Is the post-holiday spirit stopping you from doing your work? Are January blues making it very difficult for you to focus? Here are some of the best tricks for getting back in the zone!
Every January students around the world suffer from the same problem: how do I go back into studying? It can be very difficult to start focusing again after spending downtime during the holidays with your family and loved ones.
Most people struggle to get back into work and students wrestle with the idea of revision or studying in general. If this sounds familiar then don’t worry! We put together some tips to help you concentrate and to motivate yourself to get back into studying after the holidays.
Here we go…
1. Make a list
One of the most difficult steps is to get started. We tend to see the end goal as the only goal to achieve and that can be scary or overwhelming. To avoid being overwhelmed by what you have to do, it’s a good idea to break down your own big goal into smaller, more achievable chunks.
For example, if you want to learn a new language, instead of setting the task “I need to learn to communicate in Spanish this year” for yourself, set a task like “I need to learn how to order food in Spanish by the end of February.” Making a list of smaller tasks can help you focus and will make it easier to motivate yourself to study.
In this way, you have a set a clear, specific and achievable goal within a realistic timeframe. Doesn’t seem so difficult now, right?
Sometimes, no matter what we do, our brains simply need time off and will not cooperate. This is absolutely fine and expected. It doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t spend that time doing something productive.
A fine example of this is when you have an assignment. If you have an assignment with a deadline but you find it impossible to write, then you can make a list of all the tasks you need to complete for the assignment, such as writing a syllabus, designing the layout or indexing. On days when your motivation is low, you can focus your energy on these technical tasks that don’t involve any brain power.
In this way, you get to procrastinate while doing something productive.
3. Talk to people about your struggle
Another important point to remember is that most people will feel the same way that you do about studying. Everyone has low motivation days and that’s alright.
It’s important to talk to other people, other students from your class or even your tutors, and share your frustrations. They might be able to offer you advice or simply help you clear your head!
4. Map out your goals
Our goals are different to our desires. You don’t want to learn Spanish, you want to be able to talk to Spanish people or study in Spanish or visit Spain.
It is important to map out what are the aims and motivations behind your studies. That way, you will be able to keep your eyes on the prize!
5. Make studying a part of your routine
If you’re finding it difficult to make studying a part of your day, then it’s good to introduce it to your life on a daily basis, in small doses.
Start spending 15 minutes a day studying, at a time during the day that works best for you. Then, increase that time to 30 minutes, then to 1 hour. It will help ease you back in to studying mode and reaching these milestones will make you feel proud!
6. Reward yourself
Speaking of proud, don’t forget to reward yourself for studying! Nothing says good job like a bar of chocolate or a tech break.
Getting into study mode can be a big challenge during winter, so your brain deserves some love afterwards!
Whatever it is that you are learning, be it Spanish, English, exam preparation, or otherwise, our brains are made to learn in a visual way. It is easier for our brains to remember information when that information is presented to us in a visual way.
What can you do about that? Simple! Create colourful notes. Use different font sizes for organisation of hierarchy. Highlight text which is important. Use different coloured pens for different topics, such as blue for travel-related words and red for food-related words. Create mind maps with pen and paper. Watch a video on the topic you are learning about. Make your learning more visually appealing and your brain will find it easier to get back into studying!
8. Find a study spot
When you are at home, many potential distractions can take your focus away and ruin your planned studying time. To give your mind the best chance of getting into studying mode, find a study spot outside the house.
It might be a quiet coffee place, or a library, or a cosy corner at your school cafeteria. Whatever your spot is, make it a habit to go there when you want to get into studying mode. Your brain will start associating the activity with the location!
9. Learn to love the process
Finally, remember that studying is difficult and it takes a lot of time. Learning, however, is beautiful and it is the most valuable gift you can give yourself. When you find it difficult to motivate yourself or hard to focus, it’s important to remember all the wonderful things you are learning and all the new things you get to do because of your hard work!
We hope we’ve helped get you back in the mood for studying, now pick up that book and order a fajita. We’ll take two please!