The integration of excellent motivation methods and the knowledge on how to get motivated to study can have a very positive effect for a student’s studies. A motivated student will find it easier to do all the necessary tasks that need to be done; it will especially allow students to study a lot more focused and with more concentration. Motivating yourself to study is especially helpful when you feel a lack of motivation or face procrastination during your studies.

The following tips on how to study effectively will help you to become motivated to study and to beat procrastination!

motvation techniques to study

Effective Motivation Techniques for Students

How to become motivated to study?

I. The motivational power of having a goal!

One of the most effective motivational techniques students can apply is to set themselves well thought-out goals and objectives. These aims could be either short-term goals (e.g. about an upcoming exam) or long-term goals (e.g. about the achievements you want to reach during your studies in the university). Objectives and aims are one of the best sources of motivation, as they will keep you focused and enable you to “do whatever it takes” to accomplish your goals. Furthermore, cleverly chosen objectives will inspire you to greater heights, allowing you to reach your true potential. A very positive side-effect of an excellent goal is that it will drastically increase your perseverance.

Important tips for goal setting:

  • #1 Write your goals down
  • #2 Avoid vagueness, negations and necessities
  • #3 Split complex goals into main targets and sub-goals
  • #4 State how you intent to achieve your goal
  • #5 Visualize the accomplishment of your objective and what it feels like
  • #6 Gratification: reward yourself once the goal is reached

For more details and an in-depth explanation on the above named aspects of the best goal setting strategies, visit How to set goals effectively?

II. Gratification: Reward yourself!

Personally, I don’t consider the act of rewarding oneself – once a goal is accomplished – as a motivational technique for students per se, but the positive effect that a gratification can have on your motivation to study is stupendous, hence I have no other choice than including the fantastic aspect of gratification into this article. If you feel the urge to become motivated to study, set yourself a goal (as discussed in I. The motivational power of having a goal) and determine an appropriate reward once the objective is accomplished. It’s really that simple, but so effective. By rewarding yourself, whenever a goal is achieved, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realization that an effort results in a positive reward. Furthermore, you will – consciously or subconsciously – recognize that a high effort will result in an even more positive gratification. In accord with the formula {high effort + accomplishment of the objective = gratification} you start linking hard work with a gratification. Basically, you will associate upcoming challenges (and necessary efforts to reach a goal) as another chance to get rewarded (= positive emotions). Hence you increase your motivation to study hard which allows you to maintain your motivation on a high level, until the objective is accomplished. Also, your willingness to make an expenditure (e.g. studying) in order to accomplish the objective (e.g. an excellent grade) will raise, when having a reward in mind that you have desired for long. 

Please keep in mind that this method can only stir your motivation to study as long as you apply the simple rule: {demanding objective = glorious reward} and {simple goal = small reward}. Also, it’s crucial that you DO NOT reward yourself if you fail and if you were not able to reach the objective as determined. Furthermore, the reward should be received once the goal is reached, not any time prior to this.

Important tips for rewarding yourself to become motivated to study:

  • #1 Set a goal & determine an appropriate reward for it’s accomplishment
  • #2 Associate the efforts you take with the positive reward
  • #3 Ambitious challenges require outstanding rewards
  • #4 Basic objectives should only be rewarded slightly
  • #5 Do not allow yourself to receive a reward if you fail
  • #6 Reward yourself subsequently after achieving the goal  

III. Just do it & start studying

I know that whenever you feel a lack of motivation to get started with studying there are a dozen other activities that sound by far more interesting than studying. Sometimes you would rather watch TV, an episode of your favorite sitcom, the new movie that has hit cinemas, listen to music or hang out with your friends. The simple trick to overcome this dilemma is to just get going. Start studying, no matter what. “Boost” yourself to get started with studying, no matter if you feel tired or if the teaching material isn’t interesting at all.

“It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you get going.”

Why am I recommending “to just do it“, whenever you lack the motivation to study? Simply because it will allow you to free your mind from all kinds of negative thoughts about being lazy or lacking the right motivation. Basically, instead of wasting important time worrying about being unenthusiastic and lazy (in short: playing the victim) you take action. You will notice that once you’re getting started “just for a couple of minutes“, time will fly by and you will get used to your tasks. Once you got into the habit of studying, it will feel just natural after a while to remain on your tasks for longer periods of time.

Important tips to just get started with studying:

  • #1Force” yourself to do 15-20 minutes of studying for now
  • #2 Don’t agonize yourself by picturing the alternatives to studying
  • #3 Try not to procrastinate.
  • #4 The more you focus on your task, the faster you’re finished
  • #5 Imagine the negative consequences of prolonging studying
  • #6 If you’re tired, get up and jump on the spot, take a shower (or the like)
  • #7 Prevent distractions (TV, internet, email, telephone, smartphone)

IV. One step at a time – avoid prolonging

Let’s face it, one of the main reasons we students are not very enthusiastic about studying is the fact that we prolong the start of the necessary study work for too long. As a result, we fail to grasp the subsequent teaching and learning contents, which forces us to become self-tutors that have to teach themselves everything that was missed. In the end, that’s a very time-consumptive method of studying, and a direct result of prolonging studying. The alternative is to constantly keep up with your tasks in college or university on a daily basis. This – by all means – doesn’t suggest that you will have to study for hours each day, from the beginning to the end. Instead, it means that you keep going one step at a time, which allows you to grasp subsequent contents and to stay ahead with your tasks. If it takes you 10 minutes each day to organize and revise the contents you learned in the present day, that’s fine!  That way, you will understand what’s being discussed, thereby you can avoid the accumulation of gaps in knowledge.

Motivational techniques for students

Image credit at the end of the page

At the beginning of your term, you could write down the specific goals you aim to accomplish (as discussed in I. The motivational power of having a goal). Consider this to be your letter of motivation for the upcoming semester. Whenever you feel a lack of motivation, or disinterest in studying, grab this letter and reassure yourself of the higher purpose on why you are studying. Realize that you have a “once in a lifetime” opportunity; you are young and entitled to study, so you might as well make the best of it by working and studying hard and by doing the best you can to get accepted at the destination of your choice. Otherwise, you might regret it at a later point in time.

V. Music – there is no easier way to get motivated

Music is a wonderful way to stir your motivation, as it elicits positive emotions. If chosen wisely, a song can get you powerfully motivated to study; it can cause a spirit of optimism which evokes the epic feeling of being able to do anything. When compared with other techniques to get motivated to study, listening to music is by far the simplest way to become excited of studying. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t opt for ballads, chill-out or lounge music. Instead, choose songs that you find motivating and inspiring, songs that immediately energize your whole body and make you smile from ear to ear. So, grab your headphones, turn on  your stereo equipment and listen to some fantastic songs, for instance Jorge Quintero’s 300 violin orchestra:

I really hope you like the song and if it stirred motivation then it’s even the better! In general, you can listen to any kind of music, as long as it energizes you, makes you happy and increases your motivation to “get going”. In the following, I’ve prepared a short list of suggestions for music that could help you to get motivated to study.

Suggestions of very motivational songs:

  • #1 Steve JablonskyArrival to Earth (Transformers Soundtrack)
  • #2 Daft PunkThe Game has Changed (Tron: Legacy Soundtrack)
  • #3 Hans ZimmerTime (Inception Soundtrack)
  • #4 Paul EngemannPush it to the Limit
  • #5 Nas ft. P. DiddyHate me now
  • #6 QueenWe Will Rock You
  • #7 Phil CollinsIn the Air Tonight
  • #8 ACDCThunderstruck
  • #9 BlurSong 2

Hopefully I covered a broad range of tastes in music, for further suggestions see The Best and Inspiring Orchestral Movie Soundtracks and the Most Motivational Songs.

VI. How bad do you want to succeed?

The foundation of all motivation – not only the motivation to study – will make or break with one question, How bad do you want to succeed?“. If you want something bad enough and you really want it to happen, you are motivated to the hilt. It’s as simple as that; you know it and I know it. The question is, do you really – thoroughly – want to succeed in your graduation or study? And if not, why is that? Get to the bottom of this question and find out what you can do to make you want to succeed in school, college or university. Focus on the higher purpose of your education, i.e. getting enrolled in your favorite college/university, earning an door-opening degree or being recruited by that top employer you ever dreamed of. If you want to succeed in life bad enough, some lack of motivation to study will not be a difficult obstacle to overcome, will it?

Important tips to increase your desire to succeed:

  • #1 Find out the reason why you are studying!
  • #2 What is your driving desire to succeed in school, college or univ.?
  • #3 Where do you want to be after finishing your education?

VII. A positive approach!

Your attitudes and mindsets about university/college can have a huge impact on your motivation! Having a mindset like: “University is a place where I face daily anxieties and get mentally tortured by all my professors.” is not helpful and will not help you to get motivated. But if you have a positive attitude towards your studies (e.g. you see university/college as a chance to gain important knowledge, to develop yourself and to get ready to start your career) you will be able to boost motivation, just by having a positive attitude towards it. A positive approach towards your studies, your fellow students and professors will help you to keep your academic motivation on a constant high level.

