How to Get Motivated to Study

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The ability to get motivated to study can have a very positive effect on a student’s study levels and grades. A motivated student will find it easier to go the extra mile and do all the necessary tasks that need to be done to assure success. The right motivation will 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!


Effective motivation techniques for students

How to become motivated to study?

I. The motivational power of having a goal!

A very powerful motivational technique 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. However, the positive effect that a gratification can have on your motivation to study is stupendous. Hence I have no other choice other 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 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 a long time. 

Never stop learning

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. If you were not able to reach the objective as determined you will not get a reward. 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. You might have to force yourself, but it is worth it.

“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? That’s simple. Forcing yourself 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 studying 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-consuming method of studying, and a direct result of prolonging. 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. 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.


Strategies for motivating yourself to study

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 a 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?

It always seems impossible until it's done.

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.

Don't complain; just work harder.

I hope the above mentioned motivation techniques Have helped you to understand 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.


About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. Steve says that this world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty.


  1. sir i m still havin problem wid studies i dono wats wrong wid me..if u cn plz try to contact me it ill be really help full my financial background is also not good buh i hav the potential..jst need some boasting..

    • Hi Nihar, nothings wrong with you! You just need to overcome your weaker self, step outside the comfort zone, get up and do something about it. I’m not sure if you are struggling with getting motivated to study, or with bad marks, but in the end, you are the only one who can effectively motivate yourself! No one else will take that responsibility for you because they can’t. The strongest motivation comes from within, not external influences. Learn to become your own motivator that boosts your motivation, whenever needed. Develop your very own techniques to increase your motivation – be creative, you know exactly what could spur you – and then use it for your motivational benefit.

      • Dear sir

        i fell in love and this went very well for more than a year time , we agreed upon not to meet each other until i complete my degree . we both loved each other but her parents forced her to get married . so she got married on 3rd feb 2012 and left me alone , now i am the upset person ever :((

        i dont know how to handle this situation .. she always promised that she is mine and will never ever leave me alone but what is this ??? :((

        i am writing to you so that you can guide me because i am unable to live and study :((
        even i can’t sleep properly :(((

        i will be waiting for your prompt reply !!

        Thank you so much


        • Wow, I guess I’m really not the right person for relationship advice.
          But, what would I do if my girlfriend had left me and I had to study for an exam? I think I would have first of all taken one day off from studying, so that I could get my emotions straight. One day just for sitting around (no TV, internet, other distractions, etc.), allowing myself some hours for grief and sadness. But also just time for myself to accept the situation, to realize that it cannot be changed, no matter how badly I would wish I could change it in any way. And to accept the fact that the relationship has ended. Allow yourself some time to really think about your present situation, but after some hours try to focus on the future – without your ex-girlfriend.

          You will realize that the least thing your ex wanted would be that you leave yourself in the lurch, without studying anymore, failing important exams. Do not ruin your future, just because a relationship has ended!

          The next day, before you study, sit yourself down, meditate for a while, and try to declutter your mind from any thoughts, especially thoughts concerning your ex-girl, and then: STUDY, and if your getting distracted by thinking about your girl: STUDY further, more and more. Don’t give up!

  2. I am doing my graduation of Computers.But I have to read other common engineering subject as well.I am frustated as I am finding them boring to.computers and they are necessary. What should I do

    • Well, you will have to read through those common engineering subjects if you want to finish your graduation of computers, right? That would also mean that if you choose to leave all the common engineering subjects out, you wouldn’t be able to graduate in the first place, making it impossible for you to continue on the computer related path you had envisioned for yourself, right?

      So, if you really want to do succeed in your graduation of computers, those engineering subjects are a means to an end, whether they interest you or not.

      I haven’t liked math ever since, but in one stage of my life, it all depended on this and some other boring subjects. I knew that if I wasn’t successful with math and those other rather dull subjects, I couldn’t take the path that I always wanted to go. Make yourself aware of this and see those engineering subjects as the means to an end, so that you can continue studying what you love most, computer science.

  3. This was a very good article. Even though I knew essentially all of this already, ( just lacked the motivation to put it into practice …lol) it was helpful to see it all layed out. The part that resonated with me was “just do it.” It’s not going to happen if I just sit there and wait for it too. Thanks so much! Now if you’ll exscuse me, I’m going to turn off my movie and go write a paper now!

  4. Steve, after listening to the 300 violin orchestra track a couple times, it suddenly hit me that it sounded really similar to Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell (also in the movie Requiem for a dream). Ripoff maybe?


    • I’m not an expert in that, but I think the 300 violin orchestra was composed by someone who is no composer at all. So there may be similarities to Clint Mansell’s song, but in some way or the other many songs have similar elements. I just know that 300 violin orchestra and lux aeterna are fantastic songs!

  5. Steve, thank you so much for this amazing article. Right now Im struggling with my studies because I have a hard time trying to concentrate, and I easily get bored after a couple of minutes, therefore I start to feel sleepy and sometimes I even fall asleep in the chair, it’s so frustrating. Then I wake up and it’s like 6 pm, and i still have left like 5 homeworks, a test, etc etc. I get pretty stressed and I end up going to bed at 3 am, and sometimes I can’t even finish everything I have to do. I would really aprecciate if you could help me with this issue. I’m a college student in a very hard university, and I really do not want to be kicked out just because I can’t concentrate enough.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hey Vannessa,

      I’m assuming that you have already eliminated distracting factors, such as TV, internet, mobile phones, telephones, etc., as advised in the article, right?

      Another step to get more concentrated, more focused is to keep an eye onto your nutrition. Do you drink a lot of coffee, soft-drinks or do you eat a lot of sugar or processed foods? Maybe this could be another aspect that keeps you from concentrating, as sugar, diet sodas, soft-drinks or food coloring are associated with hyperactivity (which equals distraction). Therefore, keep an eye onto what you are eating (lots of fruits, vegetables, etc.). A proper nutrition is half the battle. Also, drink bottled water or naturally cloudy apple juice, instead of sodas. The “purer” your nutrition, the less sugar, the less processed foods, the less caffeine and the less sodas, the better you will be able to focus and concentrate on a given topic. Caffeine pushes you for a while to be “more awake”, but after that period, you will get even more tired/exhausted.

      Thirdly, you write that you sometimes fall asleep in the chair, I think because you are exhausted. I felt similarly. I had a erratic sleep-pattern, spend a lot of nights partying, so therefore I was really tired the next day, in many times too exhausted to study – and if I tried to study, I simply could not concentrate. Therefore, it’s so important to get enough sleep! Keep a regular sleep schedule. For me personally, it works best if I do not sleep during the day at all, so I have enough time to get all my duties done and can go to bed in my regular schedule. If you’re really really really exhausted, make a 15-30 minute nap, but then start studying, without a compromise. If you notice yourself getting more and more tired while sitting in your chair, get up and walk around with your learning materials. Walk/jump around until you are no longer tired.

      The fourth aspect is to begin studying at an early time. Do you begin studying at the last moment, as many students do? For me, it works a lot better to study continuously, instead of waiting to the last possible moment.

      Fifth. Set yourself a deadline. Your time is limited, and I’m sure you do not want to study until 3am, so assign specific deadlines for each and everyone of your tasks. Keep the bigger picture in mind and schedule the most important tasks before less important ones. Sometimes, a tight deadline helps you to avoid to procrastinate.

  6. i want to get gud marks in first yr engineering…but i fell in 1st yr…my family gave me only one chance to succeed..what should i have to do…im so depressed…

  7. There are so many spelling and other grammatical errors in this article that I developed a pounding headache while reading it. Steve, go ahead and gratify yourself with an ice cream cone once you have learned how to write grammatically correct pieces of writing.

  8. Thank you for creating this article!
    I’ve been trying to encourage myself and set goals but I didn’t know how to develop the single foundation.
    I now know I need to develop consistency in order to develop better skills.

  9. Ingenious article! I’ve read hundreds of articles on the same subject and I can honestly say yours, sir, is by far the most useful.

    Cheers from Lebanon!

    P.S: The article deserves more comments.

    • Steve Mueller on

      Wow, thanks a lot for the feedback! I’m flattered.
      Keep up the good work with your cipheria-site at wordpress!

  10. This is an amazing article.
    Right now I’m reading it in the libreray of my college. I hope it will work for me asI’ve lost my motivation since this year was too difficult for me. IT feels good that I’m not the only one to face difficulties… there definitely are solutions…

  11. Amazing article Sir,it answers most of the questions that troubles our mind when we try to concentrae and study.
    But ,How really can we boost our dreams and effort for our long term goal,Sir?

    • Thanks! hm, that’s a difficult question. To achieve your long term goals you need a lot of motivation and endurance. Always make sure you are motivated, so that it keeps you focused on your goals.

  12. how can I avoid my bad habit – always sleepy when I open my book ? I’ve tried so many things like talk to myself to not sleep(motivate myself) and by listening to music but the frustrated thing is I end up sleeping :( thanks if you can help me

    • Here’s a suggestion that might help: try to have a lie-in or go to bed earlier, so that you aren’t tired the next day so you can focus your attention on studying, and not falling asleep!

    I just got a D for an assignment (first time in my life to get a D, v.disheartening)
    but i believe with these upcoming exams i can restore my faith in INVESTMENT and EFFORT.

  14. From London and Ashraf, you are both welcome!
    Thanks for stepping by and leaving your feedback! Glad I could help you!

  15. Hi Steve

    The thing that attracted me to this article is the third point that you mentioned – “Just get going”. Well, that very much worked for me, you see!..I’m not in an inertia anymore. Thanks a lot for being a catalyst in my educational journey..!!

  16. Hi Steve, in the first place I want to thank you for your excellent articles, I’ve just read a few so far but they’ve greatly helped me clear my mind, and despite there are no comment in some posts, believe all of us who read them appreciate your help.
    I’d also be thankful if you could give me advice: I’m starting college in less than a month but I feel I’m carrying big gaps of knowledge here and there, I believe that through study and effort I will reach everybody else’s academic level but I’m still hesitant about it, do you think I will be able to accomplish this goal? how should I face this failure?
    Thanks in advance, keep up the great work!

    • Steve Mueller on

      Hi Ana, first of all, thank you very much for your very nice comment! Regarding your problem: I was facing the very same problem as you do now. I had the choice to fill the gaps of knowledge as good as possible or to take things as they come. I chose the latter and I quickly realized that most of the stuff (especially in math and statistics) was completely new to me, which meant I had to invest some time to understand it properly one way or the other. The point I’m trying to make is that you will always be confronted with things that are entirely new to you and subjects in which you have no foreknowledge.

