Feeling sluggish on the couch, not really wanting to open that textbook again? Lectures are simply too much effort even if they are online?
The hardest part of the start of every term is finding the motivation to start studying again, especially when it's the last thing you want to do. With the last few months of self-isolation, many of us have gotten used to doing simply nothing, and procrastination doesn't even feel wrong. However, it's only the second week of term and if you are already feeling behind, you probably want to change your current study routine. Below are some tips for getting yourself back into the uni groove and motivating yourself to study again. They are based off my own experiences, so I recommend trying them and tweaking to suit what works for you.
1. Get out of bed
Staying in bed is honestly the biggest killer for productivity because your brain has been taught to know that this is where you sleep. Sleeping isn't studying, so don't study there. Maybe then, you won't be half asleep during your lectures and tutorials. Getting out of bed is also a signal that you are starting your day, that you have things to do. An extra step to get you in the productive mindset would be to get dressed, even if you aren't leaving the house. It brings back the old habits from when you did need to go to class physically.
2. Take a walk
What better way to wake up than to go out into the freezing winter air, have the sunshine in your eyes and cars beeping in your ears. I get it. Uni students are lazy. But a 10-15 minute walk around the block is likely a shorter time than your commute to uni was, and it will help start your cycle of productivity. Exercise gets our blood (and endorphins) pumping, putting us in a better mood. You kind of need that good mood to give you the optimism that your homework isn't going to suck as much as it does, or that you brain won't hurt trying to remember those difficult concepts. Only with this optimism will you find the strength to even start.
3. Break down projects into smaller tasks
This is normally a top tip for starting assessments, but it also works for just studying in general. Thinking of the several weeks of content for each subject that you need to catch up on can be incredibly stressful, so take it one step at a time. Watch one lecture. Then the next. And continue. It's easier to tell yourself to do something small. Another tip is, instead of waiting until you have the time and motivation to watch that boring 2-hour lecture, do it in parts. You might only have half an hour of free time before work or you may be too tired to stay up any longer than an hour. That time can still be useful. Use that time to do part of the work. Because getting some of it done is better than nothing and the task for next time is significantly easier.
4. Make plans with friends
Yes. I'm saying that making plans for the weekend to go hang out with your friends can help you to start studying. No, I'm not encouraging you to procrastinate. Busy people learn to be more organised. If you have something due on Monday, but have plans on Sunday, suddenly you must finish that work by Saturday. Your plans on Sunday then become a reward for finishing that task and well if you didn't finish it you shouldn't really be going out. When your life becomes busier, you simply don't have the time to procrastinate. Also, having plans to look forward to puts you in that good mood that I mentioned earlier. You never know, that group assignment might not be as annoying as you think it will be.
5. Learn from past mistakes
What happened last time you waited until midterms to get your shit together? Remember those stressful days trying to cram concepts until your head was going to explode? Remember those all-nighters where you felt like a zombie thanks to lack of sleep and stress? Yeah, that was no fun. Let's not go back there again.