Fun fact: the smell of text books can be used to anesthetize rhinos. I made that up. But, seehrusly, if you’re finding it hard to get motivated to crack the books without the aid of a car battery, jumper cables, and a pair of wet-sponge ear muffs, read on. I’ve got five –count’em, five! — motivation techniques to get that class work done when you’d really rather run.
- Act Excited – Get pumped by acting pumped (especially when you’re so NOT). True story; you’re brain won’t know the difference. Well… part of it will, but the part that pumps out the happy hormones won’t. Your brain, thinks, “Hey. She’s jumping around and grinning like an idiot. Maybe we won the FRIGGIN’ LOTTERY! Oh, Yeah!!!!,” and then it fills you full of the body’s very own brand of over-caffeinated psychological joy juice–endorphins, baby. Don’t believe me? Well, first, let me just say I’m a little hurt. I’ll recover. But still … hurt. Second, try this experiment and prove it to yourself. Set a timer for two minutes and grin like a possum eatin’ fish guts out of a wire brush until the timer goes off. I guarantee you, you’ll feel happier by the time the buzzer goes off, and that was just by fake-grinning. Fake full body celebration brings on an even bigger happy rush. Plus, it really amuses your dog; not a quality you normally find in motivation techniques.
- Chop Your Work into Chunks – Even the most masochistic students can get demotivated by a huge pile of work. When confronted with a monstrous mound of school work, we collapse into the fetal position and refuse to give it a go. So don’t think about the huge pile; think about one minuscule mole hill; just a tiny, very doable piece of the pile. You don’t have to read (for example) all seven volumes of the Giant Compendium of Skin Diseases at one sitting, as is outlined in your syllabus. All you have to read is that next page. Once you’re finished with that, pat yourself on the back, and then tackle the page after that. One step at a time.
- Make a Plan of Attack - When it comes to motivation techniques, this one’s a doozy. Know why zebras have stripes (no, this isn’t a joke)? It’s so they don’t stand out from the herd when fleeing from predators. A hungry lion sees a wall of kaleidoscoping stripes and can’t pick out a target. Our brains, when confronted with a big mass of work, can be like that lion. We don’t know where to start, so we end up not starting. The lion needs spray paint. A day-glo orange zebra makes an easy target. Do the same thing with your mass of work. Mark out chunks of the work load that can each be done in an hour or less. Writing “Term Paper” on your to-do list is a massive wall of work; chop it up in to day-glo orange zebra work chunks. For example, “1) Come up with term paper topic. 2) Find three resources in the library. 3) Read three chapters from first resource. etc.” Doing that makes it much easier to acquire your next work target and keeps you from sitting and spinning your wheels, wondering what to do next. BONUS; set an estimated time for how long it will take to complete each work chunk–a time that you will have to push to achieve. For example, on my to-do list I find that my past self has written, “Find three solid resources for your term paper in the library, in 30 minutes. If you can.” When I get to the library, I set the timer on my phone and race to see if I can’t beat the thirty minutes. “Got it done in 27 minutes flat. YES! Take that, past self!” Not only will you work more efficiently, you’ll develop an extraordinary sense for how long it takes to complete tasks. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you get very competitive, and past self is so smug. We hate’s ‘im, precious.
- Inspire yourself - Read a magazine article, listen to music, or watch a YouTube video that gets your gears going. It doesn’t have to be about your topic as long as it gets you stoked! I personally will–confession time–watch a great UFC match. Totally. Gets. Me. Pumped. You might get jazzed by watching babies laughing or NASCAR or monkeys spackling tourists with … ummmm … monkey spackle. Whatever gets your motor running, watch it. Most students use more chemical–and less healthy–methods of revving themselves up for study. *cough*RedBull*cough* Stick with the all-natural method; watch monkey spackling videos. Motivation techniques that involve YouTube videos and ween you from your caffeine addiction have to be good, no?
- Prepare Your Work Area - I learned long ago that any excuse is good enough to avoid paying bills. “Dagnabbit. The checkbook is out in the car. I’ll pay the bills tomorrow.” I would put off bill paying as long as possible unless I had gotten together all the necessary tools; stamps, addresses, amounts, envelopes, pens, checkbook, etc. If it was all ready to go and all I had to do was sit down and start writing, I would get it done. This is one of those motivation techniques that will work for your studies as well. Make sure you have everything you need to get that study project done before you start. Lay out your tools, turn off all distractions, provide yourself with food and drink, and get crackin’. It’s much harder to shirk that work when you’re all prepped and ready to go. It helps you avoid those easy outs like, “Oh, fiddlesticks! … left my book up at school. I’ll remember it tomorrow and get started.”