      But really, only you know what kind of gaps you have and if these gaps need to be filled before college starts! If your studies cover material that is heavily based on the subjects you have gaps in, you should by all means try to fill those gaps. Remember that if you do not fill these gaps now you will most likely have to put more effort into studying later.

      If I were you, I would enjoy the last month as much as possible in order to refuel energy.

  17. sir how can i concentrate in my studies as my love has left me bcoz of family problems, i love her very much, and wanted to marry her, all my dreams fails but i want to become a company secratary, i want to study but affraid and deppressed. plz help me sir at the earliest… thanks in advance !!!

    • Steve Mueller on

      Please, do not write in all caps.

      I’m not the right person for relationship advice. What would I do if my girlfriend had left me and I had to study for an exam? I think I would have first of all taken one day off from studying, so that I could get my emotions straight. One day just for sitting around (no TV, internet, other distractions, etc.), allowing myself some hours for grief and sadness. But also just time for myself to accept the situation, to realize that it cannot be changed, no matter how badly I would wish I could change it in any way. And to accept the fact that the relationship has ended. Allow yourself some time to really think about your present situation, but after some hours try to focus on the future – without your ex-girlfriend.

      You will realize that the least thing your ex wanted would be that you leave yourself in the lurch, without studying anymore, failing important exams. Do not ruin your future, just because a relationship has ended!

      The next day, before you study, sit down, meditate for a while, and try to declutter your mind from any thoughts, especially thoughts concerning your ex-girl, and then: STUDY, and if your getting distracted by thinking about your girl: STUDY further, more and more. Don’t give up!

  18. Steve you are an absolute legend! This is a wonderful article that helped me overcome my laziness, and I also showed it to a couple of my friends, both of whom also benefitted. Thanks for the help mate!

    • Hey Farhan, you’re welcome! Thanks for your feedback! I’m delighted to see that you and your friends benefited from the article! Keep it up mate!

  19. Sir,I was very good in studies till Class 9 ..but after i Lost my dad…i lost myself..i fell in relationships’ trap and got trapped completely ..deppression kills me.
    I cant concentrate at all.
    I lost the love for studies. Now i’m in 12th standard and need to study but cant..can please help STEVE?.

    • Ask yourself this: would your dad have wanted that you threw your life away? Would he have wanted you to give up? Would he have wanted that you were depressed for years to come? I’m sure he wouldn’t! What do you think is more painful to a dad: dying or seeing his son suffering because of it? Do you follow what I mean? Maybe your dad would be proud to see his son finally growing up, getting his life straight and putting an end to his suffering by being a man who stands in his own power!

      If you have trouble concentrating, then practice meditation to calm your mind down. Also, don’t run away from the pain. You can run, but sooner or later it will catch up with you. Instead of trying to block the pain, try to come to terms with it. Work it up and draw a line.

      Rediscover yourself and always keep in mind that your dad might not be here in his physical form, but he will always be with you in your heart!

  20. Steve,Thanks Sir!
    But i’m a girl. Its hard to overcome the pain.
    I wish i can follow your words.
    Hope it works..i know NO way to get away from the emptiness and this emptiness makes my Mind full of negative thoughts.
    And that results nothing but bad RESULT in ACADEMICS!

  21. This motivational article is very helpful to me. When someone motivates me in a right way so that I can correctly focus concentration on my studies, I get all excited about studying. However, I don’t want anybody to be near me, it seems to be trouble for me. I cannot focus on studying when someone is near me. Your article has re-motivated me. I restarted my job to work hard to reach my goal which is approved by others in an appreciating way. Still others are doubting me as i had done something wrong; i am unable to understand, what they are expecting from me to do?

  22. Man , you are a good man to take the time out to answer everybody’s question s , cheers.
    i know for sure i certainly would not ! keep it up will you . oh yeah nice article .

    • Hi Karma, thanks 😉 there were not too many comments on this article, so I could answer each of the questions when they popped up!
      Have a great day.

    • That’s great! Good to see that the article motivated you so much to get up and study instantly 😉 You are very welcome, have a nice day!

  23. Hi sir thanks a lot .

    My problem is –

    sir when I was in school i was a bright student and getting good marks but when i came to college in beganing I spend hardly a lot of time with my studies (9 hous a day) but after my half semester i felt so boring and now i cant study for atleast 2 hour and my family members are teling me that i am changed and now my friends which are weak in studies are getting good marks than me.

    Tell me sir what to do with this?:-)

    • Hi Atlaf, it’s really simple: the more time invest for my studies, the more I study for a test, the better my results get. You say that you previously invested 9 hours to study, which you cut to 2 hours a day. The result is only logical: you get not as good marks as you got when you spend more time.

      So I think the problem for you lies in rediscovering the right motivation to study. Once you found that spark of light that keeps you going and motivated to study your notes will change for the better. It is, however, up to you to discover what motivates you best. The article will give you some hints and indications but you will also have to play an active role in discovering what motivates you best.

  24. Hey! I know its a late post and i would get it if you dont reply but anyway… I am in 11th grade…and will be graduating next year…i want to become a medical doctor and i am more than ready to work for it…but its just that when ever i learn or memorize something like facts and stuff…i keep on feeling as i will forget all of it and…i work every day..i mean revise everything i study at school in home…but this feeling doesnot go away…i get great marks yet i feel this way and sometimes while attempting tests i forget because i have this little thing in my mind saying i will forget it all…i practice hard and revise a lot yet i feel scared and never confident about my exam preparations….i hope you help because last two years of high school are most imp…and i am afraid that by getting bad marks i will let my parents and teachers down who expect alot from me…thank you in advance…and honestly everything you wrote above is very motivating! Keep on the good work…you have got another fan :) take care

    • Hey Maira,

      do you know what people mean when they say that you create your own reality? Guess what happens when you constantly repeat to yourself that you will forget everything that you memorized? You will forget it!

      I can relate to your feeling because I felt it myself for years. It is the anxiety of a blackout that (mentally) paralyzes you and suddenly you forgot what you tediously memorized. Once I had identified the problem I tried to solve it by building mnemonics around the things I tend to forget. It is important that you associate – in some way or the other – feelings or emotions with what you study. That way you can memorize it a lot easier and – when having a blackout – you can try to remember what you memorized by remembering the feeling/emotion/mnemonics. For instance, memorizing numbers is quite difficult (as we do not associate emotions with them). However, once you match pictures to each number from 1 to 9 you can memorize a number combination by memorizing a story that connects each picture you’ve associated with a number. I hope that makes sense! 😉

      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 to the anxiety of a blackout. 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).

      Even if you forget something during an exam: don’t panic, breathe deeply and skip to the next task. Once you’ve finished all the other exercises you can turn your attention back to the problematic one – and perhaps with some patience and serenity you will remember what you’ve forgotten.

      The key to solving the challenge you face is to assure yourself that you’re perfectly prepared for your exams and to find ways of memorizing things in a way that you can remember them even under pressure.

      My final tip for you: study hard (and smart) but take it easy. When you did everything you could to prepare yourself for an exam there is no need to be afraid of it!

      • Thank you!!! I am sooo happy that you replied…and yes i do put alot of pressure on myself and the idea you suggested about relating to the words by feelings or pictures…it helped me a looot! And this tiny last thing…i day dream alot…i love writing and when ever i am studying, suddenly i start thinking about the stories i am usually writing or about a new idea and stuff…..and honestly i end up wasting 20 min almost every hour…i feel stupid to be honest… If you can help me then please do so…and thannk you once again for taking time out to help me and all the people! You are the best! Take care.

        • Maira, don’t give up your creative passions! School (unfortunately) focuses mostly on training the left side of the brain, which is the analytical, calculating, strategic and categorizing side. It totally neglects the right side, the creative, passionate and imaginative side. But where would we be without imagination? Without arts and creative inventions?

          If you start daydreaming it’s simply your brain telling you that it needs some balance, that it wants to make use of the fascinating powers of the right side as well. So instead of trying to oppress creative ideas take yourself some time (after you’ve finished with your studies) to act these ideas out. (It is important that you finish all your work first, before you turn your attention towards writing/etc. Don’t allow it to interrupt you from your studies, because this will cause you to waste time.) Imagine some stories or write about your ideas – but don’t feel stupid for it. School might want you to feel stupid for it, but some of our greatest man and women would applaud you for being a conscious and self-aware being and not a robot.

  25. Thank you….and i will surely try to take out sometime to write… And i am glad i talked it out… Thank you once again for you sincere advice…God bless you and take care….:)

  26. I’ve just written down ‘JUST DO IT!’ after reading this – I’ve got an exam coming up which is pretty critical to get the grade universities will (hopefully) accept me on, and after reading this, I feel more determined, so thank you!

  27. Welll, I am always bored in studying. In fact it is laziness that makes me weak. Unfortunately, distractions like internet and online gaming make me weakest. I am currently enrolled in Medical School and I want to use my all potentials. Thanks to you, goal is important as my school interviewee said to me. Of course, I did leave my laptop in my hometown (~80 km away) to remove some distraction because modular examination will be next week.
    Honestly, I had not read your articles yet except the first part. I did scanned it but I am not sure if your articles can answer some of my questions, But before I ask, can you let me know if you are still on? reply me. TY

  28. I just got my laptop today. OK. Here are my questions.
    1. Is it ok to compete? I made a deal with my classmate, the one who will have a lower score in our next lab exam will pay.. etc.
    2. If I leave my laptop in my place, I cant play any game. But, at the same time, I cant study with my laptop too, which is important. If my laptop is on my side, I cant help myself but to play. I even deleted my game many times, but I re-installed it many times as well. What I need is my laptop and study. So, what could be the solution here?
    3. There is a time that I studied for 1 hour. But when I rested via lying in my bed, I ended up sleeping. So what are the best options to rest?
    4. There is also a time that I feel so bored. All I want to do is sleep, watch, internet, etc. Hence, what are the best warm up before doing study.

    • Hi Jaafar,

      1. Is it ok to compete? That depends. If that competition motivates you, then that’s great. But if it paralyzes you, if it makes you think during the exam only about the competiton and the consequences when you fail, then don’t do it!

      2. Just think about all the valuable time you spend on deleting and re-installing a game. You could have spend this time a lot more valuable with studying! And after finishing you could have allowed yourself half an hour or an hour playing that game (as a reward!) you seem to like so much. So if you really cannot stop playing computer games, then use them as a reward when you achieved your goal (studying for a set period of time!): But if you really cannot study with your laptop on your side because it seduces you to play a game, then you could think about buying a cheap netbook. Playing games on these things should not be possible, but you can still study with these.

