These 15 hacks will help you study at home
The day had started so well. “Today I’m going to study properly at home,” you thought with conviction over your morning coffee. Three hours later you realize: Somehow I didn’t get anything done. Is this familiar to you? You are not alone!
Many students find it difficult to learn effectively at home – both starting and persevering is hard mental work! Luckily, there are hacks you can use to increase your motivation to study.
Going into productivity mode at home is hard. After all, we often associate our own four walls more with relaxation and recreation. It takes a lot of self-discipline and drive to even start studying. We’re also surrounded by our favorite things – and with them, endless distractions. The constant temptations demand a lot of motivation to keep our focus and concentration on the books.
Luckily, there are hacks you can use to increase your motivation so that you can study at home more effectively and productively in the future.
Motivation hack #1: Establish a routine
When you schedule when you wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for the day, and start studying, you create structure. This structure ensures that
a) important things get done
b) you don’t neglect apparently unimportant things such as showering and dressing and
c) you know exactly when you have time for other activities.
If you don’t set a routine for yourself, you run the risk of not starting your study by lunchtime – and certainly without motivation for a study session after lunchtime.
Motivation hack #2: Block study times in your calendar
If you always try to learn spontaneously at home and have difficulties with implementing it, you should definitely try this hack. Instead of cramming without fixed start and end times, you can simply make a study appointment with yourself. This makes the learning unit feel less noncommittal and overwhelming. By making a set time, you determine from the outset:
- the start time
- the end
- the duration
This appointment hack increases motivation and the likelihood that you will actually complete the home study unit increases!
Motivation hack #3: Set mini-goals
Goals are important for motivation. Without clear goals, there is no reason why you should even start. The problem for many, however, is that they set themselves huge goals. Big goals are vague and it’s hard to break down how to achieve them.
It is better to set tiny goals that are easy to understand how to achieve them. Instead of saying: “I’ll write my homework today” or “I’ll study today” it’s better to set mini-goals like “I’ll write an hour today to finish my homework” or “I’ll study four pages today”.
Motivation hack #4: Small bites are the key
Setting goals is important. However, goals cannot always be implemented directly, but must be divided into several tasks. Make sure that the tasks are as small as possible. The smaller such a task bite, the more likely you will carry it out.
Motivation hack #5: Plan for rewards
Your motivation to study at home increases when you know that a reward awaits you. Therefore, make small rewards for each completed sub–step. The reward doesn’t have to be big or expensive.
It’s simply a matter of associating the positive feelings associated with the reward with learning. This is how you program your brain for more productive habits. Possible rewards are something tasty from the snack bowl, a fresh tea or coffee or a song from your favorite playlist.
Motivation hack #6: Overcome dead ends and routine
If your previous learning strategies are not working and you have problems studying at home, you have to take countermeasures. For example, try studying early in the morning or late at night when everyone else in the house is asleep.
Or learn for a maximum of 60 minutes several times a day, instead of wanting to pack everything into one longer learning session. Adjusting workflows like this can do wonders for your productivity and motivation!
Motivation Hack #7: Study for just five minutes with the 5-minute study hack
Is starting the biggest challenge for you? Then train it! The 5–minute hack will help you finally overcome your mental block. You really only have to study for five minutes. After the five minutes have passed, you can decide whether it’s over or whether you should continue.
Most people study for longer. If you change your mind, you can stop studying and do something else. To make your blockage crumble, you simply make a new attempt later and study again for at least five minutes. The more often you use the 5 minute study hack, the easier it will be for you to even start.
Motivation hack #8: Don’t study in bed or on the couch
Your bed is (hopefully!) cozy and comfortable. It’s still not a good place to study at home. If you’re even a little sleep deprived, you won’t be able to resist the temptation to hit the day for long.
Plus, going to bed at night feels 100x better if you haven’t been in it all day. And there is another reason not to study in bed or on the couch: Sitting in bed or on the couch for a long time is not good for your posture.
The more sunken the posture, the harder it is to maintain concentration. Sit down at your desk, the kitchen table or create another “serious and tidy” workplace.
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Motivation hack #9: Schedule a video chat with fellow students
A “study buddy” can increase motivation tremendously – community spirit has a motivating effect. Modern technology such as FaceTime or Zoom helps to take advantage of the effect if you want to study at home.
Arrange a video call with other students. You can make small talk, learn together and clarify potential questions about unclear learning content directly. During the video slot, no one is alone and everyone is more or less accountable to the others. This increases productivity.
Motivation hack #10: Don’t study at home in your pajamas or sweatpants
The brain associates only one thing with soft and loose clothing such as pajamas or sweatpants: LEISURE TIME. You have to use even more motivation to get in the mood for learning in such lounge clothes.
Better to put on something in the morning that you would leave the house in. Some swear by sitting at their desk at home in full gear, including their shoes, in order to learn really productively at home.
Motivation hack #11: Get yourself a comfortable chair
Admittedly, a comfortable chair does not necessarily increase motivation. But an uncomfortable chair detracts from it! After all, it’s not easy to focus on complex math problems when you’re distracted by butt and back pain.
Motivation hack #12: Use study videos as a motivational aid
On YouTube and similar video platforms you will find endless videos and live streams of people learning. This will make you feel less alone and increase your motivation to study at home more often and for longer.
Motivation hack #13: Keep two separate to-do lists
A to-do list is a great tool for keeping track of upcoming tasks. However, if you notice that you are using other tasks from your to-do list to avoid studying at home, you should change something.
Decouple the tasks for your studies from those for your private life or other areas of life and create two separate to-do lists: a study to-do list and a private to-do list. Only when everything on the learning to-do list is ticked off do you have time for the private tasks on your other to-do list.
Motivation hack #14: Prepare the next session the night before
So that you feel as little resistance as possible before a study session, it helps to prepare everything the evening before. Just as you would lay out your outfit the evening before an important meeting.
So if you want to study at home the next day, place the relevant books open in the right place. Place all other utensils you need within easy reach. You will be amazed at how your motivation to learn will skyrocket.
Motivation hack #15: Turn off the computer at night
If you want to study at home, it is particularly difficult but important to separate work and free time. Shutting down the computer creates a clear conclusion: The working day is over!
Consciously spend time away from the screen to mentally switch off. If your computer is running all the time, there is a risk that you cannot switch from study mode to leisure mode and constantly have the feeling that you have to do something for your studies. As a result, your motivation suffers in the long term.