So that your future learning units at home are more productive, we are going to use the psychological bag of tricks today. We’ll show you some simple mechanisms that you can use to significantly increase and sustainably improve your motivation when learning at home. Not only do these psychological tricks help you motivate yourself to study—but they also foster productive habits and ensure you use your time efficiently.
Define Small Goals
Many students know how important goals are – but unfortunately, they use their goal formulations incorrectly. Either they remain too vague or they dimension their goals incorrectly. The most common mistake in learning is making goals too big, like, “Today I’m going to study for 12 hours.” Such a goal is everything except motivating. For this reason, you should shift down five gears when you are lacking in drive and define mini-goals, for example: “Today I will read 3 pages” or “Today I will write a paragraph of my research paper”. The smaller the target, the more likely it won’t scare you.
Keep Two Separate To-Do Lists
In general, to-do lists are a good thing: you can use them to outsource your thoughts, collect tasks and plan the rest of the day. Unfortunately, to-do lists quickly become a pool of wild excuses that keep you from getting important things done. Learning for example. For this reason, you should keep two different to-do lists. On one list you write down all the tasks that have to do with your current learning project; on the other list, you compile all other to-dos. Now you can proceed systematically: Only when you have completed a “learning to-do” can you take care of a to-do on the other list.
Think In Steps
Tasks that are too big have the same destructive effect on your motivation as goals that are too big. So get used to thinking in steps. Especially when studying at home, many students take on “big chunks”. Instead of shimmying from subtask 1 to subtask 2 to subtask 3, they write “solve all tasks” on their to-do list. With such a work structure, you can also let the learning be direct. Instead, learn step by step and break big tasks into small, manageable portions. First step 1, then step 2, then step 3, and so on.
Learning in steps increases your motivation, especially if you link the completion of each partial step to a reward. The reward does not even have to be large or particularly valuable – it is enough if you reward yourself with a positive mini-experience for your commitment: A new cup of coffee or tea, a chocolate bar, a song from your favorite playlist or comparable “little things”. Ensure that your brain associates positive feelings with your learning units. After a short time, you can establish new, productive habits in the home office.
Make An Appointment With Yourself!
Learning at home is often chaotic and without a fixed schedule. As a rule, you start without a fixed start and end time. In addition, in most cases, the duration of your individual learning sessions will not be fixed in advance. But precisely this non-binding nature poses a great danger to your motivation when learning. Because of this, you need some commitment. Make one (or more) appointment(s) with yourself and block a time slot in your calendar for your home study unit. If you are learning in several stages, it is also wise to set a deadline for each sub-step. With this procedure, you make it clear to your subconscious that you are serious, and you will comply with your own specifications with a much higher probability than without a corresponding termination.