      3. Set an alarm clock if you know that you tend to fall asleep during a nap.
      4. The best warm up for studying is in my opinion not get engaged with TV, internet, etc. in the first place. When I begin to study, I try to start with a fresh mind, so watching TV or surfing on the internet would obviously ruin that state of mind. But if you want some kind of warm up exercise after watching TV or sleeping, then you could go outside for a walk or go for a jog. Whatever gets you energized is perfect!

  29. Thank you very much… I like your idea —-> “so watching TV or surfing on the internet would obviously ruin that state of mind.” BTW, Now Im saving money to buy a netbook.

  30. Omg!!! This site ie really interesting, i just got enrolled into engineering in a university, and i really want to make the best outta it, i’m really glad i read ur tips, i’m relishing the chance that i can become a success with your help:: thanks m88-)

  31. I m in 11th grade and studying for admn to medical college.. I have read a lot of articles like this but I seem to get motivated only for one or two days. After that, its all the same as before. And again there’s this cut-throat competition from friends and all. It all adds up to the tension and ultimately I spend more time watching TV or somehow I waste my time. I need some continuous motivation. Please help since I only have a year left for preparations. And tell me another way of stress busting other than TV. It just eats up all my time. I get only about 6-8 hours a day for studies and I can’t afford to waste it.

    • Hi Ashish, don’t make the mistake to seek for motivation outside of yourself. You are the only one (!) who can motivate you for a long period of time. If you seek external motivation it will fade sooner or later, just as you have experienced. So you will have to motivate yourself from day to day with ambitious goals and aims. There’s no one else who can and will do it for you!

      Regarding TV: I find sport is a better and much more effective way of stress busting than TV, but if you cannot go without watching TV, then do the following: Reward yourself with TV when you have accomplished all the goals you have set yourself for studying at that day. If you did not study you’re not allowed to watch TV. So that could motivate you to study hard so you can watch TV for an hour or so.

  32. Wow, if that wasn’t motivating. I’m so energized right now, I think I could study each and every book in my library. Thanks thanks thanks

  33. Currently, a am really strugglin with descition in life,,and trying putign thins together…..I am already over 30………I wish I were yonger, and i have had the opportunity to go to college…….I am very sure it would of being very hard, but not as hard as being over 30. The thing is that I am also concerned about waisting more time of my already kind of advanced life….Folks do it earlier, do not waist valuable tieme that latter on will be needed for most important thing in life. I understand,. I am still kind of young, ……….. :) And I am not thinking at any moment of doing anything agains my wonderfull life !! It is just my way of expressing my gratitud to STEVE MUELLER and a few word of encouragement for those that may need them at this time. At the same time I opened my self to share something that may be helpfull for younger minds….. Do not make the same mistake that I did!! I worked hard for 8 years, and stopped going to school just to get a few dollars over the minimum by low wage. Don’t do it !! Go to school and study hard, now that you have the opportunity and the support… :)

  34. hello,
    my name is arif.. I am doing my 6th semester mechanical engineering as well as working full time in a bpo company.. I hardly sleep in a day. Due to some personal reason’s i cant quit working at this point of time..I am not able to concentrate in class..I have already lost my one year as i got detained due to attendance shortage and i simply cant afford to lose another year. so can i please expect some valuable suggestions so has to clear my course without any backlogs.. how can i utilize my time equally.. hoping for a quick and positive reply
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Arif, I do not want to give you a half-hearted answer that does nothing to solve your problem or help you in your situation. I hate to say this but I have no valuable suggestions that I can offer you at this point in time. I’m very sorry for this, but by answering this question I would be overstepping my power and I doubt I could give you a meaningful answer or anything that goes near to a solution on your specific problem. I cannot give you meaningful advice on this one, as I never was forced to combine a full-time job with a full-time study.

      One alternative would be to switch from your full-time studies to a course that offers evening classes and is designed for people in work. That way your studies might take a bit longer, but you are not suffering from the double burden of trying to combine a full-time job with a full-time study.

  35. 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..

  36. 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.

  37. 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..

    • 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.

  38. 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 ;-(

    • 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.

  39. 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…

    • 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.

  40. 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

    • 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.

  41. 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 on

      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!

  42. 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!

    • 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!

  43. 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…..

    • 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.

      • 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…..

        • 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!

  44. 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

    • 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.

  45. 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…..

  46. 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.

    • 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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 on

      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.

  49. 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

    • 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

  50. 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!!!!

    • 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!

  51. 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.

    • 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.

  52. 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

  53. 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*

    • 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.

  54. 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….

  55. Steve Mueller on

    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.

  56. 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 on

      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.

  57. 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 …..

    • 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.

  58. 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 on

      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.

  59. 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?

    • 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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 on

      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.

  62. 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.

    • 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.

  63. 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

  64. 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.

  65. 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..

  66. He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned on

    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?

    • 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.

  67. 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!

  68. 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

    • 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.

  69. 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

  70. 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.

    • 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!

      • 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?

  71. 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…

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

  72. 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.


  73. 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.

  74. 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..

    • 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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 .

    • 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.

  77. 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.

    • 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.

  78. 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  79. 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?

    • 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.

  80. 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?

    • 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.

  81. Sir,

    Myself Vishal and age is 30.I have done my graduation and even i am married.

    The problem here is,

    1. I want to continue my education and do higher studies,but i am not able to focus or concentrate.

    2. The reason is i am married and even my brain is not able to concentrate.

    3.I am too much addicted to movies(all sorts) and for a week i try to distance from that but again i start addicted to it.

    4.Even though i know too much is too bad,i am not able to control it and it has become addiction to me.

    5.Nowadays there are lots of Negative Thoughts too.

    Sir,Please let me know how to control mind and focus on studies and get rid of Bad Habits and thoughts,as the Roots cause for all the problem is this Negative thoughts and Bad Habits.


    • Hi, it’s very good that you have already identified what the problem is: watching too many movies. Now what you might not have considered is that the movies create a vicious circle if you so want. Because quite frankly when I watch a dramatic movie I have great issues in controlling my mind after wards. All kinds of thoughts will emerge and some of these thoughts are quite negative in their nature. So if you write that you are even addicted to watching movies this might even worsen in your situation, as watching many movies will decrease your concentration and also have negative effects on your mind control.

      In my opinion, the movie problem is the problem you will have to tackle in order to improve your concentration and ability to focus. It is difficult, because studying seems when compared to watching movies pretty boring.

      But if you make this effort and reduce the number of movies you watch drastically, you will be able to make quick progress. The only thing is that it will take a lot of will power to stop watching movies.

      Something that might also help you to strengthen your concentration is meditation, as this really helps you to learn techniques to focus your mind and to work lets go of negative thoughts.

  82. Thanks a lot Sir,from now onwards i will try to reduce watching movies and even try to start practicing meditation.So that i can overcome these problems.


  83. Hi! I asked about my problem in another blog of yours. But i think i got my answer in this article. What i need is Motivation! Its so nice to control my mind & studying effectively. This tips are very helpful. I will definitely follow them.

    Thanks so much for the amazing writing.

    • You’re welcome, I hope the article can help you. But you can feel free to ask right away if you should have any questions left. I’m glad to help.

  84. Whenever I start to study….. What comes to my mind is ‘I have completed just few pages but there are still sooo much left and not enough time!!!!!!’. I keep thinking about how much things I could have finished if I had started before…. This attitude of mine really nags me so much that I stop my studies . . I have big dreams in my life … I am motivated so much in my college…. But at home it is just the opposite…. Do give any suggestion to change this..

    • The solution to this problem is clearly that you need to plan a lot more time for studying. If you give more time then you will be able to avoid the problems that you describe. This will give you a lot more time for studying and in turn will decrease your fear of not being able to finish all the tasks you need to do. The other problem seems to be that you somehow have a environment at home that decreases your motivation or drive for studying. Now this is up to you, because you will have to look around and see what the cause for this problem is. Is it may be that there is something that distracts you? Television etc.? Then try to get rid of these distractions.

  85. I have very important exam next month. I know I can do it but the thing is whenever I try to imagine the contents of what I read, all other sorts of fantasy come to my mind and I end up daydreaming. Also when I try to meditate this fantasy keeps happening . I had this habit from my pasts and now it seems interfering in my studies . I have a wandering mind…. Do give me suggestions

    • Regarding the fantasies that come to mind: that’s a difficult issue and I also have to face it many times. But in the end it is all about concentration. If you are able to concentrate these fantasies might come to mind, but they’ve been not distract you because you can easily turn them of again. Now you have to ask yourself the question what it is that distracts you so much that you begin with your daydreams. I have the feeling that when I watch a lot of television or spend a lot of time surfing on the Internet or doing similar activities, these kind of daydreams drastically increase. So what else for me is to try my best to concentrate myself on my studies, while neglecting those activities that cause my mind to be stirred up.

  86. hi sir, when I try to study I end up daydreaming. I am motivated only in college but at home its the opposite . I find it difficult to start studying. also I find it hard to manage time . when I put up a study time table and at times(many times I dont) when I do not follow it I end yp closing my books.

  87. i am finding it difficult to concentrate while studying .i am easily getting distracted at home. i do not know whether it is overconfidence or laziness that is hindering my studies.

  88. I am not able to focus my mind on studies. I am not even getting scared of exams…. I am 17 and my mind wander quite badly and I daydream a lot

  89. i did 2year coaching for psu and then i got admission in in,i am not concentrate on my studies. i want to study for government job(psu) but cant do.i have sufficient time. i m fully waste my time.tell me some suggestion what i have to do

    • hi Anni, first of all it’s excellent that you have enough time for studying. That’s something you can build on. Now we have to work on that time wasting issue. But don’t worry about that, with the right tricks you’ll be able to change that as well. Now think about it, you waste your time because there is something that distracts you. And these distractions keep you from studying. So my suggestion for you is to put all your focus on identifying these kind of distractions. What you want to do is to identify these distractions and then to get rid of them during the time you study. Your goal should be that you will not get distracted whenever you study. Now these distractions can vary from television to the Internet or your smart phone, but also thoughts can distract you. This means for you that you will have to apply a combination of willpower (not giving in to distractive thoughts) and self-observance (not allowing yourself to turn on the TV, switch to the Internet etc. etc.) while studying. This will be difficult at first, but it will pay off. Secondly, you could set yourself time periods during which you want to study intensively. Let’s say for the next two hours you want to study. During this time you will have to force itself to not allow any kinds of distractions too divert your focus away from studying. If you manage to put up with this you will be rewarded with a focused study session and after this you could reward yourself by allowing yourself to waste a little time. But only after you finished studying. I hope this helps so far, but few free to contact me again if you have any further questions.