VIII. Negative feelings can kill your motivation!

You will be confronted during your studies – every once in a while – with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and disappointment. These emotions can decrease your motivation drastically, which means you will begin to lack drive with negative results for your studies. My tip for you is to not waste your precious time and energy on negative feelings/emotions and attitudes towards professors, fellow students or situations you neither can change nor control. A lot of professors can be a real pain (see: How to deal with difficult professor personalities). The constant pressure to perform or the lack in social skills of some can be very frustrating. However, you are not able to change them, so anger would be an unnecessary and inefficient reaction towards their behavior. Pay their negative behavior back with excellent marks, instead! Anything else is contra productive (for you). The “pay back” attitude is also an interesting method for those who want to transform their negative emotions into even more motivation to study.

IX. True interest!

Another very effective motivational element that helps you to get motivated to study is your interest in the subject. True interest! If you are able to develop a true interest in what you are studying it will help you in becoming very motivated! If you know the difference between a task you dislike and an assignment you enjoy you know what I mean!

Important tips to become truly interestd in studying:

  • #1 Get curious about the subject
  • #2 Read interesting books, magazines or articles on the topic
  • #3 Team up with others that are interested in the subject

X. Beat procrastination and distraction!

Procrastination – or any kinds of distractions – can have a negative influence on your ability to get motivated to study in general. Therefore it is important that you create a space to study where you do not get distracted by any means. Just by sitting in a room where you cannot procrastinate or distract yourself will help you to get started with your studies. Cut out any kind of distraction (TV, radio, mobile phone, internet, telephone, etc.) that could interrupt you while studying.

The above mentioned motivation techniques will help you to know how to get motivated to study!

The article “Ultimate Motivation Techniques – How to motivate yourself effectively” will show you 10 in-depth techniques that will boost your motivation!

You might also like the following articles:

Photo by Horia Varlan

The article How to Get Motivated to Study was presented by Success Blog.

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  1. arif (Reply) on Feb 14, 2013

    I appreciate your opinion steve. But however i am in the middle of my engineering i just cant step back,two more years to complete my course.. if you can help me to keep myself motivated from studying as well as working i would be really very grateful to you..

  2. Steve Mueller (Reply) on Feb 15, 2013

    Hi Arif, okay if its a matter of motivation here we go:

    Now, you wrote that you are in the 6th semester, so you have 3-5 semesters left. That means its going to be another 1-2 intensive years for you, but these are some very important years for the rest of your life. Imagine the result that quitting would have on the outcome of your life. If you do not want to wake up 10 years later regretting that you did not finish your studies, then you will have to bear this burden for the next months and years. It’s difficult but if you focus and concentrate for this period and give your very best you will tremendously benefit from it.

    You will emerge from this experience stronger and better than before. You will be more knowledgeable and wiser. This gives you a huge advantage when you compete with others that did not have to go through the same as you had to!

    The next one to two years are going to be important for you, so give everything you can on this final spurt! If you want to you can bookmark this page and make it a monthly habit to check by to renew your motivation.

  3. arif (Reply) on Feb 15, 2013

    Thank you for giving me an unbelievable future I never could have dreamed of.
    Thank you for this incredible opportunity to improve my life in many ways.I will ensure that i strictly follow all your words… I felt you were a great speaker.. cheers mate..

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Feb 16, 2013

      You’re welcome! I wish you good luck and I’m very sure you will succeed. Never cease to believe in yourself and you’ll make it.

  4. Aakash (Reply) on Feb 23, 2013

    I m in 6th semestr in my engineering life.
    I fail in 3 subject of my previous semester’s.
    Plz motivate me.
    I want to study serious and want to go for gud job.
    Plz steve help me ;-(

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Feb 24, 2013

      Hi Aakash, please read the article it should boost your motivation and provides the methods and techniques that help you to motivate yourself. And please do not forget that it is YOUR responsibility to motivate yourself day after day after day. There will be no one else who will take up the role of the clown to motivate you. In the end, you are the only one that can motivate yourself in an effective manner. And quite frankly no one else will take that responsibility for you. Learn to motivate yourself, the tools are provided in this article. The best motivational power comes from within you, when you motivate yourself.

  5. Valeri Marinov (Reply) on Feb 26, 2013

    I am first year bachelor at a law university..I already have 3 resits to cover and a total of 7 subjects to study until the beggining of april…I always have a negative approach and everytime I study, I get depressed by the amount I have to cover and get distracted easily.Just the fact that I have so much to cover, makes me throw the books away and do something else.Almost everyone tells me that it is impossible to study everything until beginning of April, and I am seriously considering of dropping out of the university.What’s the point of studying all these if even by that way i still won’t be able to succed here?Steve, please give me the motivation to continue…

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Feb 26, 2013

      Hi Valeri, when you are confronted with a pile of work it’s important that you work it off constantly and step by step. Sometimes the amount one has to study is overwhelming, but if you approach it step by step, day by day, you will soon notice that it reduces until you have finished it all. However, it is important that you do not allow yourself to be distracted while studying.

      When I read your comment I get the impression that you are not too motivated to study law. Why is that? Become aware of the true reason you are studying. Is it that your parents or someone else wants you to study law, or did you always wanted to become a lawyer? (This makes a great difference motivation-wise!). Maybe you want to become a great lawyer one day, maybe you want to become a lawyer that defends the innocent in court. Whatever the reason is, be aware of it and channel your motivation out of this goal! If on the other hand your parents or anybody else wants you to be a lawyer, then you should reconsider your choice, because it is not your own goal and you will never be able to peak motivation from a goal that is not yours.

      Studying is just the (sometimes very unpleasant) journey that leads you to your goal. And yes, you will have to make a lot of sacrifices to reach your goal, but in the end only you can know if it was worth it. I think if you become an amazing lawyer that helps other people that cannot defend themselves in court, then by all means that is a truly worthwhile prospect. Read the article and implement the techniques into your life and you will see that you will be able to motivate yourself in an efficient manner.

  6. Sanu (Reply) on Feb 27, 2013

    I am in my schools and studying seems like a burden. And believe me I really want to study and I keep on searching things to study to get motivated to study..and the list goes on. I am no poor learner it’s just that I am unable to study for who knows what reason. Please help me

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Feb 28, 2013

      Hi Sanu, I think you have some kind of mental blockage that prevents you from doing well in your studies. You write that “studying seems like a burden” and that you’re “unable to study”. Why is that? Try to find the reason for this blockage and get rid of it. Whatever the blockage is, break free from it and you will see that studying becomes easier, especially as you are no poor learner, as you wrote.

  7. Medet (Reply) on Mar 8, 2013

    Hello, Steve!
    I’m a 3-rd year International Relations student. I chose this major myself, but sometimes I have problems with the lack of interest. I don’t know why this happens, may be because of bad mood or tiredness? You know, it seems to me that I need more energy than I have, because I become exhausted very quickly. I participate in a lot of social activities in my university and in the city level and also I’m the coordinator of students charity club. I try doing everything to make my student life interesting. So every day I have a lot of job to do, but I like it. The problem is that when I come home and it’s time to do my home tasks I’m very tired and want to sleep. And it’s only home tasks. But as you know students get only 10-15% of knowledge from university and other 90% is the result of self-studying. So, I even cannot do this 10-15%. There is no talking about self-study.) The decision may be is to give up all my other duties and concentrate on studying… But from the other hand I see people who have more work but they do everything in time. I’m also easily distracted. And when I have time it’s just to difficult for me to start doing something concerning studying. I can surf internet or chat with somebody and it doesn’t make me exhausted but when I start studying I feel that I want to sleep…
    I hope you could give me a wise advice.)

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Mar 8, 2013

      Hi Medet, I’ve got an idea for you. Have you considered to do the 10-15% of university-related tasks BEFORE you focus on the other activities (social activities, city level, coordination of the charity club, etc.)? That way you can invest a majority of your energy into your studies (which is the most important part while at university of course), before you focus on other activities. Also, you could avoid the tiredness problem, as you would have already finished all your study-related work when you move your attention on to other activities. Hence you might get tired during some other activities, but you’ll avoid getting tired while studying.

      That’s just an idea, however, it might be difficult to be implemented if your other activities are on a fixed schedule or have to be done before you can focus on studying.

      Another option to circumvent the “tiredness problem” would be to study early in the morning. That takes a lot of self-discipline, but you will notice that your mind feels really fresh, calm and unstressed right after waking up. That’s the perfect time to put some information inside!

      If that doesn’t work out either there’s still the option to reduce some of your tasks that are not related to your studies so that you can focus more on studying.

      I hope that helps!

  8. Medet (Reply) on Mar 10, 2013

    That’s a really good idea! I also was thinking about it. Yes, some of my activities should be done during my presence in university, and that’s why I do them before studying. But when I come home I also start concentrating on my other activities first and only then on studying. So, I also think it’s better to start from studies. Thank you for such a good advice, Steve!

