What’s on your mind this Christmas? For many students (or just about anyone worldwide), it’s quality family time, opening (and giving, of course) presents, and binging on movies, mince pies and prosecco. As we’re about ready to tuck into our third turkey dinner at home, the last thing we’re thinking of is studying. So, in the spirit of Christmas, we’d like to give you a little gift: 8 Study Tips to Stay Motivated This Christmas.
Don’t worry, these fun study hacks are so perfect that the question ‘How to study effectively over the holiday season?’ will be a passing thought. Are you ready to bolster your study skills and motivation!?
Okay, okay, because it’s Christmas, let’s start with a reward. Nothing’s more motivating than treating yourself to something tasty or fun when you do something right. And ‘right’ in this instance is studying. Whether you’re researching, revising, reading book chapters or nailing difficult tasks, we recommend writing down what you’ll get (your reward) on a post-it note. Keep it in sight to spur you on. Your note may say: Read 30 pages for a slice of vanilla cheesecake. Now finish your task to claim your prize. Easy!
If you’re one to cram too much into a study session, stop right there! You’ve only gone and purchased a front row seat to your own meltdown. As members of a college, we know well there’s nothing worse than overdoing it – unless you like burning yourself out, forgetting information, and skimming sections that need focus. Research shows that we forget 80% of what we learn. Meaning that if you’re learning a million things at once, you’re likely going to forget them. So, take it slow, and stay motivated by learning in bitesize sessions, often, to boost recall ability and study more capably this Xmas.
You’re probably thinking, eh? But seriously, asking why you’re demotivated helps you quickly identify the problem at hand and get into the zone. There’s plenty of reasons why students delay at Christmas. Aside from the obvious ones, such as partying and chilling out, there’s tricky tasks, stress, tiredness, or simply the case of wanting a break. Once you’re aware of what’s preventing you from studying, ask what motivates you to complete a task, e.g. success, progress, less stress in the New Year. Sometimes, something as simple as being ahead of the game can be all the motivation you need to start studying.
We know the words Christmas and studying are opposites. When students tend to hit the books during this period, it’s in a frenzied blitz. Just remember, it’s not a race. Rushing is a sign of demotivation, and you’re not doing yourself favours because you’re not focused on the tasks at hand. So, don’t rush your studies when you choose to sit down. Take your time when collecting research, outlining winning plans, or developing structured arguments that carefully answers questions in a logical, ordered manner. If done in chunks, as advised above, your ability to exceed your Xmas goals with success will increase.
Another reason for demotivation is disorganisation. Not knowing where to start or having too many tasks to complete can be a chore. Creating a timetable and writing down the things you’d like to get done over the Xmas period can eliminate most of the bother associated with studying. Next, rank tasks in order of importance. You may need to read a novel, write an essay, and revise for an exam, but you can’t do everything at once. So, pace yourself, decide and commit to one task. Break tasks into smaller tasks and avoid shifting between projects by only having the task you’re working on in sight and mind.
Maybe you’re not in the mood for studying. You’re all about fun at Christmas and that’s that! So, we’ll recommend doing something fun that links or incorporates the subject your studying. How? You ask. Try YouTube or Ted Talks, online quizzes or perhaps visit a museum. Quirkier ways to strengthen your cognitive development include laughing, health eating and regular sleep – so go watch a comedy show or whip-up a fruit smoothie. One activity that’s fun to play with is mnemonics. Mnemonics are tools that help recall things by linking info to an image, rhyme, song or word. They may even inspire you to study.
Perhaps you’re that excitable someone about ready to dart from your work station when you hear the Home Alone theme or smell freshly-baked cookies. Or maybe you’re someone who sits down to work… but your social feed, consisting of Xmas dinners, demands your attention, or you get up for regular bathroom, snack and drink breaks. A simple way to stay motivated is to find a quiet workspace, cut the noise, social sites and chat bars – in fact, disconnect the internet except for research. Ensure you’ve all you need before starting. Still unmotivated? Try listening to peppy music or relaxing nature sounds.
If you’re finding it hard to concentrate, why not create a study group. Working with a friend studying the same course is fun – especially if you have snacks, presents and music in the background. However, even if your friend isn’t on the same course, just having them nearby as you work on your individual tasks can stimulate thought. After all, you’ll be happier, and happiness is a critical precursor to success. If your friends have gone away for the holidays, try to get a family member involved. Even if it’s only for short bursts. Interaction, so long as its focused, can make an impact when studying over Christmas.
We’re a college, not a borstal, so above all, we want you to get the most out of Christmas. Too much free time and not enough study time can lead to a soggy mind. So, while you’re enjoying the run-up to the New Year with multiple Bailey’s Luxury Hot Chocs, why not consult your timetable to find the right work-life balance. If prior commitments prevent your progress, just remember to plan smaller sessions and take advantage of moments hidden throughout your day, such as train journeys or during kettle boils. And for those who aren’t students, the New Year is ideal for reinventing yourself.