  90. Hi I just read your article and realise I lack motivation. I have an important exam in two months time yet I can’t seem to concentrate,this is the third time am writing this exam and I think that is what us affecting my concentration and motivation please help me what do I do ?

    • Hi Joy,

      It is excellent that you have scheduled enough time for studying. This is a proper foundation we can build upon. So let’s face your concentration issue. First of all, let’s have a look at your study environment. There should be absolutely nothing that distracts you from studying. What you want is an environment that allows you to study in silence without anything that could drift your focus away from studying. This is also the reason why some students choose to go to their nearest library’s where they are not allowed to speak or use their mobile phones. If this option is not possible for you, try to eliminate every possible distraction in your study environment. This means that you will have to look away your smart phone, computer, television set and everything else that could possibly distract you.

      Once you have managed this, there is only one thing left that could potentially distract you: your thoughts. But if you have made it so far, this will also be possible to be overcome. Because learning to not be distracted by your thoughts white studying is possible. All it takes is that the first effort to just start studying, whether you want to or not. And once you have started you must continue studying, without allowing interrupting thoughts to draw your attention away. If you manage to do it is, your concentration will increase and it will be easier for you to focus on the study subject, if you’re not constantly interrupted.

  91. Hi sir…. I love your article. The problem that I face is the same as many others! I have been the topper of my class bt now I have started wasting time! I have become a procastinator and my position in class has fallen drastically which saddens me nd such other thoughts always come to my mind whenever I start to study! Can you help me out with something please?

    • Yes sure, I’ll see what I can do. I think it would be best if you exactly describe the situation and the problem so I can have a look at it.

  92. Thanks a lot sir for the reply and I must tell you I love your attitude towards things so much! You are a very positive person and I aspire to be like you. If I can get some tips please? :) and then my problem basically is with procastination and getting in that mood to study! I also waste a lot of time listening to music nd watching tv! I hope u will reply. Thank you:)

    • Hi Ashi,

      Thanks for the kind words, but don’t try to be like me, try to be better than me :-) in general, that is the best tip I can give you: look for a good teacher, learn from this teacher and try to become better than this teacher one day.

      But no worries, with concentration and a lot of focus you will also one day be in a position that you can help other students with your experiences as well.

      Okay, so you say that you procrastinate by listening to music and watching TV. Also you have a problem getting into the mood of studying.Watching TV is a vicious circle. Because it makes you lazy and reduces your ambition to accomplish something in life. When compared to watching TV, studying seems really boring and a non-rewarding activity, when in fact, it is the opposite.

      I will continue my response in the other articles that you have commented on, because I think I can combine it with what you have said in your other comments. You can find the article here.

  93. Hello sir,
    M preparing for my medical entrance xam which I ll be giving in may 2016. I have 3 subjects to go with namely physics, chemistry and biology! ! Can u plz help me to plan with my studies and finish the portion by December 2015 so that m left with much time for revision???

    • Excellent that you have enough time left for studying, preparing and revising your study materials. Many students do not lay this proper foundation, but as you have already done this, we can build upon this.

      At the beginning of your study schedule you should calculate how much time it is that he has left until your exams begin. Then you could schedule about 1 to 3 weeks for familiarizing yourself with your study materials, or else one 10th of the time that you have left. This is just a stage to get familiar with but you have to study and to get a good overview about your material.

      The next stage is the usual study stage, which is also the most time-consuming phase of the whole preparation. You can plan a couple of months just for this stage, or about 6 to 7/10 of the time that you have left. During this time you repeat this study materials, you study it by heart if that is necessary. And if you have exercises, you can do it these exercises at the end of this period. Would you want to achieve is a constant confrontation with your subject which aids your memorization. Also, when you are doing exercises you see which subjects need further intensification.

      The last stage should be a much shorter stage during which you revise all your materials. Plan about 1 to 3 weeks, or 3/10 of the time that you have left. What you want to do is to fresh up your memory and get the study contents back in your mind.

      You say that you have to study and prepare for three subjects, so it would be advisable to do one day subject A, the next day subject B and the day after that subject C. This should allow you to approach your preparation in such a way that you won’t forget one subject during studying for another subject.

      That is about it, you could also make sure to study in a distraction free environment, this helps you to maintain your focus, without distractions.

  94. Hi its me Again. The solution to all these problems is to think there is none. Asking for advice in these ways just creates dilemma in us. We know ourselves better than other so its left for our intuition to do the rest of our work….

  95. sir.. i have only 45 dayz for my medical entrance. i havnt studied anythingg.. this is d 3rd tym i m writing dis exam.. right nw i m doing graduation in english literature due to parental pressure.. dis yr i had a brk up wid ma bf… i m really sadd.. dont hav enough tym for examzz.. really messed up

    • Well, it seems like you have a really ambitious goal. And these kind of ambitious goals require radical measures in order to achieve them. If you are willing to take these radical nationalists then you will be able to succeed. But it all depends on you, and if you are willing to make this effort for the next 45 days. I highly believe that you can make it, but the next 45 days might not be so pleasurable for you.

      First of all, establish for the next 45 days an environment that there are zero distractions for you. This means that you will have to eliminate all kinds of distractions that prevent you from focusing and study. Look away your smart phone television remote control. Anything that could distract you needs to be locked away. Throw the key away, because for the next 45 days you will only do the following: studying, eating, and sleeping. Now the very first days will be quite hard, because you might be used to distractions. But if you follow along with perseverance and willpower it will become easier and easier to pick up your study materials and start studying. Also, studying will help you to forget what is bothering you.

  96. I have just 5 days for exam all I do is everything except studying……. The fear of me not able to finish studying is not allowing me to even start my revision……this is my 2 pu board exams!!!! I am indeed having anxiety problem as I cannot sleep for the 1st 3 hours at night. What exactly am I facing???

    • The answer that I gave in the above also applies to your case. The free to have a look at it.

      In general, this seems to be one big issue: you haven’t scheduled enough time for studying. Or alternatively, if you did indeed scheduled enough time for studying, but it were not able to start studying, then the big issue seems to be that you are procrastinating. Whatever the problem is, you will definitely have to schedule a lot more time for studying, if you want to avoid sleepless nights because of exam anxiety. The second problem that needs to be addressed is the procrastination issue. You will have to analyze very exactly what it is that makes you procrastinate. And once you have found what it is that draws your attention away, you will have to eliminate it. For some people this is television, there smart phone, music and other things that distract. Lock these things away so that they cannot distract you. For other people, they are distracted by daydreaming or their thoughts. In such a case meditation is advisable so that you learn to control your thoughts and that you learn to shut your thoughts down.

      If you want to avoid sleepless nights, you will have to force itself during the day to sit at the table and to open your books and to open your study material and to start studying. This of course has to do a lot with willpower, but you will have to make this effort in order to succeed at studying. In the beginning, you really really have to force yourself and start studying. This might be the best tip I can give you, to really just start doing it. Because once you have overcome this boundary it will feel a lot easier. And after developing a habit from it, studying will feel a lot more natural and will go a lot easier.

  97. Swetha Udayasankar. on

    It’s an useful thing for the people who does not have self esteem and positive thought. It was soon useful to my cousin sister. Thanks a lot…

  98. Hi Steve,

    I’m 34 years old and recently got sponsorship from my workplace to study my IT degree, part time, in modules. It’s relevant to my career and also I do regret never doing this when I was younger. Course is on-line with RDI.

    My problem is I am really struggling to get into it, studying and writing essays. My first assignment was due in Feb 2015, I deferred it until May (I can only do this once). I will be capped at a pass for this particular module however I have 30 days to go, 5000 words to write and the study material to read.

    I feel like I’m totally out of my depth and am struggling to get motivated to get stuck in. I find I’ll do any other task except that or go out with a friend.

    On a positive not I have today created my study schedule and it does look achievable over the next 30 days. I just need to get stuck in and get my draft done I guess.

    Looking for some words of wisdom.

    • Hi Bradley,

      I have worked for five years straight before went back to university. So I know to a certain extent the difficulties you are facing at the moment. I believe the biggest issue is that you simply no longer used to studying. This is an awkward situation, as you are lacking the normal routine of a student. But with time and some effort you will grow into your new role, just as one can grow into a new job position.

      It is very positive that you have already created your study schedule, as this gives you an outline of what you have to do during the next 30 days. Now you only need to stick with this schedule.

      So let’s tackle your problems, one after the other. Not a first problem seems to be struggling to get motivated for this part-time study. You could apply various techniques from goal setting to writing down why this study course is so important for your career and your life. Maybe it helps for you to reassure yourself that you have gotten a very unique opportunity that not many people will ever be able to get. Studying alone is a pretty big opportunity. Studying with a sponsorship even more so. However, with this opportunity also comes the responsibility to yourself to make the most out of it. You write that you regret not studying this subject earlier. But imagine how much you will regret it if you do not seize this opportunity this time. Would you really want to tell your grandchildren that you missed this great opportunity just because of that lack of motivation at the beginning? Surely not.

      Just remind yourself that things always a little bit awkward and tough at the beginning. It simply takes time to grow into these things.

      Now to your second problem, which seems to be writing essays. As a general rule of thumb I never postponed or deferred anything during my studies. Not because I was so ambitious, but I soon realized that this would bring me into great trouble.

      Writing essays is another subject. Basically, what you could do is look up the standard scientific argumentation scheme and build your paper sentence by sentence. What you need to do for this is to identify the relevant keywords of your subject and to find relevant papers that these keywords on the Internet. Then you open these PDF files search for the keywords and build your arguments around these quotes that you have found. This is much easier than the regular way, which means reading paper and book after book.

      I hope this has helped you so far, but if you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

  99. Hi!
    I m Laurel. My problem is that I know everything- every rule, every principle, every plan, every system, perhaps the best of every best. But I can never work unless I m under real pressure i.e. EXAM. If i could get myself ready be4 hand, i could b a topper quite doubtlessly, that is what everyone tells me. Help me out of this hell!

    • First of all, it isn’t so bad as you think it is. Think about your future career. If you can perform under pressure that is really important. And you will always have pressure in some form in the work environment.

      But let’s focus on your problem. You somehow have to manage it in such a way that you increase your ambitiousness. You say that you could be quite a topper. But are you really striving to be a topper? Because if you’re comfortable and happy with how the things are at the moment, you will not be able to change anything in your situation. Become ambitious, set yourself high goals, do everything in your power to achieve these goals and most important of all reward yourself for your accomplishments.

      I’m trying to say that you need to become hungry, otherwise there’s no escape.