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Mar 10, 2013

      You’re welcome Medet. I’m glad I could help you. You’ll see that the own ideas that you find will work even better than anybody else’s advice, as you know yourself better than anybody else!

  9. gaurav (Reply) on Mar 20, 2013

    Hi steve a lot i try bt i can’t overcome my laziness you have said thnk ths and that about future thnk negative consequences about it bt as i reached in the state of laziness thn my mind doesn’t thnk a single line. And when i knw all these then my mind force it to do later my biggest problem also is procrastinating i m not overcoming it a lot i try . If it works then works only 1 day and from tomorrow onwards i couldn’t study. I couldn’t undrstnd what stop me . If ths cntinues my whole life will be ruined i knw that bt ths also can’t bring fear in me. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP…..

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Mar 20, 2013

      Hi Gaurav, I think it’s great that you’ve already identified what the problem is. That way, you’re already one step closer towards solving the problem.

      I think your laziness is a pattern that has become dominant in your life. Your brain is used to it, you’re used to it and so it’s perfectly normal for you. Now is the time to change that. Your laziness is a vicious circle, as you constantly repeat to yourself that your lazy. I’m lazy – I’m lazy – I’m lazy. Stop that. Focus on your problem and try to work on it. Do it one step at a time. Get out of the environment that keeps you lazy and go to your library (or anywhere else) instead, when you need to study and when you need to be concentrated/focused. Do not be set off after initial hardship but continue on your journey against fighting off your laziness.

      If you really want a solution: Turn off your TV & computer, disconnect from the internet, turn off your mobile phone for some days. You will notice that you procrastinate less (as you have nothing else left that diverts your attention). From this point onwards you will be capable to fight your laziness and the issue with procrastinating.

      What is intended by this is that you become so bored (as there is nothing left that could allow you to procrastinate) you will eventually end up doing the things you need to do, i.e. studying, etc. Turn off the TV and computer, stick to this decision and you will see laziness and procrastination will reduce drastically.

      • gaurav (Reply) on Mar 22, 2013

        Another time ur wrds created magic steve..
        I thnk you correctly identified my problem that i with myself punishng all time that i am lazy. Now ths thng i have to changed. And also avoid other distraction . Yeah i knw that i am very very very hardworking and i cn do anythng just was a little ignition requrd thnxx…..

        • Steve Mueller on Mar 22, 2013

          Hi Gaurav. I think we all need every once a while that little spark that ignites us and boost our motivation! Glad I could help you!

          Set yourself ambitious goals, work hard to reach that goals and generously reward yourself for reaching your goals. That’s one of the most effective ways to boost your motivation and to keep it at a high level for a long period of time, until another spark ignites your motivation again!

  10. rucha (Reply) on Mar 22, 2013

    hi i m doing certified financial planner . . i hav to pass 5 tough exams to become CFP. i study alot and i gave one exam of it but i cudnt pass it. can u suggest me sumthing plz

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Mar 22, 2013

      Hi rucha, I think I would need some more information on your situation in order to give you any kind of recommendation. What’s your problem? Why are you having trouble getting motivated to study? etc.

  11. gaurav (Reply) on Mar 22, 2013

    Another time ur wrds created magic steve..
    I thnk you correctly identified my problem that i with myself punishng all time that i am lazy. Now ths thng i have to changed. And also avoid other distraction . Yeah i knw that i am very very very hardworking and i cn do anythng just was a little ignition requrd thnxx…..

  12. rahul (Reply) on Mar 23, 2013

    Hi there. M in Govtt job and I was having my assessment interview this year. We have to got some marks in our performance report so as to become eligible for assessment. But my boss has not given me the marks. What should I do? On one hand, m looking to change the job & other hand, m thinking to request him for increase in my marks.

    My 2nd problem is that people back bite me. I never bitch abt any1 but why this happen wid me? What should I do so that my energy & focus remains streamlined. Pls help me out. Thanks in advance.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Mar 24, 2013

      Regarding your first problem, have you already asked your boss politely if he could give you your marks? Show him that these marks are really important to you, your assessment and your future career. Maybe he just forgot or wasn’t aware of how important they were to you. I think, however, that it might be difficult in persuading him in increasing your marks. That depends on the relationship you have with your boss and whether or not he thinks an increase is justified.

      The second problem, well. Make yourself aware of the following: You cannot change the behavior of other people. You can neither change what they think about you nor how they behave towards you. Which means that no matter what you do, there will always be people that do not approve of what you do. There will always be someone that does not like you in general. But this is okay, because this is not your problem. What other people think of you is none of your business. You cannot change how they perceive you, so it shouldn’t concern you what they think of you.

      Focus on your behavior and actions, make sure that you adhere to your own rules and most important of all: make sure that you only do what you think is right so that you can still look at yourself in the mirror so to speak.

  13. rahul (Reply) on Mar 27, 2013

    Thanks Sir for your help. Yes, I have asked my boss very politely that I want marks & he told me that he will see. You told me absolutely correct about other people back biting. That’s exactly what I was also thinking. Thanks for your so much help. Last line of mirror is gr8. Thank you sir.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Mar 27, 2013

      You’re welcome Rahul!

  14. Selam (Reply) on Apr 8, 2013

    Hi Steve,

    I am a pre-med student and I have been working very hard for almost two years now, and I have had a really good standing and achievements. But lately I became so lazy, like I don’t even understand it. I am unresponsive and I don’t really care if I study or not. I don’t wanna wake up, I am doing nothing that is necessarily productive.
    I am really scared to what is happening to me. I was never like this. I was always prepared and finish every assignment on time.
    Please give me advice :)

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Apr 8, 2013

      Hi Selam, I was facing a very similar situation not too long ago. I think it sometimes happens that you become lazy, sluggish, unresponsive and unproductive during your course of studies. So first of all it’s important to get it straight in your own mind that it’s just a phase and not for ever to eternity (to take away your fears) and that you will work your way out of this phase eventually. Also, it’s important to realize that you can easily become an ambitious, hard-working student, because you already were that not too long ago, which means that your brain is already used to this state of being (as opposed to a lazy student who always was lazy and suddenly wants to become a high achiever, which would be a lot more difficult, if you understand what I mean).

      Secondly, it’s important to seek for the root cause of your laziness and lack of productiveness. Is it a new tool or something else that suddenly came into your life (TV, smartphone, video game, computer, internet, app, leisure activity, friendship, relationship, family) and that distracts you in any shape or form? Or a new mindset, a new opinion, perspective? There is something that somehow withholds you, that draws you back. Find it and eliminate it. If necessary, throw away or hide your television cable, internet cable, console, etc. Be radical. In general it can be helpful to turn off your television and any other digital distractions for a while (say some weeks) so that you get so bored that there is literally nothing interesting left than studying and preparing assignments (this one is very powerful!)

      For me, it was the lack of a proper goal. I had set myself an ambitious goal for each semester with a really fancy reward, so effectively I was working towards getting the reward and would work and study hard to achieve the goal. But one semester I totally forgot to set the goal and so I lost a little bit of my focus. Therefore, set yourself an ambitious goal that motivates you to study! If you can think of an amazing reward that you receive once you reached your goal (e.g. good grates) it will further boost your motivation.

  15. Asad (Reply) on Apr 8, 2013

    Hi Steve,

    I’m in a situation where im motivated to acheive great things in life but then there are some things in life that just dont let you succeed. I really need help with motivation to achieve my goals live a happy and content life 5 years from now

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Apr 10, 2013

      Hi Asad, I think I need some more information on your situation in order to give you any kind of recommendation. What are the things that don’t let you succeed? What kind of help with motivation do you really need? Sincerely Steve

  16. RANA ZOHAIB NASIR (Reply) on Apr 10, 2013

    Thanks a lot! I was so sad before reading this. I got excited.I am ready to get challenge.

  17. hamidreza (Reply) on Apr 17, 2013

    thanks so much.
    i have many problem to get motivated to study because i usually have a negative feeling and i think i can use this method to solve it.
    thank you .thank you .thank you!!!!

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Apr 18, 2013

      Hi Hamidreza, you’re welcome! I’m glad I could help you and I wish that your study adventure is going really good for you!

  18. Prem (Reply) on Apr 18, 2013

    Hi Steve,

    I read your article and all the comments too,kudos for such a motivating article.I am a regular reader of motivational books and blogs so i know some that how to motivate self. But still i need ur help for my problem.
    As you replayed to one response that identifying our problem is one step closer to solve it.

    I am preparing for Gov exams, and as u told u in this article to-
    Set a goal which i did
    Me too din believe in rewarding myself
    I am focused to my task ( but not for long )
    I prevent all types of distractions and i have a positive attitude about life and everything around me.

