Study motivation

Skipping seminars to stay in bed? Can't seem to stay focused? No motivation to study? That’s okay. Everyone struggles with study motivation from time to time. The Mix has got your back. Here's how to avoid having to write a coursework essay two hours before the deadline and start getting motivated to study.

A young person is on their phone

How to get motivated to study

Keep this mantra in your head: Finish work, binge Netflix guilt-free. If you’re still struggling to start studying, read these tips to get motivated.

Create a good study environment

The first step in figuring out how to get motivated is to make sure you actually have a space for it. Wherever you live, whether it’s halls or private accom, it’s important to make your claim on a work space early on. Even if you don’t have a desk, restricting a small area just for learning will help create boundaries between work and relaxation. Just to clarify, this means that your bed CANNOT be your designated study place so get your butt off it and find a chair.

Ditch any distractions

How to get motivated to study? Well, it certainly ain’t gonna happen by staring at a laptop screen. We know, we know. The next season of You came out on Netflix and you just HAVE to find out if Joe gets caught. But we promise he’ll still be there once you finish your work. Your deadlines, on the other hand, won’t. 

You need to consider your working environment a focus zone and cut out anything that takes you away from the task at hand. This includes, but is not limited to, your TV, laptop, tablet, smart watch AND old DS. Basically any form of technology that emits sound. That way you can find the motivation to get your head down and study. And if you really can’t work in silence, go for tunes without vocals.

Establish a study schedule

Without a concrete time to start studying and to end it your study motivation is going to suffer. You need to try breaking up the pain into more manageable study sessions. So, if you’re faced with six hours worth of work, for example, why not split it into three two-hour study sessions? And while you’re doing this make sure to prioritise the important tasks, no matter how insurmountable they seem. You’ll feel like you’ve achieved something faster which is a buzz that’ll keep you going. You can even set up a rewards system for some extra incentive (see below). 

Create regular breaks and rewards

There’s nothing like the prospect of some phone time or a chocolate bar to keep you focused, so be sure to pepper your sessions with them. Five minutes free time every hour, for example, will help to keep the study spark alive. Or you could try the pomodoro technique; 25 minutes on, five minutes off. We’d recommend taking those five minutes to leave your working environment, get some fresh air, or do something rewarding. Maybe try creating a study group to help make the rewards more enjoyable and the studying more tolerable.

To make it extra exciting, you can set a timer to count down to your five minute breaks so you’ve always got something to look forward to. If you’re organised enough you can keep the weekends free too, so you can have some time to catch up with mates and feel like a human again.

Study effectively

There’s no point reading a textbook if all the words just start blurring into one big black blob. Instead, think about how you learn best and try different things. If you need some help with that process then read our article on revision tips for more ideas.

Why do I have no motivation to study?

To give yourself a kick up the arse, you need to begin by understanding why you have no motivation to study in the first place. Only you can decide what’s behind your lack of motivation to study, but here are some of the main offenders:

  • Lack of focus – any long-term goals, like graduating, don’t feel real and/or attainable
  • No interest – your coursework leaves you feeling dead inside
  • Lack of drive – you’re not good at working when there’s no one there to push you (especially tough if you’re in secondary school)
  • Using the wrong learning style – some people are visual learners, some auditory, some learn by ‘doing’, have you thought about what works for you?

Other factors can include stress, depression, the break-up of a relationship, or problems with drink or drugs. The key is to highlight what your problem is in order to take steps to overcome it. You may find that once you break through the initial block you had you’ll start to feel motivated again and things will start to snowball from there.

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

Getting help with study motivation

There’s no shame in admitting you’re having trouble focusing. Honestly, 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 support you in getting back on track. But first, of course, you have to want to help yourself.

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.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


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By Holly Turner

Updated on 18-Mar-2022