      If necessary, set yourself more ambitious goals so that you are under more pressure, hence you will have to start earlier with your preparation for the exam.

  100. Dear Sir,

    i am xujip. i was left my study before 10 years. Now again i want to join the collage for study and i want to be a Degree holder. Now a days i am trying to study hardly but i couldn’t. Frankly i want to say you that, i am in the habit of watching movies every night up to 11pm after coming home from my office. I can,t stay without watching movies. How often did i try to avoid this habit but i couldn’t. Every time i am trying to study but can not. Every time my mind is diverting to watch movies.This is my bad habit like a addiction.I want to study to get my success. please advise me, what i have to do to reduce this my habit?

    Extremely respect for you advise.

    • Hello,

      Great that you have taken the decision to return to college again.

      Regarding your problem: always remind yourself that you are wasting time when you are watching TV. If you want to succeed in your studies you would have to develop the willpower not to watch TV, for as long you have not finished your study duties.

      And this is exactly how I would approach to problem. Make it a habit to study first. Your studies need to be your first priority. After you have completed all the tasks you need to do for your studies, you can reward yourself with a little bit of television.

      Know this, you have developed this habit over the course of many years. Your mind is used to watching movies. It elicits positive emotions in your brain, watching movies is a reward for you.

      Just as you have develop these habits, you can redevelop and change them. It will take time, courage and a lot of willpower. But if you stick to it and if you do not allow for excuses then you will succeed.

      But know this: your success at studying might be at danger if you do not change your habits.

  101. Dear Sir,
    Thanks a lots for your good suggestions and quick respond.
    I will obey your instruction always. If you don’t mind, could you please advice me, per day how many hours is the best for study?

    • Well, this really depends on your situation. You wrote that you are working, so I believe that you are studying only in part time. It is really difficult to give a general advice on this. I say it is very useful to study as much as needed. Often times, there is no need to study anything. At other times you just need to do a quick revision or quick preparation. Yet, there might be other days when you will have to study extremely hard and make full use of the weekend. It really depends. Over time you will develop a good understanding what is necessary to study and when it is not necessary to study.

  102. I am very happy by your suggestion. Yes i am job holder position of purchaser. My office time is morning sharp 7 am to 3:30 pm. After that i will be free up to night 11 pm. I do physical exercise (body works out. From tomorrow morning i will make my daily routine and i will follow my daily life as per my routine. After your advice, I belive my self and now i have self confident that, i will give my first priority for my study.

    Appreciated your usal support and for you suggestions.

  103. Hi Steve,
    I am 28 years old and have a peculiar reading problem for the last 12 years. I really want to study but this problem of mine has been destroying me from inside which has affected not only my studies but also my confidence and spirit as a person.

    It all started 12 years back, when I was a student of class 10. I was good at studies and scored good marks in examination in proportion to my hard work. I always had the fighting spirit to cross any barrier to get to the top. But soon, I began procastinating myself to become a topper and thereby getting into this and that and that…….And soon I lost my mental focus in studies. My brain did not work the same way as it used to be earlier although I had the memory to remember at that time. I suffered from some reading problem, I don’t know what but my mind which was so photogenic earlier was no more the same.

    I have tried to improve since then, but I always get frustrated everytime I try to study. It has hampered me every sphere of my life.

    I want to read again in the same way as earlier but now it looks I don’t only have a reading problem but since my reading method was no more the same , I always had the inner feeling that nothing is getting into my head.

    Your suggestion to get out of this unhappy mindset will be always helpful .


    • And Sir, ” You have to read nicely to write the best”. My problem in short is reading is not good…so I feel really frustrated when I read.

      • See my answer to your first comment. But another idea is that you might want to read a lot more. Replace reading with whatever else you are doing, if you’re watching a lot of television etc. It is possible that these kinds of distractions decrease your reading abilities.

    • Your situation sounds to me like you had a flexible and well exercised muscle (your brain) that for some reason was not used as intensively as you used to, which led to its atrophy.

      Now it seems like you notice effects, hoping that all the restore itself and by itself.

      I think there are two possible ways to approach this problem. The first one is that you sit yourself down and read and read and read to train your brain. This of course takes time and needs a lot of willpower and perseverance.

      The other approach that might be extremely helpful, is to learn meditation. Basically, if you do it properly and if you exercise it for a longer period of time you will train your mind to focus on one aspect. Maybe the problems that you experience are a result of procrastination and mental wandering. This is the case meditation can definitely help.

  104. Hi Steve,
    I’m an accounting & finance student. I’ve been in all rounder in junior as well as high school and have been one of the top scorers by putting in really less study time (say 2 weeks). But I’ve lost control of my mind in my most crucial years of education (college). My problems are a combination of almost every problem in this comment section, for which I’ve been taking help of psychologists, but to no avail.

    The thing is, I can’t focus for 5 minutes straight. I get distracted easily so i keep all distractions away. But I can’t escape the distraction caused by my own thoughts. A chain reaction of random thoughts run in my head all the time. But in whatever time that I do focus collectively, I can grasp faster and remember for longer than others, which explain my scores. I’ve never really had the habit of studying regularly, but at least I could focus properly in the last 2 weeks before an exam, out of fear. However in college, I couldn’t focus properly until I had less than 12 hours before each paper during finals !! Also, after studying for a month for my professional exams (which needs 3 months of studies) I started losing motivation to TRY keeping my thoughts in control, like I had been trying earlier.

    My college education wasn’t too challenging. I feel like my education begins now. I honestly want to excel in the field of finance, which requires a lot of book knowledge. My dream is to have immense knowledge, and thus I want to do all possible (related) professional courses in finance. And I can’t/won’t settle for less. I know I am smart enough to make it through if I study productively each time I sit down to read (and not daydream, which is about 70-80% of my study time). But at the same time, after all the efforts I’ve taken, I feel as though I can’t do any, simply because if I couldn’t even focus on my easy college education which didn’t need any dedication, how am I going to do other courses which require dedicated and regular studies, leave a person with no life, and are yet very difficult to clear. I’m already having a hard time studying for one, not because I can’t understand, but becuase I’m just not able to focus. But I’m so sure this is what my dream is, and this is what I want to do in life.

    I’m probably not strong enough to have and maintain motivation to keep my thoughts away and stay focussed. Please help me out Steve. Looking at your replies, I seriously hope there’s some way you can. Anything that helps me regarding this problem can help me achieve my goals in life and I’m more than willing to extend the relationship by doing something in consideration (monetary or otherwise). I hope I’m not being rude or asking for much.


    • Hi Adi,

      (I address the concentration issue at the end of this article. I just find it important to elaborate some things first.)

      Let me ask you one question: what is it that you are doing differently now? You say that you are no longer able to focus properly, the first step is to find out where the root of the problem is. Not the consequences, but really the root. Analyze and question everything to find the root cause of this problem. What is different now? What has changed? Sorry for being so inquisitive, but I need your assistance as much as possible. Sometimes even slight changes can have tremendous consequences for your study skills. They go unnoticed at first, but their causes can be felt pretty heavily. I know there’s something. Let’s find it.

      You write that you were once able to focus at least a given time before the exams. Then you wrote that you have lost the motivation to control your thoughts. Please, try to go back in time and find out where the cause for this lies. What was there that made you become unmotivated? Was there anything that was more interesting than studying? Again, these questions might take some contemplation. But I think the answers to these questions might be crucial for your development.

      Another question, is there an activity where you do not daydream? Is it maybe that you only daydream during studying? But not during some more pleasurable activities? Is this an issue that is centered around studying or is it also when you watch TV or do something else?

      From what you write I can clearly see that you need, and I really want to stress the word need, the high pressure in order to get going. You are certainly not alone with this. Many of my fellow students are the same. Has the pressure decreased lately? Or since you have left college? Being a student who can only perform under pressure is critical. It is an excellent gift at the workplace, but not at university. The goal should be that you become a student who works continuously with great scrutiny and care. This however, takes dedication and the right motivation.

      This leads me to the next point, I want to congratulate you for having a vision. It sounds to me that you know exactly where you want to be. But let us talk straight, you will have to work your *** off to reach this vision. And let’s be even more honest, you will not be able to accomplish your mission if you’re not willing to do anything for it. Maybe it was easy for you to reach your college degree. Not all things come that easy. I think you are at a transitional point where you start to realize one thing. That you have to put in a lot of effort, which is new to you. Maybe this could have caused a mental blockage. Who knows. This transitional stage requires a change of your mindsets. It takes the realization that approaching things how you did approach them in the past does no longer work.

      But I also say this: if you have a true vision your focus will be razor-sharp. There will be nothing that can distract you from your mission. You want to achieve this vision so much that you are willing to make EVERY sacrifice.

      You have a really special gift. Not many people have such a photographic mind. There are people who are really smart, such as yourself. Up to a certain level things are really easy for these people (In regards to start). Then there is the other group, where not that smart but made it that far because of their eagerness and willpower. For them, things never came easy, in regards to study. I count myself to the latter group. But you know what, I am always astonished that I can perform just as well as the first group. In fact, I am often amazed that these people are not better. They have such a great potential, but they don’t use it. It is a tool that is left unused. However, it comes a time for the really smart group where they realize that they will have to invest more time. This is a completely new situation for most of them, but not for the second group, because they don’t know it any different.

      Don’t be someone who wastes his potential. You still have the opportunity to adopt, what it takes is practice and dedication.

      But let’s now focus on the real issue, your concentration problem.

      I could tell you now many many different strategies. As you write that you read some of the comments here I am going to assume that you already know these typical approaches. I say forget all of this. There’s only one that really helps, which is learning to control your mind. Once and for all.

      I ask you this, are you willing to invest half an hour or an hour of your time daily for your future success? There might be a way to approach and to tackle the concentration issue. This is an unconventional approach, but again it all depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice for your goals.

      What I want to suggest to you is that you practice meditation. Read up on it on the Internet, learn the techniques and practice. This is what will work the most efficient. I know that you are not convinced of this suggestion. But, as you clearly have realized you have an issue with your mind. An issue in concentrating and focusing. This is something normal. However, such an issue needs to be addressed at the root. Meditation is the proper tool to to do this.

      Sit down and meditate for half an hour or an hour each day. This is the only way you will be able to control your thoughts. Basically, what you want to achieve is a state of mind where no thoughts intrude. Over time and with a lot of practice it will become easier and easier for you to have more control over your thoughts. Basically, through meditation you learn how to focus properly. And this is exactly the skill that you need when you’re reading a book.

      But I am not going to lie to you, it will be difficult. At first you sit down and there are so many thoughts. But with continuous practice you will develop one very very important thing, which is willpower.