    But my problem is I can’t able to stick to what I am doing, i get bored with things too easily and din able to continue my preparation for long time in same speed(say not more then 2 weeks in a stretch). My maths is weak and I am trying my best to prepare it,but in this too i din able too keep focus for long time.I try to keep myself motivated by reading self help books as i told u earlier,I know that how much a job is important for me and what happen to me if i din able to get a job, but still i din able to be focused on my goal , its annoying for me and I am fed up with this problem, I try to get rid of this problem but fail again and again.Please help me out from this problem.Please give me some advice how to stay focused no goal for long time.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Apr 18, 2013

      Hi Prem,

      I know what you’re talking about, been experiencing it every once in a while, too. I guess what helps me to stick to what I’m doing is to create a routine of it – meaning that you keep going and going until it’s a routine for you. This means that you have to be very persistent during the first (say four) weeks – after that period it will be easier and easier to stick to what you’re doing as you become used to it.

      I congratulate you on identifying your problem, which makes it easier for you to solve it (as you mentioned). However, I hope you don’t mind if I slightly adjust the statement of the problem slightly: the main problem isn’t so much that you are not able to stick to what you’re doing, the main problem is that you do not recommence your task after being distracted. It’s normal to be distracted or bored every once in a while, especially when studying. But what is important is that you re-continue with your task, after a given period of distraction. If you look at it from this perspective, not the distractions are the problem, but the issue of not being able to recommence what you did. So after a given period of distraction make sure that you re-continue.

      Also, it’s always a CHOICE to allow distractions from relinquishing you from your goal, which is why I recommend that you prepare yourself mentally not to give in when the temptation (or boredom) arises that could lead you astray. Determine that you will not cancel your preparation, even if boredom arises. Prepare yourself mentally that such a situation will arise and that you will meet the right decision. Again, it’s a choice. Do not give in to distractions, do not retreat, not one inch!

      Keep going in your preparations (even if boredom arises, even if problems show up) until the task is done – resp. until the goal is reached. Studying can become very boring at times, but that is an elemental part of university, as it teaches you to persist with things that are not so interesting.

  19. Prem (Reply) on Apr 20, 2013

    Hi Steve,

    Firstly, Thanks for replying me.Steve you get it right that I have problem of not to recommence to my my task after i being distracted, you know its very difficult for me to re-continue after i get distracted.
    Steve it would be a great help for me if u give me some tips to stick to routine because i think i never really followed routine.Once i tried to follow routine but give up after 2 months.
    And whats your thought about meditation, is it help in studies??
    And please include a list of motivational books, like u added motivational music.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Apr 20, 2013

      HI Prem,

      Yes, I think you could benefit highly from meditation, not just study-wise but in your whole life overall. If you’re interested in meditation give it a try, it will help you to calm down and to quieten your mind – something very important as it reduces the influence of distractions, especially when studying.

      How to stick to routine?

      - monitor your behavior, what makes you stop sticking to a routine? Eliminate the reason!
      - have a plan that details how the routine should look like (e.g. study-routine) and how you want to make sure to stick to it

      Motivational books:

      Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
      Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H. Pink
      The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven R. Covey
      Awaken the Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
      Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Richard Carlson
      The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman V. Peale
      Psychocybernetics – Maxwell Maltz.
      Talent is Overrated – Geoff Colvin
      The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch

      • Prem (Reply) on Apr 22, 2013

        Thanks Steve, I started to implement what u said. I have some more questions but i will ask u latter. Thanks again for your help.

  20. Jazmyn (Reply) on Apr 20, 2013

    Hi, I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my current situation. I’ll be sitting for my IGCSE examinations in few days time and yet I couldn’t bring myself to study. The thing is, I usually get myself so inspired and motivated but then it suddenly fades away, in 1-5mins [And sometimes i get so tired and sleepy too.]This happens like everyday, and I keep on procrasting things! I don’t like it either but I keep on doing it. It’s not that I hate studying. Learning new things in life has always inspired me but then when it is related to studies, I just felt like I lost hope. I used to always do my stuff on time and be the top in class in middle school, but things HAVE changed completely in my high school years. Losing 1-5 marks in tests used to matter a lot, but now I just hope I don’t lose too much and not getting a fail is OKAY. It’s embarrassing to share this with others but I really hope you could help me. Distractions? Oh yes! I do fangirling a lot and Internet has been a major cause of my destruction. Could I possibly get all A*s – losing less than 10 marks- in my IGs? I don’t want to disappoint my parents anymore, yet being the 1st child of the family should be a role model to my siblings. *sigh*

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Apr 20, 2013

      Hi Jazmyn, I think you lack a vision or goal that keeps you going. An aim that fuels your motivation to study hard and be so focused that nothing can distract you from studying. Have you set yourself an ambitious goal yet? Say your goal is to improve your marks gradually then think of some kind of reward that you badly want. Now here is the catch: you get this reward only when you reach your goal, hence you will be willing to do the best you can.

      You wrote that internet is a mayor distraction for you, which is why I recommend that you get some plugins that prevent you from accessing sites that would normally distract you from studying. The plugin I like is called LeechBlock (for Firefox) and allows you to block time-consuming sites during a set period of time (say you want to study from 4 to 5 pm then you block the internet during that time).

      Also, make sure that you do the fangirling or surfing on the internet always AFTER you’ve accomplished all your study-tasks for the day. This just requires some mental strength, but your achievements in school will benefit from it. So make it a choice not to engage in any leisure time activity before not all your study-tasks for the day are reached.

  21. vibhor (Reply) on May 1, 2013

    sir i m so lazy,i m trying to study,but after half an hour i m distracted from ny track..n then after that i am wasted my whole time. now my 6th semester exams are near in May so plz please help me to out of this fobia…i m very thankfull to you for this act of kindness….

  22. Steve Mueller (Reply) on May 3, 2013

    Hi Vibhor,

    great that you already know what the problem is (laziness). By knowing the issue you’re already one step closer towards solving it.

    I think laziness is a behavioral pattern that has become dominant in your life. Your brain is used to it, you’re used to it and so it’s perfectly normal for you. Your laziness is a vicious circle, as you constantly repeat that your lazy. I’m lazy – I’m lazy – I’m lazy. Stop that. Focus on the problem and try to work on it. Do it one step at a time. Get out of the environment that keeps you lazy and go to your library (or anywhere else) instead, when you need to study and when you need to be concentrated/focused. Do not be set off after initial hardship but continue on your journey against fighting off your laziness.

    If you really want a solution: Turn off your TV & computer, disconnect from the internet, turn off your mobile phone for some days. You will notice that you procrastinate less (as you have nothing else left that diverts your attention). From this point onwards you will be capable to fight your laziness and the issue with procrastinating.

    What is intended by this is that you become so bored (as there is nothing left that could allow you to procrastinate) you will eventually end up doing the things you need to do, i.e. studying, etc. Turn off the TV and computer, stick to this decision and you will see laziness and procrastination will reduce drastically.

    Secondly, it’s important to seek for the root cause of your laziness and lack of productiveness. Is it a new tool or something else that suddenly came into your life (TV, smartphone, video game, computer, internet, app, leisure activity, friendship, relationship, family) and that distracts you in any shape or form? Or a new mindset, a new opinion, perspective? There is something that somehow withholds you, that draws you back. Find it and eliminate it. If necessary, throw away or hide your television cable, internet cable, console, etc. Be radical. In general it can be helpful to turn off your television and any other digital distractions for a while (say some weeks) so that you get so bored that there is literally nothing interesting left than studying and preparing assignments (this one is very powerful!).

    Hope that helps.

    • vibhor (Reply) on May 3, 2013

      thankx sir i will follow your steps n studying hard seriously n overcome from this fobia………

  23. Lana20 (Reply) on May 11, 2013

    HI Steve,
    Thank you for your article it is truly an eye opener. I need further advice. I was an A student most of highschool and in the first few semesters of college. In medical school now I am barely passing and everytime i know i have applied myself fully but get a failing grade I am not motivated to study or continue. I become depressed and just saturate myself in monotous activities in my room. Becoming a physician is all i have ever wanted to do and my parents are supportive emotionally and financially. Even though they don’t say it so its probably a burden on them when i keep failing. Am now in 4th yr of 5year program and the cycle continues and I dont know where to look. I wrote down the goals, why i want to pursue studies time and time again. recently i wrote what are the distraction and eliminate them when i go to study (internet, tv,ph,boyfriend) now I find that sleep happens almost immediately when I open the books or I read and do not recall a thing! Please advise.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on May 12, 2013

      Hi Lana, great that you took all the steps you’ve outlined in your post! That’s indeed a very good beginning and a necessary part to the solution. Now the good thing is that you have already completed 3 or 4 years of your studies, which means that you only have a short period of time (1/2 years) left studying. This is the final spurt and yes, it can be very exhausting. Focus on your goal of becoming a physician (= finish line) and try to stay focused and motivated for the last meters that are left on your course of studies.

      It seems to me that the biggest issue you face at the moment is that you get drowsiness while studying and the problem of not recalling the things you’ve studied. Maybe you’re a little bit overburdened at the moment (understandably after 4 years of intensive studying), additionally it seems that you’re placing a high burden on your shoulders as you’re not satisfied with your grades. It’s important to break through this habit. If you find yourself in the room engaging in monotonous activities stop them instantly. If you find yourself getting tired or mental drowsiness when opening a book go immediately outside, catch some fresh air and do something that gets you energized and pumped up. So basically, it’s important to break these negative habits and to return to your positive habits when you were an A student.

