focus Keeper
These apps are free and comes with in-app purchase features. You can create a list of things you need to focus on and then you can create your own personal schedule. Here’s a sneak peak into the app’s use interfaces.
The key to success is planning. Plan everything. Plan it like you mean it. Do look at your University/School planner because they are there for a reason. I plan everything – starting from my weekly wardrobe to how I’m gonna walk past the customers to order my coffee at the counter. So you can imagine how much planning I put in before a new academic year!
To fuel my planner-obession even more, the blessed people of Internet suggested that I use my Google Calendar and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s completely free, easy to use, efficient and perfect for an app-person like me!
But yes, nothing beats the old-school flower-pressed hand-drawn bullet journals. So if you’re someone who loves to take charge and plan your week by your own hands (pun intended) – this is for you. Erin Condren planners. They have amazing life plannners, college planners, journals, notebooks, awesome stationaries and basically every cute stuff you’ll ever need in college! It’s totally worth it to invest in a good planner that you can personalise, embellish and keep track of your goals in. Trust me, planners make life easier. I didn’t believe in the power of writing down my goals until I actually started doing it myself.
However, if you’re not sure if this method is for you or don’t want to spend money on fancy planners yet, then – Pinterest is at your rescue! There are hundreds of beautiful, FREE printables on Pinterest which are up for grab. I mean… download. I personally like to use a weekly planner for my weekly tasks and an academic planner for each semester. You can also make your own planners and calendars yourself on Canva. They are super easy to create and super cute to have!
CREATE A VISION BOARD
It’s a board where you write down or draw your vision. This vision can be your weight-loss goal or the business you want to launch or the place you’ve been wanting to travel to. It can be anything you have a vision for.
Write them down on the board, place pictures that inspire you, quotes/mantras that motivate you and place it somewhere you can see everyday. Specially after you wake up and before you go to bed. Preachers of law of attraction swear by this. In fact it is a “law” of attraction.
You attract what you consciously seek. You create your reality.
Your vision board doesn’t have to be super fancy. It can be anything that gets the job done. The job being – to inspire you. To make getting off the bed at 4 am easier, to love your goals a little more and to work hard a little more.
So grab your foam board and unleash your creative forces. Draw inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and just do it.
And this includes your phone, iPad, laptop or anything that pumps out social media notifications. According to a research published on The New York Times, it takes your brain 25 minutes to regain full focus once it has been distracted.
Quoted from the article:
“But what constitutes distraction? Does the mere possibility that a phone call or e-mail will soon arrive drain your brain power? And does distraction matter — do interruptions make us dumber? Quite a bit, according to new research by Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab.
There’s a lot of debate among brain researchers about the impact of gadgets on our brains. Most discussion has focused on the deleterious effect of multitasking. Early results show what most of us know implicitly: if you do two things at once, both efforts suffer.”
So if you check your phone every 5 minutes (like me) then.. I’ll let you do the math yourself.
But on a serious note, the worst thing you can do to your job/career/dreams/anything important is to lose focus. Consciously or unconsciously, we do it every single day. Do you ever wonder why you never have enough hours in a day to get things done? It’s because you don’t realise where your wasting time. Time and energy are non-renewable. Keep that inn mind before you decide to waste them again.
There are apps that will track your habits online for you and help you overcome social media addiction. For example SelfControl and Freedom. Here are 10 apps that block distractions.
It’s not discipline that help you succeed, it’s
STAY HYDRATED & LOAD UP ON HEALTHY SNACKS
Mmm so this one is my favourite cause it involves FOOD! Did ya know your brain burns 20% of your day’s energy? Even more so when you’re studying or working, or doing anything that requires an immense brain power. This, my friends, has been my legal excuse to munch on food throughout high school and I aspire to this in my college as well. 💁It’s actually pretty normal to get hungry within 2 hours of last meal if you’ve been studying for a long time. So load up on healthy snacks (brain food) such as –
- basically, healthy fats and proteins 🙂
AND keep a bottle of water with you all time and sip on it throughout the day. It would be more beneficial if you can sip on fruits-infused water (they are very simple to prepare!). Because this is will not only keep you energised and refreshed but also give you the vitamin boost you need!
Would you believe me if I told you I survived A levels without 10 ounces of coffee everyday? In fact with no coffee at all… (well I did have coffee once a week or less just because I was craving it but not because I needed it). Water actually does all the job for you. A well hydrated body is fit enough to keep focus for a long, long time and let’s not forget all the amazing benefits of water! I’m not asking you to abandon coffee but just increase your daily water intake and experience the difference yourself.
Follow study blogs on Tumblr or Instagram. I guarantee it will put you in the study mood immediately!
These are the simple things I follow on a daily basis to replenish my energy reserve to survive my academic years! What is your survival secret? Let me know in the comments! And before you go, Pin the image below!