      I’m pretty tired now, but I hope I have given you enough food for thought. This is certainly not the ultimate solution, but if you want you can just get back at me and we will continue this conversation.

      PS: Thanks for offering me something in consideration, but that’s really not necessary. I am just glad when I can help. Plus, being a student myself I know how tough it is when one has to live from a small budget. The last thing I would want to do is decrease a student’s budget.

      • In short, start tackling the problem. Sit down and do something about it. Don’t complain. Take action.

        Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. Develop your own solution.

      • Hi Steve
        Thanks a ton for such a detailed reply. Also I genuinely hope I haven’t offended you in any way by my offer and my sincere apologies if i have. You were right about the budget, but if it helps me, it would never be an expense.

        My psychologist also suggested me to find a root cause. I don’t know where and how I need to dig in deep to find something. Apart from career, Im not really troubled by anything external. So I think it would be futile to look for a cause here but I maybe very wrong.

        My mind’s behavioral pattern is very contradictory in the following sense.
        1)I zone out intentionally/unintentionally & knowingly/unknowingly while studying and start thinking, but the same doesn’t happen while watching TV or playing console games/football (maybe because to study, I need to control my mind whereas while playing/watching TV, my mind is being controlled by external factors.
        2) I may be unable to focus due to this transition to a difficult level which requires planned efforts, but at the same time my mind couldn’t focus for a full day for my college semesters.

        I acknowledge my gift, but at times wonder whether it’s a boon or a curse. Because I’m unable to tap into my potential and people perform better using sheer hard work. Do I need to use techniques (like putting myself under pressure) to channel this potential or will meditation do the trick ?

        Also, before talking about meditation I need to reveal that I’ve grown up a brat. So I’ve always been a lazy person. This makes meditation difficult all the more. I know feeling bored is not an excuse that you want to hear, but that coupled with my inability to control myself prevents me from even pulling off a full session, let alone actually succeeding in controlling thoughts. I know I’m being a brat and asking too much but is there any meditation technique or solution for lazy, weak minded people like myself ? Also, I have an exam coming up in a short while and meditation takes time, so is there anything that can help me in case I lose focus ?
        I know a lot of it sounds stupid but please give me some insight on these issues.

        (PS- I checked out a couple of things on this website along with the about page. Hats off to you for what you’re doing here)

        • Hi Adi,

          You haven’t offended me in any possible way. I am here to help and there is not much people can do to offend me, so it’s all fine just relax. No need to worry. Your offer was very kind of you and I respect you for this. Not many people would have done this, especially when they know that I generally help for free. But to make this clear you really don’t have to give me anything in return, especially when you are a student on a budget. However, if you happen to be in an extremely well-position financially (like a billionaire or something) we could talk about a little donation per email. But again, I will try to help you no matter what your financial situation. I’m trying to help anybody.

          I will address the rest of your questions tomorrow.

        • Okay, let’s continue.

          I come from a European culture where we talk pretty straight with each other. So please always keep in mind that I do not want to offend you in any possible way. But I also think that is important to talk honest with each other. Your psychologists might not always want to do this, as you are a client, and they don’t want to lose you. In this context however, I believe that you can learn the most if we speak straight with each other. It does not help to try to be overly polite. Certain issues need to be addressed. So always keep this intercultural context in mind when we speak with each other, as we come from different cultures.

          It is excellent that you have addressed the situations during which you have no problems with focusing. You name watching TV and playing console games. This was a very important point. I want to highlight one thing: you are able to focus. You have the ability to focus all your attention on one topic, if you are interested. Naturally, watching a movie or playing a console game is tremendously interesting. I want you to realize this, as this is very important. You are able to focus. Because at the moment I have a feeling that you are walking around always telling yourself “I cannot focus, I cannot concentrate.” This is not true. Make yourself aware of this. You need to realize this point.

          So the true issue lies therein that you are not able to focus on something that is not that interesting as watching TV or playing video games. Understandably, books and studying is not at all that interesting. You might be ambitious, you might have your goals for your financial career, but for some reason the contents of the books you have is not that interesting to you.

          This leads me to the next problem: I believe you watch quite a lot of television and play many video games. These kind of recreational activities might be very pleasurable and I’m sure you love them tremendously. But from the perspective of your mind these things are poison. Now I have a better understanding why you have such great difficulties at focusing and concentrating. I also get problems at focusing when I watch a lot of television. In this respect are humans are the same. If you playing a lot of videogames watch TV you’ll automatically get problems at focusing. These things are poison for your mind.

          On average, I watch two hours television in one week. Not more, often times I don’t watch television at all. Most of the successful people that I know of to not watch television. They don’t play video games. All these people have understand the negative influence of these things. It wastes your time and as you realize they affect your mind.

          You write that you have an exam coming up. Why don’t we start right now? Let us take radical and uncomfortable measures for your growth.

          Stop watching TV. Stop Playing video games.

          Not because I told you to do so, but from your own realization that these things prevent you from accomplishing your vision. You will have to come to the conclusion that these things are poison for your mind. If you just stop watching TV because I told you so it will not work. You will have to be so angry at these things that you stop doing them from your own free will. But always keep in mind, they bring you no further. They keep you from achieving your goals. They are obstacles in your path and they can make or break your success. If you are not able to free yourself of this mind poison you will never be able to fully address the issue you have with your mind.

          So the very first step I would like to recommend you to do is to cease watching any television or playing video games.

          Make it a decision, and stick to it. Do not allow for excuses, do not allow boredom to drag you in front of the television.

          This will be very difficult, as you would have to change a well-developed behavioral pattern. But if you are able to stick to it your problem is solved to 80%. And I mean it. This is how great the impact is.

          This leads me to the second point. If you cease watching television you have a lot more time. You will be sitting in your room and boredom will come up as usual. But this time you are not allowed to satisfy this boredom with your usual recreational activities. So after time, what will happen is that this boredom will lead you to open your book and to be actually interested in its contents. It will lead you to the realization that there is nothing better to do for you at the moment and studying.

          The next point I want to address is that you often state that you are lazy person. This is a vicious circle, but a lazy person is too lazy to change something about its lazy situation. Do you realize this? Stop being lazy, become active. Telling yourself all the time that you are lazy is an excuse. It is the most comfortable excuse that ever exists. It leads you to watch countless hours of television. So what I want you to realize is that the root problem for this might not be laziness at all. You simply just want no struggle. You’re not willing to put an effort into something. Watching television is easy. It is exciting and comfortable. Studying is not. It is boring and painful. So your mind tricks you and lures you into all kinds of excuses. Anything that is pleasurable is rewarded by your mind. You feel good when you do it. But as soon as you start doing something difficult your mind starts to distract you, different thoughts start to show up offering you more pleasurable activities and studying. Do you realize that this is exactly your problem? This is exactly where the problem lies. This is the root cause why you are experiencing so much trouble. Read this paragraph over and over again until you have realized this point.

          We have come to the root of the problem.

        • Okay so to sum things up, the next task is to cease watching television and playing video games. No excuses, no YouTube videos either.

  105. I believe I’ve misguided your perception of myself with my last message. So I’d like to clarify a couple of things which will only help you to understand my situation better. (Note- keep your first response in mind as it shows you to have a much better understanding of me)

    The television, console games/football scenario was only an ‘example’ of situations where I’m not distracted. I haven’t played console games in the last 5 years or so. I don’t watch much of TV either(no specific show/time to watch). I used to have games on my phone, but I deleted every single one of them long back to completely avoid giving in to temptation. Deleted my meme website apps and social networking apps too. Im very strict about that. I did mention in my very first correspondence with you, that I put away all my distractions. It’s only the distraction my own thoughts are causing that are inescapable. By lazy, I didn’t mean that I give in and switch on the TV or start playing. I don’t. I sit with my book for 12 hours if I have to, but my productive learning is worth 3 hours tops. Also, I have tried believing in myself, telling myself that I can focus etc. I know it’s all in my head, Steve. I’m not denying that. And I know I’m entirely responsible as well. Because if i can watch tv without being distracted, I can study the same way too. But you should also realize that I’ve been trying a lot (which is evident with all drastic measures that I’ve taken in the past few years to completely discard from my life those things which are distractingly pleasurable apart from rewarding myself once in a while). Yet I’m unable to achieve the required focus level. Being lazy while studying will probably amount to procrastination. And if I were procrastinate heavily, I’d know where I’m going wrong, so I’d say that my only problem is that I’m an idiot for wasting my time. But it isn’t the same when I’m sitting with the book for the same time as others, grasping a lot faster than others, yet reading much lesser than others, much lesser than I should. Reasons? sometimes I’m just not able to control my thoughts (which agrees to your statement that when I have to do something difficult, my mind will resist and give in to thinking about something else which is pleasurable), but at other times (hope you understand this part) I zone out unintentionally
    AND unknowingly. (I will get to this once you acknowledge and address this message or I might take the meaning and purpose of this message in a whole new direction and you might probably get it wrong)

    The laziness part comes in context with meditation. I’m lazy , or rather unable to control myself to sit myself down for half an hour straight for a session. I’m not sure if lazy was the right word used, but since I’ve had everything easy, I generally expect quick results. I know there aren’t shortcuts, so I will make it a point to dedicate some time towards meditation, because I think that is the last resort which is actually going to help. Also, since I didn’t really have to achieve the short term objectives you mentioned ( of not watching TV/playing games ) for my upcoming exams, is there anything else you can suggest for now ?

    Lastly, I need you to be straightforward, too. I don’t think there’s any difference in culture here. But if I finally reach a solution, it’ll be delightful even if it’s offensive, because of how desperately I need it.


    • Thanks for your last reply, it helps me to understand your situation better. All I can do on my end is to troubleshoot for common problems and as soon as the television and console game issue was mentioned it raised some flags that I needed to address. I think this process of calibration and adaptation might take a couple of responses, until I finally understand your situation entirely, without having to rely on stereotypes. With your response in mind I will have to address you from a completely different perspective.

      Okay then, your response helps me to focus on another issue, which is zoning out unintentionally. Let us focus on this issue entirely then. We have ruled out that there seems to be nothing that is mentally blocking you. We have ruled out that there are no major distractions. If you reward yourself every once in a while with pleasurable activities that is just fine, I would even encourage this. Balance is important.

      If I understand it correctly, you’re facing two problems. The first problem is that you zone out, which leads to the next problem which is a low productivity.

      What we need to find is some kind of solution that helps you to remain focused on your study subjects. Possibly something that works really quick in your present situation.

      Let us make use of the brain’s capability to form a habit, if something is only repeated often enough.