      If possible, take some time off from studying, charge your batteries and then return to your studies more focused and energized than ever. Focus on getting away this mental cloudiness. Also, take the burden you have placed on your shoulders away. If you get a couple of B’s in your exams, well, that’s not really that dramatic. Once you’ve worked for 3-5 years as a physician people will matter most about your abilities and skills, not about your grades.

  24. aakash2 (Reply) on May 26, 2013

    i Know all the above steps and tried hard but i am not able to keep my promises that i do with my self as i will not watch the tv .so thus for at-lest 15 mins than i Continue with some other distraction and other thinks ….
    i also think that the habit of watching p 0 r n has decay me i am not able to control that …and when i study it goes around in my mind thus diatracting an cycle of tv ,computer ,tv goes on ???the main thing that i feel is i am not able to obey my self plz reply fast …..

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on May 29, 2013

      Hi Aakash, it’s a matter of eliminating the distractions that keep you from studying effectively. I think you have great potential that is unused as you apply it in an inefficient manner without making a use of it for studying. What helped me in reducing distracting factors was the move to a place where there was no digital distraction at all. You could go to the library of your university, leave your smartphone/mobile/tablet/notebook/netbook/etc at home and then study. Study throughout the whole day, have some dinner after a given period of time and then continue studying. You will see that the longer you are “disconnected” from everything, the less painful it will be. The first day you might miss out all the status updates etc., but the next day you’ll notice that your mind gets clearer and clearer. Also its important that you learn to control your thoughts (meditation can help with this one) so that only thoughts arise that you want to arise and that you only ponder about thoughts that you want to ponder about. It’s all about mental strength and the stronger you get the easier it will be to avoid distracting thoughts in any way shape or form.

  25. Me (Reply) on Jun 6, 2013

    I don’t know what to do anymore.. I’ve always been a good student but now I’m slacking off. I didn’t do anything for the whole year and its the most important year of my high school (well I’m junior but where I live we need to successed more this year) and there’re only two weeks of school left and my grades are really bad. The final exams count for a lot so if I REALLY try hard there’s still some hope to get up a bit, but knowing myself, I can’t study! I don’t know but I have all the flaws: procrastinating, concentration issues, etc. And I don’t have the habit of studying… Before when I was in lower grades I used to get good grades even without studying, but this year has been dramatic bc we’ve had so many exams and all it’s too tiring..
    My teachers, friends, parents, everyone says that I have potential because I don’t know I have a sharp brain I suppose, and if only I could actually study, I could have accomplished a lot, but I really don’t know how to I’ve tried everything but I end up giving up… Now I’m freaking out!

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Jun 7, 2013

      Ambitious goals require radical measures. And I think you have a fairly ambitious goal when you think that you can catch up the work of the whole year within two weeks. So if you’re really willing to take radical measures, continue reading.

      Eliminate distractions:

      First of all, get to a place where there are zero distractions. Any place where you will not be distracted under any circumstances. The nearest library would be excellent for that. Lock up your computer, smartphone, tablet, mobile phone (etc.) and throw the key away, because the next two weeks you will only do the following three things: sleeping, studying and eating. Sit down at the library and study. If concentration issues arise, continue to study. If you start to procrastinate, will yourself to direct your focus back on the subject. During the first days you might feel slightly uncomfortable, but you’ll be surprised at the workload you get done when there is nothing that distracts you. After the initial days you will become more focused, concentrated, etc.

      I wish you good luck. These two weeks might be really exhausting, but it’s worth it if you succeed.

  26. silverteg (Reply) on Jun 10, 2013

    Hi steve,

    Your article was very inspiring so I decided to tell you my issues. I also have laziness, distraction, motivation, no purpose issues as well. Being in the library is one of the most distracting places for me because I get distracted by the little noises people make around me (sniffing, coughing, throat clearing, laughing, sneezing etc) and I become self-conscious of the noises i make as well. This results in me, trying to read a paragraph in my textbook and i have to read the same paragraph like 2-3 times to get it into my head. When I’m not distracted, it goes in naturally without re-reading it. Maybe getting an earplug or listening to music on my Bose noise-cancelling headphones might help to shut away the sounds but still I feel I’m not tackling the actual issue of being distracted… And when I am distracted, not only can i not focus on studying but also I constantly cannot find a sitting position where my neck and back doesn’t feel strained (i have neck and back issues as well). However, when I’m watching a movie or TV, I don’t notice my neck or back soreness and it doesn’t feel bad either. I don’t know why but I end up getting fixated on trying to find the proper neck posture that makes my neck more relaxed so I can focus but for some reason when i’m trying to straightening my neck and back properly it causes more soreness than when I’m hunched forward with terrible posture. So, the only place that I can focus is in a place where there is no one around at all that can distract me like my own house or room where I don’t have problems with posture too much even though it still is an issue but it is far away from my university. Traveling also de-motivates me, being on the train for over 45 minutes around distracting sounds and people. I could also play a game on my ipad to kill time but I cannot read or study on the train because it is a very distracting environment. Just thinking that I have to travel over an hour 6 days a week makes me feel dreadful and I feel like being lazy. During lectures or exams, I can somehow tolerate the distractions (since i got no choice) but when I’m self-studying i need to be away from distractions so I can be myself and naturally focus on what I’m reading and studying. In other words, I am extremely inefficient when I am distracted.

    Thats one problem. Another would be laziness. I am so distracted by my computer, internet, movies etc. so maybe shutting it away may be possible. But I CANNOT IMAGINE LIVING MY LIFE WITHOUT ANY SOURCE OF ENTERTAINMENT. Like how you said that just study, eat, and sleep….IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I might get soo bored that I will die of boredom. But on the other hand, I feel that if I were to eliminate all sources of distractions including entertainment then I will be able to study better. That is for sure.

    Also, I am plagued by not knowing what is my true interest in terms of career. I have been in university for over 9 years and taking courses and dropping out. I finally managed to get a few credits last year but i wasn’t consistent in my performance so I did not do that well EXCEPT FOR MY CALCULUS Course where I got over an 85% grade. I seem to be able to handle math pretty well. BASICALLY, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO FOR MY CAREER. I JUST KNOW I DON’T WANT TO DO A DEAD-END JOB.

    I believe in my potential to succeed as long as I can commit myself to a program, be able to consistently do my daily tasks of studying, not get distracted by my environment so i can focus, not procrastinate, and know that this is the study which will get me into the type of career i want. I was considering Electrical Engineering but it seems like a very rigorous program and I am quite frankly intimidated by it. But I believe it would be something intriguing to me, dealing with things like renewable energy biomedical devices etc. I guess finding what I really want is important to me. It has been something I have not been able to figure out. More precisely, I would say that I have been so lazy and de-motivated that I did not take even the slightest amount of time to google search the different types of career and possibilities.

    This is quite a long summary of what issues I am facing but it is something I believe I have to overcome. What can you recommend Steve?

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Jun 11, 2013

      Hi Silverteg, wow great that you described your situation in detail as it helps me to approach your problem a lot more individualistic!

      I think your whole problem boils down to attentiveness issues. You seem to have a difficulty in focusing on something that you aren’t interested in. While you cannot focus on your study material, random influences seem to distract you so much that your attention span breaks entirely.

      Now lets focus on ways to strengthen your attention by means of training your mind.

      First of all, let’s eliminate all the distracting influences. As the library isn’t your thing find a room where no person will distract you. It’s important that you create from now on a space that is free from distractions BEFORE studying. It’s okay if you do not want to relinquish your smartphone, movies, internet, etc. but as long as you study make sure that they will not lead you into temptation. Before you start studying close your eyes for a moment and try to calm your mind down for 3-5 minutes.

      Next thing is nutrition. Do you drink a lot of sodas with caffeine, coffee or do you eat a lot of processed foods? These things will certainly reduce your attention span, as you become a lot more nervous which increases your willingness to be distracted by external influences.

      Okay. Another thing that is important is that you will yourself that nothing distracts you during the time you’ve scheduled for studying. Even if something painfully tries to capture your attention (e.g. beeping smartphone) remain focused on studying until you’ve accomplished every task. This will help you in remaining your focus without continuously having to think your way into the subject.

      During your train rides, make use of your great headphones and allow nothing to divert your focus. Don’t follow your instincts to look up or outside, but remain on your subject. If nervousness, mental fogginess and distractions start to increase close your eyes, breathe deeply, exhale all your thoughts and get into your new routine of calming your mind.

      I can’t write more as I have problems in my right arm at the moment. Sorry.

