Maintaining a constant flow of motivation until the end of the semester can prove to be a challenge for college students. At the beginning of last week, I struggled to finish a major essay because I was constantly losing my focus. However, after implementing these four helpful study habits, I regained my motivation and conquered the assignment.

1. Delete social media for the day

Whether you’re an Instagram addict, a Tik Tok junkie, or a Snapchat enthusiast, social media can often sabotage our focus, causing our motivation to dwindle.

I was surprised by how much progress I was able to make with my schoolwork when I simply deleted my Instagram for twelve hours last week. This eliminated the constant pull to pick up my phone, and I completed most of my paper in just one (very long) sitting.

Before sitting down to tackle a large assignment this week, consider eliminating the distraction of social media by deleting these apps on your phone until you are finished with your schoolwork. When you resolve to eliminate distractions, this can boost your motivation to tackle your assignments instead of procrastinating on your phone.

2. Find a new study spot

A change of scenery can also improve your motivation. If you’ve been feeling tempted to procrastinate while trying to complete schoolwork in your dorm room, consider moving to a different location to break the cycle of dawdling.

It can be hard to maintain focus on your schoolwork in the same place where you watch t.v. shows during the weekend and chat with your friends. Rewiring your brain by associating a separate space for work and play can help you complete homework more efficiently.

Try moving to the Nix Student Center, the Cofer Library, or your dorm’s lobby. The great outdoors provide fabulous on-campus study spots as well. Next time the sun is out, take your work to the Front Lawn, the library’s courtyard, or even the picnic tables at the Cross.

3. Create a reward system

Creating a reward system is a powerful technique to motivate yourself to complete an assignment. You can bribe yourself to complete a task by telling yourself that you can re-download your social media once you are finished, treat yourself to Chick-fil-a, or watch an episode of your favorite show.

Deborah Halber writes in an article for that “Any object, event, or activity can be a reward if it motivates us or causes us to learn.” She goes on to explain how tapping into the brain’s reward system releases dopamine, which “also enhances reward-related memories.” This means that using a reward system can not only enhance motivation, but also creates a stronger memory of whatever you are studying.

4. Spend time relaxing and renewing your mind

Sometimes, the best way to regain motivation is to take a break from schoolwork for a day, or even just for a few hours. While at first it may seem counterintuitive, taking a break to relax can often break the cycle of lost focus. You may feel distracted in your studies and constantly pulled to entertainment because your body and mind genuinely need a break.

When I took a day off in the middle of my busy last week to relax and refresh my mind, I was amazed at the determination with which I returned to my studies the next day.

The way you choose to relax is important as well. While there is nothing wrong with watching some Netflix, I often find that when spend a whole day huddled in bed binging shows, I feel more drained than renewed the next day. If you have a few hours to take a break, try reading a book (not for school!) or getting active with your friends outside. The fresh air might just give you a fresh perspective to bring back to your studies.


Anna Skudarnova is a senior English major and content writer for the TMU Marketing and Communications Department.

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