      One trick that might help is that you take a Note card/index card. On this card write in really big letters the word “focused?” on it. Or anything that reminds you of your task (maintaining proper focus). What we want to do is to create an anchor here. We want to train your mind to constantly question what it is doing. For this to work, it needs to be repeated pretty often until a habit is formed.

      So let us assume that you are sitting on your table with a book in front of you. Put the card somewhere besides the book (or even better: use it as a reading aid). Just make sure that it is always somewhere close by and always within your range of vision. Maybe it might be helpful to switch cards every once in a while. Even better: place the card slightly below the line that you are reading so that you have to touch the card and drag it slightly down to reveal the next line. That way you are constantly in contact with your card, which helps you to be constantly reminded of your task.

      Open your book and read the first paragraph. After reading the first paragraph, look at your sign. Are you still focused? Then continue. Make it a habit to look at the sign after every paragraph. I have noticed that when I zone out, it is mostly due to losing the thread along the lines, where my mind switches from thinking about the subject to daydreams. This is exactly the habit that we want to break and to replace it with a new one. After doing this for a longer period of time you will notice that you no longer need the card. This is the stage where a new habit has been formed.

      As you can see, what we are trying to do is establish many little focus points on your path. Previously to this, you walked on your path until you zone out, leading to a really big decrease of attention. You fell into a very deep hole. Thanks to the aid of these focus points we want to avoid this big decrease. Instead, we want to push your attention continuously so as to keep it at a high level. Figuratively speaking this shall help you to build a bridge so that you no longer fall into the deep hole.

      I hope this idea does not sound too stupid.

      • Continued.

        If you want to take this idea to the next level proceed as follows. There will be the time when you will zone out. This is normal. But as soon as you realize that you are no longer attentive I want you to immediately take action. Let us say that you have just realized that you were zoning out. This needs to be the moment where energy shoots through your body, just as if someone surprised you.

        Stand up and do something. For instance, jump around. Get yourself energized. Do anything you can to get the mental sluggishness out of your system. If you want, go to the bathroom and sprinkle really cold water in your face. This activates survival instincts that make you become more attentive.

        I’m not a fan of self punishment, but if it helps you can try a slight slap in the face with your open hand, but really in a very gentle manner without causing pain, which helps you to become a little bit more attentive.

        Whatever it is that you are doing, I just want you to get energized as soon as you notice that you have zoned out. This helps you to regain your focus. Getting energized does not have to take long, sometimes 30 seconds or 1 minute is enough.

        Again, this might sound ridiculous, but what we want to do is to break the habit.

        After you are energized, get back to what you are doing until you notice that you have zoned out again, in which case you will repeat the energizing process.

  106. Hi, did you get the next reply (My third message overall) ? It hasn’t been posted so I’m wondering whether it was sent properly from my end.

    • Yes I did receive the reply, it was just waiting for approval. It seems that my commenting system has not realized that you have already been approved.

  107. Hi Sir,
    I read through your blog and although I find it highly helpful, I still have problems studying. I come from Singapore where education is really stressful and students are highly competitive. But you see, when we students get competitive, we get targeted not only academically but socially too. One of my classmates do not exactly like me and so constantly gets everyone to gang up on and put me down. This really affects me and I can’t seem to get my motivation up for my studies. I have a goal I want to reach and it’s someone I want to surpass very badly, not only that, I want to let them see my grades and feel bad about it. But even though I try my hardest and force myself to sit in front of my work and do it, they constantly come to mind and it really dampens any motivation I previously had for studying. Is there some way to put this behind me and concentrate on studying? Thank you

    • Hi,

      The best tip I can give you is that you try to avoid this conflict. If that person is ganging up against you, try to ignore it as best as you can. I know this sounds difficult, but in the end your anger and your hatred will lead you nowhere. As you have clearly noticed the anger gives you a hard time focusing and concentrating. So try to avoid it. Try to let it go. Maybe you could even solve this issue that you have with the other person. If it is not possible for you to solve it, try as best as you can to avoid this person.

  108. Hi

    This is Habib from Afghanistan. I had great motivation to study prior to get my bachelor degree. After I graduated from university, I started a business, and unfortunately my business bankrupted. Since my business bankrupted, I cannot study as before.

    I want to study hard to find out a way to succeed in my new business but, cannot study longer and with concentration.

    Please give me some tips


    • Steve Mueller on


      Is it a thing of motivation or is it a mental blockage from your bankruptcy? If it is motivation may be the article can help you. But if it is a mental blockage it is important to break it. You somehow have to accept that the business has failed. You need to free your mind and you need to tell yourself that it is only the future that matters. Not the past. Also, remind yourself of the fact that you need all your focus in this present moment so as to avoid another failure in your studies.

  109. Hi sir,

    i am Raihan from Bangladesh. I am a student of XII and I want to be a doctor. But last year i failed to get myself admitted into a medical college. and this year i am trying too. But i am not finding any interest in my studies. i am feeling attracted to TV, Movies, and gossiping. I am not a punctual student, i can’t doing things according to my determination. and every time i just give up. What can i do sir?

    • Steve Mueller on

      There are many approaches to solve the problem. Some of them might work better others don’t. However, I have made the experience that if you really want to achieve sustainable and long-nothing results you need to address the TV and movie issue.

      There’s no problem with watching an exciting movie every once in a while. But as soon as you do it regularly, or even worse daily it begins to affect your life. The movie reality begins to dominate your life, anything else seems not interesting at all. I think this is exactly the problem that your faith. The movie and television growth is much more exciting and fancy than your studies.

      If you really want long lasting success you need to stop watching TV, at least for the majority of your weekdays. What will happen through this is that your interests in your real life start to pick up. Studying doesn’t seem so boring any longer. In fact, you might be able to develop an interest in your subject matters quickly.

  110. Hello sir,
    I am appearing for the CAT (Common Admission Test) 2015 which is scheduled to be conducted on November and I have joined a reputed coaching institution for this very reason.
    The problem is, when I joined the institution in September 2014, I had some 15 months to prepare, but laziness got the better of me and I hadnt learned anything much since I joined there though I still attend the weekly classes. Now I have less than 6 months to go and I am worried about the way I have been performing to this point of time. I have great ambitions but I always fear and see myself not worthy of such high dreams.I am entering my final year of graduation. I have read what u have written which made me to write this letter.I am weak at maths and maths is one of the four core areas where ones skill is being tested, with the other areas being verbal ability, logical reasoning and data interpretation.I am an average student with high hopes but not enough skill set and confidence.
    I look forward to your reply, and I thank you with all my heart in advance.
    Thank you

    • Steve Mueller on


      You may have wasted 9 important months, but we still have six months to go. So we need to make the best out of your current situation. It does not help to complain.

      Always assure yourself that you would never accomplish your great ambitions if you are not willing to put in the necessary amount of work. Often times it takes really a lot of work to accomplish your goals. But you have already lost the battle if you’re not willing to fight.

      You will notice as soon as you start preparing yourself for the test that your fears will decrease. The better you prepare the more confident you become. So in the way you can reduce your fears by working harder and by being better prepared.

      If you already know that you are weak at math, then by all means try to overcome this weakness. The good thing about math is that you can learn it through regular exercise. I also hated math and I still hate it, but by regular exercise I was able to pass my exams. This is very important. You need to exercise it. You all the exercises you have. Again and again. Until we understand it and until it has become a routine.

      I am also an average student. If you are not that intelligent like the top achievers in your class you need to put in even more work. But with a lot of diligence you can be even better than that.

      • Thank you sir for your reply..
        It helps me but I got one doubt..
        How to maintain my motivation..while starting, I am pumped up to do almost anything but soon it fizzles out and I lose track of what I am doing..
        Concentration and continuous motivation stays away from me..
        Help me out sir.. (I know you will)

        • Basically, what you need is a goal or a vision. What are your goals? Do you have a wish for your life. If the something you want to see implemented on this world? Is this some kind of a higher purpose that you have? For example studying. Maybe you are really desiring to get that job position that you always wanted. So you could use this to fuel your motivation for studying. Always keep in mind that most of the time you’re not studying for the university, but for your future. Use these kind of thoughts to increase your motivation.

        • Thank you sir..
          I realise where you are pointing me to go..
          I will be a bit more serious from now onwards and be focused on my goals and dreams even if it gets tuff..

          “If it is important to you,
          you will find a way, if not,
          You will find an excuse”
          I got the point :-)

        • Steve Mueller on

          Absolutely. And never forget it is a journey with ups and downs. But with a lot of perseverance you will definitely make it.


    Hello sir I m also having same problems ….I have read ur above given solutions mainly to overcome distractions…I hope it will work.
    My problem is i usually get motivated only for two or three days after that it becomes as usual I want to join army and I have to give various exams for this ..what do I do

    • Steve Mueller on


      That’s a problem with motivation. You need to constantly refresh it so that it fuels all your endeavors. Ask yourself the question how you motivate yourself. Are you mainly depending on external factors to increase your motivation? These external things might work for a couple of days, but after that their impact decreases very fast. The best source of motivation comes from within. You can achieve this with ambitious goals, rewarding yourself etc.

      If you have a true vision you will be willing to do everything you can to accomplish this mission. As a result, your constantly motivated to implement this vision. So see if you can find some kind of a vision or a higher purpose for studying.

  112. hello sir.. I have exams in august. and of late I have been studying but not to that point of satisfaction. once I get the book I pass through .. I dont really study eyes just pass through the words then i will flip the page ..I dont know why .. I need your help. I want to study medicine after these exams. thank you.

    • Basically, what we need to find this something that helps you to remain focused. There is a trick that could help you, it involves an index card. Take such a note card and write on it with big letters the word “focused.” What you do is you take this card as an reading aid wherever or whenever you are reading something. Make it a habit to read one paragraph of your book and then to have a look at the index card. This helps you to be instantly reminded that you need to be focused. If you look at your card and you are not focused, then at this moment you will become Aware if it.

  113. This posts really helps a lot.Thanks I have been procrastinating a lot resulting in me dropping my GPA in my first year last year 2014 in a local university in my country.This year I am almost doing this but coming through here and reading this blog really helps me to get my feet back of track.I am a bright student but I just lack motivation and reading this helps me to get motivated.

    • Sounds great that you put the article to practice. I’m convinced that you are going to make it. Just keep going.

  114. Hello,sir.,I have a problem to concentrate on study.if someone get marks more than me ,thought of that person become continuous .I can not give my best to to get rid of this nature.though I do not want these thought it comes ,I am tired of this .