  27. silverteg (Reply) on Jun 10, 2013

    Also in regards to TV, movies, internet being a distraction, once I start it, I CANNOT STOP. Or more accurately, I CHOOSE to not stop….I am having a very difficult type managing and controlling my actions based on the way I feel. Like for example, if I had an argument with my parents, then it would put me in a foul mood and make me want to throw away my study and just lay back and eat something really good or watch some TV or movie or game to make me feel better.

    Not being able to control my actions based on my emotions is not easy.

  28. 7aydarppks (Reply) on Jul 13, 2013

    hey steve…
    for me i think i have the biggest problem in my life…i am in 3rd class of elecitical engineering college,i failed last year and this year i didnot pass yet…
    i am the worst student in the class,,i am so lazy about the studying,,,every time i try to study,,after 10 min i drop the book…
    even the college teachers Surprised about me coz in the class iam sooo Reactant with them but when i return to home i does not study at all so i fail at every exam…
    i was very good student in the high school,all i want now to get graduated by any way passible…
    i am very dreamer guy,i dream all time and thinking when i will graduate i will buy (motorcycle) and being happy,,because of thinking i become numb till i forget my college…
    pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease help me to get motivated to sucseed agin and being successful coz i am sure of one thing about my self (i am not loser,i am very strong mind)

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Jul 14, 2013

      Hi 7aydarppks. have you tried to implement the techniques that are described in the article? There is soo much helpful information in there that should get you motivated.

  29. Anto (Reply) on Sep 7, 2013

    Hi Steve,
    Great article, lovely website. I have always been a great student, and I decided to go back to Uni after 10 years and I struggled my first semester but did pretty well. I have started a relationship and it has started to drain me and affect me emotionally and Im very distracted, my levels of concentration are very low, I just cant retain and get very anxious. I think I know the answer to this,,,,what would you advise? I would feel devastated if i fail my studies after so much sacrifice to get back to uni and and I really love challenges.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Sep 8, 2013

      Hi Anto, in general I would recommend you to stop doing what hurts you and to try to reduce distractions. So maybe if your relationship is not a fruitful and supportive one you might want to think about making a cut. However, that decision can only be taken by yourself.

      The other idea would be to train your mind, for instance via various forms of meditation or concentration exercises, so that you can increase your concentration and reduce the influence of distractions.

  30. Anto (Reply) on Sep 8, 2013

    Hello Steve,,
    Great article.
    I have been always been a great student but have started a relationship a couple of months ago and my studies have started to deteriorate,,,I cant focus very well,,Im very distracted, Im very unmotivated to study as I think Im getting drained with relationship. I just cant get focus and retain, and Im procastinating a lot. Any advice? thanks so much

  31. Shushi (Reply) on Sep 10, 2013

    Hello Sir..
    I want you to know how much I’m thankful with this article. I was like crying because I did not do good in my previous exams. Oh, how many times should I undergo too much failures to become better than before. When I read your article, it gave me another spark to get up and do the the right thing. I learned that as a person, I shall stay motivated no matter what happens and motivation comes on how I am really determined to become successful in my goals..Thanks a lot Sir..You helped me keep the fire burning.. GOD Bless you more..You yourself is an inspiration to me..Continue to become a blessing to others.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Sep 11, 2013

      Thanks Shushi, it’s great to hear that. Thanks again for your feedback. Keep the fire burning and rock the tests :-)

  32. Nithin (Reply) on Sep 17, 2013

    I have backpapers in my Engineering degree. Its been 3 years since I passed out. Please motivate me to clear my backlogs. I cant study these days. I am wasting alot of time at computer and internet. If I cant clear this year, I cant do it ever..

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Sep 19, 2013

      Hi Nithin, stop wasting time at the computer and internet. Switch it off, don’t turn it on and study.

  33. He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned (Reply) on Oct 8, 2013

    I understand what’s being suggested by my problem is not only getting started but finishing. That, and procrastinating. I’m in my Junior year of college and have procrastinated for every test in my Freshman and Sophomore years and despite how torturous it was to stay up late or get an hour or two sleep before I had to wake up for school, I still do it. I can play video games for hours but struggle to stay focused to read a few lecture slides.

    If something is interesting to me, I can devote hours and hours of time to it and not feel like it’s a burden. The problem is nothing course related interests me! Any basic tips on how to make something interesting?

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Oct 9, 2013

      If you don’t really develop an interest in your subject, no tricks will do. But maybe excessive video game playing & watching TV for hours have an influence on that, too. Compared to these two, nearly all subjects in school and university seem boring. Maybe try to reward yourself with a gaming sesson only after studying for a couple of hours.

  34. priyanka (Reply) on Nov 10, 2013

    hey steve…the things u have written are awesome….helped me a lot with my problem of procastination….it has again ignited the spark within me to reach my dream through hard work nd not by merely depending on fate or external motivation…now i m self motivated…thnx a lot!

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 10, 2013

      HI Priyanka, that sounds really good! I’m happy the text has helped you to ignite the spark of motivation within you!

  35. chitra (Reply) on Nov 12, 2013

    hey steve have done a great job here but i want your help in my case I procastinate my studies a lot .whenever i sit to study a particular subject i have a book and after sometime i think that this book is not enough i should study this topic from another book and eventually it comes to my mind that i am not studying it well and because of all these thoughts i quit that subject and start watching tv and when next time i think to study, these thoughts that “i dont know how to study?” ,”what i am studying is not sufficient” they occured to me and i procastinate it .Please help me

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 14, 2013

      Hi Chitra, studying is not about readying as many books as you possibly can. It’s about reading and memorizing the right parts that are relevant for your exam! Create a summary of the most important aspects of the particular book/script and then study that! And make it a habbit to never quit. You always have a choice but once you start watching TV you’ll be so lazy you won’t even start studying again at this day.

  36. anusha (Reply) on Nov 21, 2013

    i am doing my masters all my friends are very good at studies, all will do nice projects and get good marks .but i m not good in studies if i start studing i will get sleep even for exams last movement i will realize .so what should i do

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 23, 2013

      Hi Anusha, have you already read the article?

  37. Sukii (Reply) on Dec 22, 2013

    Hey Steve, that is a great article you wrote in there with some really valuable tips. I see that you’re really good at advising for study related problems, and I would really appreciate if you can help me out with my problem too. So the thing is its almost been 2 years now that my results have been falling down and right now I am a high school senior with my finals starting from 1st march and after that I have to appear in tons of entrance exams too which will continue on their own like till September next year if they go all good. But what’s bothering me is that i just cant focus on studies anymore. I get distracted a lot because of internet too (I literally have wasted myself since last year on it to be very honest). And looking at how my results have fallen breaks my heart too but its like i just cant focus or get serious about studies anymore, nor can i concentrate well. What breaks my heart is that people have high hopes on me and I cant get my priorities straight and my ambitions in life have seemed to fade away too. My family believes i will make them proud and stuffs you know, because I used to be a valedictorian till 10th grade. Everything changed ever since I got into 11th grade, my results have fallen just way too much and from the class topper i sometimes rank lowest in some exams. Well that all happened because of some incidents that took place in my school it negatively effected me and it came out in my results in 11th grade but now i really think i have cleared up my mind from all that and its like the last moment, i figured out i cant focus or concentrate well anymore and get way too overwhelmed sometimes. Right now it’s like a part of me really wants to study with all its breath and being and create a good future for itself because my senior year results really matter in building up my future and college; and there’s this other side which has got lazy, is non-serious, cant concentrate and focus on studies anymore and this part seems to be dominating over me from a while now. I just really want to get out of this and study with everything else properly till its my finals. I just really want to graduate highschool with amazing marks and ace the finals this time. I just need to do it to prove to myself (and others) and to keep my promise i have given to certain people too. There’s not much time remaining for me so i really need to bring changes within me and utilize as much time i can because its really important for me. I am sorry if its way too long. But if you can give me some tips which i can work upon and would help me out over this issue, I would really appreciate it.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Dec 23, 2013

      Hi Sukii,

      from what I read there are two major issues that one should address, as they seem to mentally block you from doing the best you can in your studies:

      First is the distraction problem, as you write that you get distracted and find it difficult to focus your attention (something that is crucial for studying). Ambitious goals require radical measures.

      First of all, lets work on the concentration issue. When you get up in the morning eat some breakfast etc. (without turning on the computer, smartphone, tablet, mobile phone (etc.)). After finishing breakfast I would recommend you to start studying, while your mind is fresh. Do not allow for any distractions UNTIL you finished studying. This means that you will only turn to the internet once your study-goal for the day is accomplished. Furthermore, I would recommend you to start meditation-exercises to train your mind on concentration!

      Or else you could get to a place where there are zero distractions. Any place where you will not be distracted under any circumstances. The nearest library would be excellent for that. Lock up your computer, smartphone, tablet, mobile phone (etc.) and throw the key away, because the rest of your study-week you will only do the following three things: sleeping, studying and eating. Sit down at the library and study. If concentration issues arise, continue to study. If you start to procrastinate, will yourself to direct your focus back on the subject. During the first days you might feel slightly uncomfortable, but you’ll be surprised at the workload you get done when there is nothing that distracts you. After the initial days you will become more focused, concentrated, etc.

