Planning and motivation tips
A good plan and feeling motivated help you to study comfortably. Are you easily distracted or do you find it hard to get started? The tips below will help you on your way. Prefer to talk about your study planning and motivation in a personal meeting? Then make a free appointment with a study coach from the Skills Lab.
How do I make a good study plan?
For long-term planning, divide the total study material over the available weeks/days that you can devote to preparation. Divide large assignments into sub assignments and plan in some extra time! Also be realistic: party on the weekend? Take it into account!
Want to know how to make a realistic plan? Watch the video and the step-by-step plan 'Plan like a pro' or visit the website of Educational Development & Training for tips.
How do I stay motivated?
- Working from home in your pajamas can reduce your motivation and productivity. Do you often sit in your baggy clothes and do you find that this puts you in relaxing mode? Then put on clothes that you usually wear to university or the library. This way, you can keep your work and personal life separate at home.
- Try, as much as possible, to set up a separate place to work. This will also help you keep your work and personal life separate.
- Read the Home Study Guide. In this guide - compiled by teachers from Educational Development & Training - we provide answers to seven questions that can help you keep yourself and your studies on track. Read more about procrastination, making a good plan, and useful self-study activities.
Get up on time, preferably at the same time every day, and decide for yourself what time you will start your tasks. Do you find this difficult? Maybe you can arrange a (digital) breakfast with roommates, family members or friends, or schedule a daily start where you inform each other about the goals for the day.
Working together with friends or fellow students in the University Library or digitally via Teams can help you to be more productive.
You are not alone! People around you probably find it hard to get motivated to work every day too. Support and help each other. Make agreements with housemates about noise-free study hours, start an online study group with fellow students, discuss your planning with family members, have breakfast together with housemates at a fixed time or do sports. Plan a regular moment to talk to (a) friend(s) about how you're doing: this provides a rhythm and it helps you let off some steam.
Your phone can be a major source of distraction. Switch off notifications as much as possible, put your phone on mute and put it out of sight while you're working. If this doesn't work, there are several apps available to help you, such as 'Forest' and 'Offtime'.
Take a moment to identify your biggest distractions and what you can do about them. Too much noise? Talk it over with your housemates/family members and make agreements with each other. Perhaps it will help to study in the library or another quiet place. Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs can also help. Do you somehow end up on netflix, youtube, insta etc. again? Just like apps, there are blockers for websites. They are often easy to install and prevent you from accessing certain websites within a certain period of time.
Take a real break. Put your work away, close your laptop, eat mindfully and do something fun. A walk in the open air often works wonders, too.
Stop on time, even if you were less productive than hoped, and make sure you can start fresh the next day. Get some exercise after work, for example by doing yoga, walking or running. This will clear your mind and give you new energy.
Lazing around and doing nothing is not a bad thing at all! Alan Lightman, professor at MIT, writes in 'In Praise of Wasting Time' that it is not at all bad to take a nice long break or not study for a day. It is okay to keep that in the back of your mind.
Contact Skills Lab
Address: University Library Utrecht Science Park
Heidelberglaan 3, 3584 CS Utrecht
- Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org