Sometimes, you just can't make yourself start. You've tried looking at your vision board, you've tried setting self control apps on your computer and phone, you've tried imagining yourself as a traveling hobo if you don't study.
And yet here you are. Staring at your ceiling. Days before your final. The night before your quiz.
How can you trick yourself into beginning?? Don't worry, my young padawan. As the laziest of them all, I can assure it is actually possible for anyone to succeed. Below is my guide for how to make yourself study. Bookmark this post and thank me later.
Study with a luxurious home-spa session
Products: Bath bomb - Lush, Hair mask - Aussie, Nail polish - Essie, Candle - Etsy, Face mask - Victoria's Secret Pink, Bathtub Shelf - Amazon. (Example textbook is Rapid Interpretation of EKG's by Dale Dubin, which is an excellent resource for learning how to read EKG's.)
Buy tea lights, a bath bomb, and a hair masque, and settle in with your study materials. Even better, use a bathtub shelf to help make sure your textbook stays out of the water. (Caution recommended with this tactic - holding a rented textbook above a bathtub is only for those who like to live on the edge).
If you have taped lectures to watch, you can set up a laptop on a chair and multitask shaving your legs and learning about the Spanish-American War.
I like to call this tactic tricking myself into studying. I can't be learning, I'm having fun! Setting up the spa gives you some procrastination time and when you actually get into the tub, there's nothing more interesting to do, so you might as well look at your study stuff. Without even noticing it, you will have started absorbing material while your hair absorbs deep conditioner.
Watch review material while on the treadmill or stationary bike
Maybe it's YouTube videos or Khan Academy, maybe it's textbook-specific videos, maybe it's SketchyMicro! You know you should watch it, but it's hard to motivate yourself to start watching some boring lecture on your screen when you could be checking fashion blogs instead.
Therein lies the magic of combining it with exercise. When you're doing something REALLY boring, like straight cardio, suddenly academic videos look much much more interesting. I would definitely recommend watching something rather than trying to read; I have attempted trying to read while on the treadmill and it is an exercise in frustration and possible motion sickness.
Treat yo'self to some new workout clothes and take your tablet or phone to the gym to get in some physical training in addition to your mental training!
Wear a cute pair of leggings and add a funny athletic shirt to start off your gym sesh. The sports bra above can be used even by bustier women. (I run in it, and the number of sports bras I can run in are limited!) Curly hair pins and some nice hair ties will keep your hair out of your face and your attention focused. Finally, a pair of cordless earbuds will make it much easier to run (and see the screen!) without having your headphone cord distracting your view .
Last but not least... Bribery
Wellllll nobody said this list would be the things you SHOULD do. It's things that will work. And the mission of this list is for you to get stuff done, whether or not it's the prettiest way to do it.
I'm completely consumerism-driven and bribery of any form helps motivate me. And girl, sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Buy some new office supplies to feel happy about your space (and color-code your notes) and get yourself a fancy coffee drink to sip while you're working. Starbucks is a great place to get some work done, especially since there are outlets everywhere you look.
Even a new pajama set or study outfit can be the kick you need to get into gear. Who could be distracted when they're wearing a cute matching bralette and underwear set? What about some comfy joggers that feel like sweatpants but still lean towards athleisure? Finally, top it off with a t-shirt that pokes fun at the social sacrifices we make for academics.
Sure we all know what we're supposed to do to motivate ourselves to study. We should be eating healthy, nutritious snacks. We should take time to focus on ourselves and meditate. We should still make time each day to get our heart rate up! Yeah, yeah.
But what are the things you actually do to study? What really works for you? Tell us in the comments below!