      The second issue seems to be related to the fact that you put yourself under a lot of pressure, be it by taking up the burden of promising others

      The other part to the challenge you face is (in my opinion) that you put yourself under a lot of pressure which is not beneficial. The following years might be very important to you, but it does not help to put too much pressure on your shoulders so to speak. Try to calm yourself down and make yourself clear that it is an honor and privilege that you can study. (Think about the people who would really like to get an education but have no chance to get one at all). Don’t put yourself under too much pressure and try to relieve yourself of the burden that other people seem to place on your shoulders. In the end, you’re only accountable to yourself and no one else!

      • Sukii (Reply) on Dec 23, 2013

        Hey Steve,
        First of all thank you so much for replying. I am going to try my very best to work upon all the things you stated above since its now or never. I really hope i can put the very best and work hard before the right time to do all this passes by. I really don’t want to regret in future over all this as like you said, I would be responsible for my own actions and no one else. Regarding the pressure from keeping my promises to others, it’s over giving my very best at academics because they think i have a lots of potential and i can do something with my life rather than just staying alive for the sake of living. In the past it used to have a positive impact on me knowing there are people who gear me up allowing me to give my very best. I really dont know since when it turned up into stress and pressure. I know that too but i ended up losing my track in between and haven’t been able to put my energy in the right direction. All the time i tried to justify it with reasons but now i realize that all that is going to end up as mere excuses since this is what life is about and justifying everything with excuses wont get me anywhere in future. For now i really want to bring chances within me and somehow ignite up the feeling of badly wanting to achieve my goals i once used to have. I am really going to try my best work upon everything you said and hope to get comfortable with them soon. Like you said not to reward myself till i achieve my study goals kept for the day. For that would you suggest me to make a time schedule for everyday assigning equal time to each subject each day or just having a mere list of goals for the day would do? P.S that i have tried working with a time schedule earlier but whenever i aint able to finish the topics in the in the assigned time i had planned, i end up getting disheartened and rest of the time schedule end up seeming like some big blunder and just doesnt even work out anymore but whenever i am able to finish them on time, it sometimes gears me up in such a way that i feel like my brain is working better i finish up the topics earlier than the assigned time (though those days are really rare since from months my study pattern has all been a mess like i told you earlier. Would you suggest something for that?

  38. Iram (Reply) on Dec 28, 2013

    Hi Steve ,

    I m a teenager. I have much emotion also. I have a girl friend. The problem is that i want to read but many thinking come to my mind when i sit for reading . Specially i cant read if she is not happy . I mean if she does not remain happy. She want to get message from me all time.She want that we will chat all the day.She also does not try to understand that i cant read like this. And when i sit for reading my mind also want to send a message to her , to chat with her. What can i do now ? I understand that i need to study but i can’t . What should i do now ? plz give me suggestion how can i modivate myself…

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Dec 30, 2013

      Hi Iram, there might be a way: learn to focus and concentrate. Train your mind via meditation. Learn to focus on single thought/activity.

  39. Steve Mueller (Reply) on Oct 26, 2014

    From a recent email that I replied to. I hope someone can benefit from it.

    First of all, don’t worry! I don’t think you are depressed or stressed. You are just a normal human being fighting with the issues of life.

    When looking at your situation I see two major issues that seem to get you into trouble. The first issue is that you, as you have written, seem to have prolonged doing the tasks that you needed to do. You write that you haven’t submitted some of the papers at all. Now, I will not focus too much on this issue because we cannot change it anymore and it won’t be beneficial for your present situation. But please be aware that this is a major problem and that you could be in a much better situation now if you managed back then to do all the tasks that were asked of you. Think of it like a disease. Most people try to fight the symptoms (in your case being under pressure because of your deadlines) instead of trying to discover the cause of the problem (in your case prolonging the fulfillment of necessary tasks). Please consider working on this problem with all your energy as soon as possible.

    But now to the second issue that you are currently facing. I will try to provide you to solutions, the first one being a quick fix solution, where is the second one a possible solution for the long run.

    The quick solution might help you for the next weeks, that seem to be really important for you. But after that the problem might starts to arise again and again so the quick solution is really just for this present moment not for the long run. Ambitious goals require radical measures. And I think you have a fairly ambitious goal when you think that you can catch up the work of a couple of semesters within several weeks. But you can make it if you really want it.

    First of all, get to a place where there are zero distractions. Any place where you will not be distracted under any circumstances. The nearest library would be excellent for that. Lock up your computer, smartphone, tablet, mobile phone (etc.) and throw the key away, because the next weeks you will only do the following three things: sleeping, studying and eating. Sit down at the library and study. If concentration issues arise, continue to study. If you start to procrastinate, will yourself to direct your focus back on the subject. During the first days you might feel slightly uncomfortable, but you’ll be surprised at the workload you get done when there is nothing that distracts you. After the initial days you will become more focused, concentrated, etc.

    Basically, the point of all of this is that there is no chance for you to get distracted. And even if you would like to get some distraction there is no smart phone or Internet era available for you. And consider it this way, you have some weeks left that might decide about your future. Do you really want to say in 10 years that you needed to stop studying because you will lacked the will power to say no to all the entertaining articles websites movies etc.?

    That was for the short run. But in the long run you might want to consider the way you use media. Most people in this age use media without a second thought. They switch on the TV, login to the Internet, do this and do that without even thinking about it. And if you do not think about it the negative effects of it might not even become aware to you. But as you notice in your own life, it decreases your attention span, not to mention that your willpower decreases. If you want to continue this path you will have to work on increasing your attention span and your will. Your attention is necessary to stay focused and on topic, whenever there is a certain task for you to do. Your willpower is required whenever you get bored and want to switch to another more entertaining activity. Strengthen your will and you will soon notice that you always always always have the choice between working and something more pleasurable. And just in this situation you will have to force yourself to stay on your task until it is completed. After that you can reward yourself with some distraction or media usage.

    I hope that helps for the moment and remember, you have a couple of weeks so give everything that you have in order to succeed.


  40. Steve Mueller (Reply) on Oct 26, 2014

    Also from a very recent email that I responded to. Again if someone is facing similar issues about blackouts I hope this helps you.

    Anyways, if you are confronted with a blackout I might be able to help you. I also experienced blackouts where I wasn’t able to bring anything down onto the paper. I noticed that this problem was two-faced, firstly it was a result of being too nervous and anxious. Secondly, it was also a manifestation of the problem that I did not study properly. I wasn’t properly prepared for the exam. So if you want to solve your problem there are in my opinion two things that you will have to work on. Firstly your nervousness, secondly the way in which you prepare for the exam. Luckily enough, if you study more and prepare yourself properly and thoroughly for the exam you will not only be not so nervous anymore but you will also be better prepared to answer any question that comes up. As you can see your problem might be able to be addressed by an improved preparation for the exam.

    You write that you study well. Maybe you will have to address this point. Maybe you will have to prepare for the exam so well that you can answer everything and anything automatically. The more you repeat and the more you study the easier it will get for you to cite everything as it is mentioned in your course book. And once have reached this level you will find it a lot easier to answer the questions in the exam than before.

    I hope this helps and I hope you will give it a try; try to prepare yourself as massively and thoroughly for only one exam to see if it’s an issue with the right preparation and to see if it works.

  41. rajas (Reply) on Oct 29, 2014

    Hi steve..
    Im not able to focus on studies even if i want to.. my all frnds are achieving something.. but i just keep on roaming..having parties..drinks..etc.. i suddenly wake up in the middle of night..nd im extremely scared of my future… plz plz help me out.. i literally cry sometimes but im not t all able to focus.. my main distraction are my friends as well my smartphone… please help me out..

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Oct 30, 2014

      Hi Rajas,

      I think there might be a solution to your problem of being scared of the future. Now the thing is this, I believe you are afraid of the future because you are not doing enough to secure your future. Instead, you try to distract yourself as good as you can from having to sort out your future. Partying, drinks, friends and smart phones are your distractors. So why don’t you try to get a healthy balance between leisure time and working time for your studies. Try to reward yourself when you studied well with some pleasurable leisure time. But on the other hand, if you did not do anything for your studies, you should also not go out. If you don’t work you will not get a reward. If you can get this mindset, then this might be the first step to solving your problem.

      I hope you already notice that by becoming more active and doing more for your university, you will also rapidly decrease your anxiety of the future. Because once you did everything you can for your studies there might not be much fear left. Again, it’s all about the right balance. I believe at the moment you’re not balanced which causes your problem. Once you get the right balance between partying and studying given the highly benefit from it.

