Two ways to stay motivated when studying

I used to do well in my assignments, even when I did leave things late. But I realised I couldn’t handle doing everything last minute all of the time. I needed something to push me to study. Mariam, English literature student
Illustration of a person riding a scooter outdoors.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to notice when you've become complacent with your studies... especially after a long break.

Perhaps you purposely allow little time to complete an assignment, as a way of staying motivated in the lead-up to an assignment. Or, you have formed this habit from having achieved good marks in the past, after working close to a deadline.

Either way, it's worthwhile to establish a sustainable routine to meet your future deadlines. 

You can start by making one tweak to the environment you study in – something to keep you accountable to do the work.

1. Reveal your deadlines

Illustration of colourful sticky notes on a brain.

Place any important dates/tasks in a place you are likely to see it in your room. Maybe that’s on a whiteboard, a calendar on your desk or post-it notes/papers on the wall. 

Having these reminders in areas you frequently visit could create a sense of urgency for you to get up, and start working. 

2. Repeat those reminders

Illustration of person on the floor with a phone.

"I had people that could check up on me. We [would] call each other, saying, ‘we have a week left until the deadline. Have you done the plan? Have you done a draft?’"

Set alerts for these tasks or milestones you need to complete for a project. Using your phone, you might set alerts for specific dates, or, ask your course mates to set reminders for each other. 



Over to you

Changing something in your work environment may impact your behaviour, and provide more favourable conditions for you to carry out your best work. 

Once you take these actions to help you stay on track for a deadline, you will become proactive in holding yourself accountable to your goals. This is a valuable skill that you will use in both your professional and personal life.

  • How can you remind yourself of an upcoming deadline? 
  • Who can help you stay on track with important assignment tasks? 
Skills for Study Shorts

Thought-provoking snippets

Habits | Part of the Skills for Study Shorts series.