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Student Guest Blog – Staying Motivated and Focused at University
Staying motivated to get work done and completing items on your list is something that isn’t easy for many students. I know that for myself, staying motivated and focused on my work is one thing I struggle with the most. When you’re in university, there are an endless number of distractions. Like going out for dinner, wanting to grab a drink with friends or simply wanting to relax.
You shouldn’t substitute the activities you find enjoyable for working at all times of the day. There needs to be a balance so that you can study as much as you need to and get your work done. As well as bask in the joy of the social and fun aspect of life at university.
For me, it’s taken many trials and errors in finding a system that works for me. So that I can balance studying with doing the things that I enjoy. But I eventually found what works best for me. Hopefully some of my top tips and suggestions might work for you too.
Staying motivated through your schedule
When I say make a schedule, I don’t just mean write out a brief plan of the week by listing the days you are at university and the days you need to do some extra work. I mean write out a detailed schedule of everything you will be doing during the day. If you’re planning to go out for a coffee, write it in your schedule. If your goal is 500 words for an essay by the end of the day, write it in your schedule.
I make sure to write out my detailed weekly schedule at the start of each week. So that I know if I’m on track or not. This ensures I am still allowing myself time to get outside the house, meet friends and take breaks.
An app I use is ‘Structured’. I plan out everything I need to get done from having breakfast in the morning to going on a walk in the evening. This helps me to stick to a routine and work towards the breaks I’ll give myself. When I start my day, I know that after I get a certain amount of work done, I can relax. This helps with motivation and to stay focused with no distractions.
Preparing your workspace
Having a messy desk with unorganised papers and books scattered everywhere is another thing I find to be extremely distracting. Whether working at university or home, try and make sure your workspace is neatly organised so that you have a comfortable work environment. This is vital for staying motivated and focused.
Ensuring you have a workspace that suits you and your needs can help to boost your positivity. Benefitting your mind and productivity. Start by making sure you have any books/notebooks you’ll need and any other equipment you may need for your work.
Before starting my work for the day, I’ll make myself a coffee and have a snack nearby to give me energy. I remove anything that may distract me as well as put on a study playlist and wear my headphones. Something that also helps minimise distractions is putting your phone somewhere that’s still in reach. But away from where you can directly see it. I use apps like ‘Flora’ which sets a timer on your phone for when you can next pick it up.
There are a plethora of apps like this to help you stay off your phone and even if you only set the timer for fifteen minutes. At least that’s fifteen minutes of work done without any distractions.
It’s so easy to forget to give yourself time to relax and do something you enjoy. Especially when there is an overwhelming pressure to get as much done as you possibly can. I can sometimes get into the bad habit of not allowing myself to do anything but work, especially near deadlines.
You may find yourself stressed with a long to-do list and convince yourself that you have no time to do anything else but work. But when this happens, it’s important to remind yourself that your body and mind need rest. If you stay up till 3 am every night trying to cram in work. Chances are, you won’t be producing your best work anyway.
Taking breaks goes hand-in-hand with creating a schedule for yourself. When you’re able to stay on track, it’ll lessen the amount of last-minute work you find yourself doing. And alleviate the feeling that you still have so much to do which allows you the time to take breaks.
Making sure you get fresh air and some time to spend with friends. Or even just taking the time to relax by yourself, can boost your mood massively and help you to unwind. So you’re staying motivated and feeling refreshed instead of drained and unmotivated.
Hopefully, some of these tips can help to minimise the stress of doing university work. Remember to always allow yourself time to recharge and take breaks when you need them.
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