  42. marlonski (Reply) on Oct 31, 2014

    hello steve mueller,

    i frankly have a problem, i used a boardexam in my career, then i fail 3times, previous year in 2012 i fail once and i try again in 2013 i fail twice. so total i fail in board exam for my career is 3 times. and now this 2014 i will try again and i dont know if i pass or failed. my schedule in exam this coming agust 14 and 15, 2014. my worries is i hope not to fail in 4th times boardexam. my question is this. if there is chance to pass the board examination for 4th times. But have only 12 days left for study and motivation. if there is a chance to pass my examination in 12 days study and can you help me what i will do for this remaining 12 days to study before my exam on nov.14 and 15. thank you and i wait for your reply in my email add attach above.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Oct 31, 2014

      Sent you an email.

  43. prasanna (Reply) on Nov 1, 2014

    hi steve,
    I completed my BTech this year i tried to get placed in the campus but i couldn’t because i didnt prepare well.While studying i m unable to concentrate on subject inspite of that i am remembering music,dance and some unnecessary thing about past and future which will not happen in the real. I can concentrate maximin of 10 min …i dont know what to do.???please help me .

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 1, 2014

      Hi Prasanna,

      The question is what distracts you so much that you cannot concentrate longer than 10 minutes. There could be a vast array of different causes ranging from nutrition i.e. too much caffeine up to an unhealthy usage of electronic media. If you want to solve your problem I think the first step will be to analyze what causes you to be unable to concentrate. If you drink coffee and cola throughout the whole day it might be a reason. Another reason could be that you are constantly bombarded with external information from all different kinds of media, such as the Internet, your smart phone, music and television. Once you have discovered what it is you can work on it in order to remove it or reduce its effect on your awareness. From this step onwards I would suggest that you try to concentrate and study for 15 minutes. After you have reached this force itself to study for 20 minutes. Go on and increase this time span day after day until you learn to concentrate for a longer time.

      But notice also that you should try to get rid of all kinds of distractions while studying. There should be nothing that distracts you. And you will quickly see if there’s nothing that can distract you your concentration and motivation to study will increase.

  44. Ritika (Reply) on Nov 11, 2014

    Hi Steve
    This is Ritika , I am pursuing MBBS and still have 1.5years to complete degree. Right now my problem is my university exams are coming up for that I am preparing usually I sit in college library from 8.30 am to 3pm then it takes me 1.30 hour to reach back home. After that I have all time free. But my brain is not in position to absorb anything, mentally I feel exhausted and that’s why I find myself procrastinating . I want to increase time and give some extra hours for study. What to do in such case.
    P.S I am not an early riser I have tried 1000s of times but I cannot wake up early in the morning but yeah its easy for me to remain awake till 4 or 5 in morning without any difficulty . I just need help to schedule my time properly and thats what I am lacking in managing time.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 11, 2014

      Hi Ritika, I will get back to you at the weekend, as I don’t have much time at the moment.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 13, 2014

      Hi Ritika,

      It seems to me that you are some sort of an “evening person” – someone who peaks performance during the late hours of the night. This could be the reason why you have such great difficulties focusing your mind in the morning. Consider it this way, you are trying to work during the time where your body and mind need relaxation (in the morning) and you are spending your leisure time during that time of the day where your mind is ready to work hard. Have you therefore considered studying at night? I know a lot of people do because they are not fond of being an early riser and they also enjoy the quietness that the night provides.

      Another way to tackle the problem is that you try your best to alleviate the mental sluggishness you feel during the morning hours. You could for instance run up a couple of stairs before entering your library, in order to get your pulse to the maximum. Whenever I feel that my mind drifts of and starts to procrastinate or becomes tired, I always try to do some physical activity just for a couple of minutes so that fresh blood floods my brain.

      The alternative to this is that you simply try everything you can to go to bed more earlier. This will help you in getting up in the early morning more easily and might help you in being more alert during the morning. Basically, this alternative requires you to develop a natural balance of your sleeping time, so that you get enough sleep and can get up more easily in the morning.

  45. Aayush Jaiswal (Reply) on Nov 15, 2014

    Hii name is aayush jaiswal.

  46. Aayush Jaiswal (Reply) on Nov 15, 2014

    Hii name is aayush jaiswal. Help me sir please otherwise life….pls help me 9899891452

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 15, 2014

      Sure but how?

  47. vamsi krishna (Reply) on Nov 16, 2014

    sir i am a very brilliant student….but now a days i am not able to concentrate on my studies properly…………i get distracted very easily…..i am in my 11th grade sir….can u even give me suggetions on how to develop time management skills

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 16, 2014

      Let’s focus on the concentration issue first. You didn’t go into detail as to what leads you to procrastinate or what distracts you from studying. But in general, it is important that you identify what it is and that you try to eliminate this source of distraction. Is it your smart phone? The Internet? Television? Or some kind of emotional things? Private issues? Whatever it is identify it and solve it. This means that when you notice that your smart phone distracts you from studying, then by all means look at the way for the time you study. If your relationship distracts you try it to emotionally sorted out before you study so that you have clear mind and so that you can focus during your study.

      The next thing you can do in order to increase your ability to concentrate is to work on your willpower. You write that you get distracted very easily. But in fact, the reality is that you are willing to get distracted quite easy. Whether or not you get distracted is always your choice and at the moment it seems you always make the choice that you want to get distracted. So you can work on this issue by keeping attention to distractors. Whenever something arises that has the potential to distract you, make it a bold statement that it is not allowed to distract you at this moment. Let’s say you study and just smart phone gives you a notification that you have received and message. Naturally, you will be inclined to open the message and immediately, you get distracted. On the other hand, if you tell yourself my smart phone must not distract me at this moment, it will be easier for you to ignore to the distraction.

      That means, if something comes up that starts distract you will yourself to ignore it and will yourself to continue studying. In the beginning this might be difficult, but you will see that you get more experienced and make quick progress.

      As to time management skills, this is also a question of will power. What I would recommend is to develop some kind of a study plan and then to exercise it thoroughly.

  48. vamsi krishna (Reply) on Nov 16, 2014

    and also sir….can u tell me whether a good diet plan is necessary for concentration or not

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 16, 2014

      Yes it is! Your nutrition will play a large role in whether you are able to concentrate or not. I have made the experience that people who drink a lot of cola has great difficulties at focusing, which might be a result of the combination of a lot of sugar and a lot of caffeine. But also your food can influence your concentration, think about how it feels when you eat a very heavy meal: you become sluggish, tired and your mind starts to drift off as a result of your body trying to digest the fatty meal. On the other hand if you eat light foodstuffs and exercise regularly the concentration will be better.

  49. Shruti (Reply) on Nov 17, 2014

    hello sir
    i am a chartered accountancy(ca) student. I am not being able to concentrate on my studies from a very long time. I have given 4 Attempt at intermediate level and presently giving my 5th attempt. I do not study at all before exam but just 1 or 2 days before exam i can focus very well. I guess i can study only in exam pressure. I have another exam on 23 Nov and that for me is the hardest subject but i know if could just concentrate now i can do go in that exam. I will be very glad if u could help me sir?

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 17, 2014

      Hello Shruti,

      Concentration is like a muscle, you have to train it regularly, otherwise it becomes redundant. And once it isn’t exercised often, one feels as if one simply cannot focus and concentrate. But that’s no problem, because you can start training your concentration at any point in time. Basically, concentration has a lot to do with willpower. Because you have to will yourself to focus and you have the make it a bold statement that nothing is permitted to distract you. This is the first side of concentration, making sure that nothing distracts you. The other side of concentration is that you exercise it regularly. This means that once you start studying you could try it to increase the time you are fully focused on your studies always a little bit more.The first day you focus yourself 100% for about an hour, the next day for about an hour and 15 minutes and so on.

      The next aspect about concentration is that you eliminate distractions as good as you can. This means that you should turn off your smart phone television Internet or music. Maybe it can help you to simply meditate for 10 minutes before you start studying. This might help you to ease your mind and to get focused.

      Now the next problem, you write that you only study one or two days before an exam. Now what I would recommend is that you set yourself a given timeframe, let’s say two weeks, before an exam. And once you have reached the point where your exam is only two weeks left you could start studying. This method could be quite beneficial for you because you start to Develop a study plan. Having a plan might help you in starting earlier with your studies, and it might also help you to alleviate the problem that you can only study under exam pressure.

  50. Shruti (Reply) on Nov 17, 2014

    Thank u. It is a great help to me.
    but i have made plans before too but not being able to implement it effectively.. Thats something i try to overcome but always end up doing nothing. Can u Help in this area please?

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 18, 2014

      Ah I see now where the problem is. Good that you mention it because now I have a new idea. When you set yourself goals and making plans it is very important that you have some kind of higher motive behind it. This means that you must have some kind of motivation that increases your desire to study. For some students this might be the possibility of finding a good job, so they will give everything they can to perform better at university. Other people could simply motivate themselves by setting a very very desirable reward, that they will only receive when they perform well and implement their plan.

      So in your situation, making a plan might not be enough. You have to find something to reward yourself for implementing the plan. Something that you want so badly that it will push you to your maximum. Something that keeps you going and keeps you going. Maybe this approach could help you to better implement your plans effectively.

      If you want, you can try this method. It can be tremendously effective if you use it right. I hope this helps you, but please feel free to ask further if you need more help.