This is about the advice that changed my study life and got me achieving HDs like it’s nothing: forget about motivation, and develop discipline.
Motivation is unreliable and inconsistent. You’re just not always going to be motivated when you need to study, and waiting until you are is a waste of time.
Discipline works by creating a routine and sticking to it, no matter how you’re feeling. That routine needs to suit you, and be specific and non-intimidating.
Here are my tips for how to create a study routine that eases you into it.
First, decide what will trigger your study session. Are you going to study at a certain time? Or at a certain point in your routine? For me, it was finishing dinner. After dinner, I go to my desk. If you’re going to study at a certain time, consider setting an alarm.
Next, make sure you have everything! Make a list of things you’ll need for a study session - your books, pens, laptop, a bottle of water, a snack, chargers. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you start. Keep this list near your desk, so that you can check you have everything as soon as your study session starts.
Once you’re ready at your desk, you need to figure out what to do. Uni means a lot of different things you could be working on, and they all seem as important as each other. Start with something simple and consistent that you can do every day. I use duolingo or memrise to learn a language. It’s productive, isn’t intimidating, but it gets your brain learning. It doesn’t have to be related to uni, especially if uni is stressing you out. Maybe do a sudoku or crossword puzzle if you enjoy those. But doing the same thing, or rotating the same few things, is a perfect start to a routine. Once you’ve done your daily goal/puzzle/ten minutes, you’ll be at your desk and in the right mindset to get started!
I usually like to make to do lists the night before, but if you haven’t, the next thing to do is look at your calendar and unit outline and make your to do list. Write down absolutely everything you have to do - readings, upcoming assessments, society work - and keep this list nearby. Create a new ‘master list’ every week. Now, pick out three or four to do today. You might pick one reading, one task that goes towards your next assessment, and one household chore. They don’t all have to be study related!
Once you’ve done your three or four tasks, pat yourself on the back, and make a to do list for tomorrow. It should also only have three or four things on it. Sometimes around exams or assessment tasks, you’ll have more, but if you’re getting things done every single day, it won’t build up too much. And remember, you can tick them off throughout the day, but make it part of your routine to choose the next day’s tasks the day before.