So the next time you’re too mopish to move and your motivation has melted, try these five motivation techniques; pretend to be jazzed, do the next little bit, divide the work into chunks, get outside motivation, and prepare to prevail. Do these, my friend, and your motivation misfires will melt away. So what are your motivation machinations? Tell us in the comments!
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from More Motivation Tricks for Sluggish Students
Is it possible to actually get smarter during the summer whilst basking at the beach? Absolutely, yes! How? Take this semester’s notes and give them a light going over every week or two–while at the beach, if you like. Quiz yourself over them. Practice a bit. I’m not saying you’ve got to spend hours; just a little refresher every now and then. You’ll be transferring all that hard won knowledge into the vaunted vaults of your long term memory while the hottie with the pre-cancerous tan next to you is ever so slowly losing her spring semester learning and getting dumberer.Tags: memory, memory skills, study, Study Skills, Study Skills, studyskills
from Get smarter during the summer?
Lacking the uuumph to bust out that text book on The Unabridged History of Colloids? Does the idea of studying “Innovations in 19th Century Grouting Techniques” leave you less than enthused? Fear not, grasshopper. Here are some slick tips to overcome your motivational malaise.
- Take the long view – Step back to get the broad perspective and analyze the end purpose. Where does this study session fit into your life goals? For example, you might say to yourself, “I’m studying this to get an A on that next exam so I can become the world’s greatest puppeteer and avenge Jim Henson’s nasty comments about my father’s ventriloquism talents. Curse you, Jim Henson! Curse you!”
- Commit to 5 minutes – Promise yourself you’ll work for at least five minutes. Tell yourself, “Self, if you give this a solid five minutes of your best effort studying, you can then quit guilt free.” Often, intellectual inertia will keep you going for much longer. This one works really well for me.
- Eliminate the irritants – What is it that’s nagging at you and keeping you from working? Worried about whether or not that check cleared? Anxious about Who Will Be Kicked Off the Island Next? So go check your bank account or watch the end of the next episode. If you can’t do it right then, write it down on your todo list. With that pressing problem no longer weighing on your mind, you’ll be able to get to work.
- Argue with yourself – “Self, you’re such an idiot! You’re going to blow this assignment!” Sometimes we talk ourselves into such an inner state of dread and fear of failure that we give up before we get started. Who wants to start on something that they’re sure they’ll flub? Argue with yourself! “Wait a sec. I’m not an idiot. Didn’t I get an A on that Bovine Phlebotomy quiz last week? Mom doesn’t think I’m dumb. My girlfriend thinks I’m the cat’s pajamas. My other girlfriend thinks I’m spam on a stick. I can do this assignment! No problem.”
- Use the Buddy System – Find someone who give you a kick in the seat of the pants when you can’t get going. Drill sergeants, coaches, and some varieties of mother are very good for this purpose. Tell that special hard-driving someone that you have set a study goal for yourself. Ask them to give you their best tongue-lashing if you weasel out of this study session. This also works splendidly with imaginary friends (you heard me right). Imagine someone who really gets you going giving you a rousing pep-talk. I personally imagine a room full of study groupies giving me a standing O. Weird but effective. Mmmmm. Study groupies.
There they are, folks. Five fast tips to motivate the mopish, pep up the pooped, and step up your studies. The next time motivation is maddeningly missing try using the buddy system or committing to five. Have your own favorite motivation trick? Let us know in the comments.
Updated from March, 2009 post
Other entries in the series “Motivation Tricks for Sluggish Students”
- Motivation Tricks for the Sluggish Student
- More Motivation Tricks for Sluggish Students
- Still More Motivation Tricks For Sluggish Students
from Motivation Tricks for the Sluggish Student
ExamTime is a nice mashup of useful student tools, and it’s free! Flashcards? Check. Mindmapping? Check. Quizzing your study buddies online? Check! And it works on many different platforms. Let us know how it works for you and what other sites help you study in the comments.Tags: GRE, Study Skills
from Slick Study Site Online (free)
Staff Pick -
Impressive street photography, a crisp silhouette of a (happy?) man with a screaming yellow background, almost fluorescent. The gait is curious, at least for me, seems like the subject is a bit hunched, or maybe tired, but surely has a distinctive shape, is he eating something?
The reds in this image are superb, the sneakers shine with a light of their own, playing a nice game with red line painted on the sidewalk.
Impressive capture, to be framed and hanged.
Taken in San Francisco! Must be the light x