Study motivation

Skipping seminars to stay in bed? Can't seem to stay focused? Here's how to avoid sleepwalking through your studies and get motivated.

A young person is on their phone

How can I motivate myself?

Get your work done properly, and you can kick back with a clear conscience. Here’s how you get yourself started.

Create the space

Wherever you live, be it halls of residence or shared accommodation, establish a work area. Even if you don’t have a desk, restricting a small area just for learning will help create boundaries between work and play.

Ditch the distraction

Consider your working environment and cut out anything that tempts you from the task at hand, such as TV – or even music. If you just can’t work in silence, go for tunes without vocals.

Establish a work schedule

Break up the slog into more manageable sessions. So, if you’re faced with six hours worth of work, for example, why not split it into three two-hour sessions? You’ll feel like you’ve achieved something faster which is a buzz that’ll keep you going.

Create regular breaks and rewards

There’s nothing like the prospect of a treat to keep you focused, so be sure to pepper your sessions with them. Five minutes free time every hour, for example, will help to maintain that spark and drive. Use the opportunity to leave your working environment, get some fresh air, or do something rewarding. If you’re organised enough you can keep the weekends free too, so you can look forward to a night out on Friday.

Study effectively

There’s no point reading a textbook if you know you’re not taking it in. Think about how you learn best and try different things, read our article on revision tips for more ideas.

Why do I procrastinate?

If you’re hoping to give yourself a kick up the arse, begin by understanding why you’ve lost momentum in the first place. Only you can decide what’s behind your lack of motivation attitude, but here are some of the main offenders:

  • Lack of focus – any long-term goals, like graduating, don’t register
  • Lack of interest – your coursework leaves you cold
  • Lack of drive – you’re not good at working under your own steam

Other factors can include stress, depression, the break-up of a relationship, or problems with drink or drugs. The key is to highlight what’s holding you back in order to take steps to overcome the situation.

If you’re studying from home, read Student Space’s guide to coping with this.

Share the problem

There’s no shame in admitting you’re having issues focusing. In many ways, it takes courage to admit the only time you get your head down is when it hits the pillow. What’s more, people will want to help. Whether it’s a good friend, a course tutor or your student welfare officer, they can help you get back on track. But first, of course, you have to want to help yourself.

If you need support with staying motivated, or anything else, get in touch with our team today.

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. Search their website for information, research and to see how you could get involved or explore Student Space for support through the pandemic.

For revision tips, head to this Student Minds article.

Check out this Student Minds resource on exam stress

Next Steps

  • Student Minds is the UK's student mental health charity. Search their website for information, research, and to see how you could get involved.
  • Does pulling an all-nighter really work? We want to know your best revision hacks and tips for staying calm during an exam over at our Exam Hacks campaign on Your Voices.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


exams| study

By Holly Turner

Updated on 25-May-2021