So we’ve all had those days where there is nothing in the world that will get us motivated to do the work that we actually need to be doing—especially around dead week and finals. We’ve all heard the “avoid distractions” advice, but here are a few extra tips for getting in the zone with or without closing that Facebook tab on your browser.
Sometimes the hardest part of studying or doing homework is getting started. Make a list of what needs to be done, how long it’ll take to do and when it’s due. Once you prioritize what should be done and when, you’ll have an easier time planning your work and doing the next tip.
Mix Up Your Subjects
Spending all of your time focusing on ONE subject can be boring and make it easier for you to get distracted. It’s best to plan on studying your subjects in small chunks instead of all at once. Working in 60-90 minute intervals gives your brain a chance to recharge and can keep you from feeling burnt out.
Analyze Your Learning/Study Style
Knowing your learning style can help you figure out which methods will help you retain the most information for exams. Aside from that, knowing your habits can help you plan when and how to study. If you are a night owl and have a terrible time waking up in the morning you probably shouldn’t count on being able to wake up at 5am to work on a project or study, and if you are a morning person who is always in bed by 10pm, you shouldn’t count on pulling an all-nighter. Knowing how and when you can and can’t work will be just as beneficial to knowing how you best learn.
Choose a Music Genre
Studies show that listening to music at a reasonable volume while working can change your mood and help you become more motivated to work. Depending on the music you choose to listen to, it can increase your heartbeat and blood flow, leaving you to feel more motivated. However, there is a danger to this tip; listening to calming or soft music can affect your work in a negative way, making you more tired or relaxed.
My best advice for this is to pick a Pandora Radio station for a genre you like, and leave it on in the background. Personal playlists can be distracting if you start singing along to every song, or boring once you play through it a few times. Because Pandora is random, I find it’s the best non-distracting way to play music while working.
Good luck studying and getting in the zone during the finals season from the CCO!