    • If you have problems with concentration there are two aspects need to address. The first aspect is to eliminate all kinds of distractions that give you a hard time to focus. The second aspect is to train your mind so that you can focus and concentrate more easily. You can train your mind for an example with meditation. If you must that these two aspects study concentration will come.

  115. hello sir..
    i have been reading your articles its really gud.. i would also like to appreciate your attitude. ur inspiring..

    i was a really bright student till my 10th grade. then in 11th i did not take any interest in studies. that has lowered my interest to study. now im in 12th.. i know i cant afford to have the same attitude hence forth.
    i keep planning schedules to start studying but i always fail to execute.
    i have shifted my study area and tried many things to get motivated like using quotes, pop ups etc but still i feel the same..
    its just not with my studies, its with everything that i used to do.. im losing interest with all stuffs. i also getting addicted to tv and the Internet.. im sleeping a lot too.. and when i realize whats happening with me i get low and depressed.
    please help sir..

    • Internet and TV is a vicious circle. The more you consume TV and Internet the less interested you become in your study materials. It’s as simple as that. This is the first problem you need to address. You need to get your consumption of TV etc. down to a normal level. But if you really want to succeed you need to decrease it to a slight minimum. The successful people I know take little interest in these things. They are too interested in their fields of expertise. They don’t even have time to do these random activities.

      The second aspect is that you say you always keep planning something, but you lack the proper execution. Let me off to this: do you have a proper goal? Do you have a vision? Do you want to see something implemented on this world? If not this is the reason why you are not executing your plans. If you have nothing to strive for, it is really hard to be motivated. So see if you can find some really really ambitious goals or even a vision.

      • thanks for your reply sir..
        i do have a goal… to get really good marks in my annual exams and competitive exams this year..
        i realise that i did not stress onto my goals.. i guess from now on il keep telling myself that i have to stay focused on my goal..
        thank you for your support.. it has helped me.
        il put my best efforts to get away from tv and the net. :)

        • That sounds very good. Just one thing: maybe the goal of getting really good marks is not motivating enough for you. Maybe you could look for some kind of a higher purpose that you really strive for. Something that motivates you really much. For example that you want a really good education to be able to find an excellent professional or something like that.

        • sir,
          first of all i would thank u for all ur effors to help us students. i have finally overcome my internet addiction (prev problem). im sorry if ths message is long..

          though i have started to change atleast a bit, i still get attracted to relaxing a lot. almost like i study for 2 hrs and take 3hrs break. i know it is bad. so, i tried to remind and motivate myself by sticking captions, quotes, cut offs etc. it did not work out for long.. i plan really well (daily schedule, study plan, lesson plan) but hardly execute it.. u had asked me if i had a goal and am i serious over it?…. well yes i do wanna do great in life and i also know how serious the competition is but somehow these things just dont move me.
          more over i really dont get with physics and chemistry. so when i plan to spend more time with them, i start cribbing on choosing these subjects.. i have no option to change them now. i have these subjects as the main criteria for all upcoming exams. this is a real matter of concern as they have a huge weightage (coz im planning about medicine). and once i get worried on these stuff i literally feel depressed and this is affecting my results..
          i have some or the other test and assignments atleast once every week. every time i ensure people for better results but the results are the same and sometimes decreasing. tis makes me feel even more guilty for building hopes in them.
          my family is quite supportive. i have tried discussing my problem many many times but its high time now. and once again if i approach its not gonna be good. im the eldest, i have a responsibility too and i cant be a bad example for my juniors.
          well sadly i have no peers who would spare that much of time with me coz i do understnd they have to set their life too.
          pls sir, suggest some method that will keep me focused in short score well in my exams (ultimately for the competitive exams)..

        • Thanks for your reply. It helps me to better understand your situation.

          Now you seem pretty ambitious, with some good goals in mind and you have already adapted some great techniques to keep your goals in mind, for instance by sticking quotes around your room.

          I am troubleshooting for the real cause of the problem, and I might be mistaken but the main issue seems to be concentration, focus and attention span. It seems that even though you are motivated and even though you have the right goals in mind there seems to be some kind of mental blockage that diverts your attention away from the subject. This could happen especially when you’re confronted with difficult study materials or materials that are so boring that you no longer want to study them. I guess this might be happening on an unconscious level.

          I just recently published a new article about methods for students that help them to better concentrate and focus, you can have a look at this article if you want to.

          Maybe the article gives you some new guidance, but if that does not help you can always feel free to get back at me and we will develop some new ways to overcome your issue. Don’t worry we’re going to find a solution.

  116. Good evening Sir,
    Okay, I’m a science student doing class 12.
    At one point of time, I am so motivated that i’m able to finish my job ASAP but when I feel exhausted, I take a small break.
    There I start procrastinating!!
    If I isolate myself forever… I feel exhausted but when I take a small break, I completely forget about studies and it takes a lot of time for me to come back on track and concentrate.
    When I get low marks in any test, I get myself pushing to do better but again, when im not getting answers while working out some problem, I get nervous and the rest of the paper goes terribly bad!
    How then should I schedule my study time and work?
    Thanks for your consideration.

    • Taking breaks is a good thing. The only thing you have to improve his ability to continue with your tasks after the break is over. You could approach this from two perspectives, first by telling yourself clearly how long the break is you want to take. Secondly, by not engaging in very distractive activities during your break, that bring you out of focus.

      About the nervousness when you do not find solutions and answers: always remind yourself that come problems cannot be solved immediately. Sometimes it takes a lot of practice to solve a problem, for instance with math. Other times you simply haven’t found a proper way to approach the problem. If you are able to develop this necessary stamina and the willpower to stick to a problem, you will benefit from it tremendously for the rest of your life and your professional life.

  117. Hello,
    thanks for putting up this articicle, I have gained some insight on how to study. but I really can’t study! Please help me on this!
    I am going to be 18 this year and its my second year in junior college, hence I will be having my A’ levels in about 5 months.
    I started junior college since last year febrary/march and I would say that I haven’t studied at all? I was sleeping in class and lectures and many don’t belive me but it’s really as though I have not been to any lessons at all! I didn’t know how I was miraculously able to scrape through last year(i did some last minute studying for my final exams though) come this year, I noticed that I can’t continue like this and I have done some things (like planing to catch up by this date for this topic, a timetable for myself, etc) but for the plans and schedules that I made, I just couldn’t finish them! I think its mostly because I do things very slowly(for instance, when I am studying for a certain topic I need to cover every crook and cranny) and also that my brain doesn’t cooperate(its either I become very active and start daydreaming or that I become brain dead during planned time for studying…)
    also, I am a person that requires tons of sleep, to get me awake and refreshed for a whole day, I would need about ttwelve hours and any lesser than 8 would make me a zombie. Combined with my horid time table that ends late(6pm) I dun have a lot of time. (i leave far from school since I take 1hr30min to travel)
    that said, I also do not have any motivation to study at all! I have asked and wondered to myself what is my goal and what I want to achieve in life. What I want to be and the like, however even after 3 years I have failed to come to a conclusion. I don’t have anything I want badly.
    also, I used to watch a lot of dramas but I have decreased it to really a bare minimum of 2 episode per week And I dun ply games.
    But I really want good results. And right now, I feel very bad about myself, that I dissapoint parents and teachers.
    My results are really horrible, I take bio math and chem, which are my most important subjects. And honestly I fared very badly for recent tests, getting even 0% for all(i would say I have not study, or studied minmally)
    I am actually taking my mid-years now and I think I very likely will be getting around 10% for each subject. I am really worried!
    I feel that the one thing that I find hardest to cope with is fear and uncertainty. Seeing how some people actually mug through the whole 2 years and yet only achieving above average results, I fear that I might not be able to do it in 5months. And since the syllabus is almost finished, it means I would have to catch up with every single thing people learn in 2 years in just 5Months. recent failures have also made me wonder if I am stupid as I had even failed even though I studied for one quiz. (i used to think I was better than average but now I think I am one of the worse.) is it even possible for me to do so much in 5 months?

    I’m sorry for this long message, but I would really hope u could help me! Please do give me some tips and opinions. Thank you!

    • Well, sounds like a difficult situation. Basically, the problem melts down to one issue: your laziness of the past starts to catch up with you. The good thing is you can always start new and you can always change negative behaviors. Just have to want it. Now it seems to have missed a lot of your lectures and all of your tasks. I say: no problem, as long as you are smart about it. What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes not always the best thing to put too much unnecessary effort in one’s studies, as it prevents you from grasping and studying the really important matters.

      Now in your case, you would have to combine a smart approach with extremely hard work, if you want to catch up everything. The good thing is, as your time is limited, you can try to only focus on that which is really important in each subject. Basically, this smart approach means that you do not want to study and know everything, but that you only want to know that subject that is going to be in the exam.

      In your situation, I believe you would really mess up if you tried to study everything you can. So focus of time and energy on the really important subjects. Try to find out for every subject what is important, by looking at the exams and tests that you have available. Be smart.

      And for the next time, do everything you can to avoid a similar situation.

    • Whenever you feel sleepy, get up and do some physical activity like running on the spot for a couple of minutes. After that you will no longer feel sleepy and have a fresh mind.

  118. Sir, I have read almost all your blogs & found that most common solution is by doing meditation.Sir, could you please provide some techniques or some procedures while doing meditation although it is available from other source….because i hardly can stay a few seconds while doing it.

  119. Sir, I have read almost all your blogs & found that the best way to resolve problems, is by doing meditation.So, could you please tell me the techniques, advices or tips or some procedures while meditating so that i would follow it and may improve my concentration power. because i have tried it many times and can hardly remain silent while doing it. Although it is available from other sources, i would like to know from you,how you do it?

    • I do meditate, yes. And I also think it is the most powerful thing one can do to establish concentration and focus. But keep in mind that I am also a student when it comes to meditation. I am also struggling just like anyone else.

      What I do is that I sits down my meditation position and first of all repeat a mantra for a couple of minutes, for instance 5 to 10 minutes. It helps to calm down a bit. After that I really try to focus heavily, meaning that I try to identify whenever a thought starts to appear in my mind. When such a thought appears I immediately try to let it pass by, so that my mind does not pick up the thought. This might go for another 10 to 20 minutes. After this my mind has calmed down tremendously, this is the stage where really try to establish a mindset where no thoughts interrupts. This is really difficult, that’s with a load of practice you become used to it. I do not always manage to reach this stage.

  120. Hi
    I was searching through different websites to find out what to do when you are not in the mood of studying, and then I came across your website
    That was really helpful to me.
    Thank you very much.

  121. Sir
    my problem is that i passonate to study,i like to study more ,i plan to complete a book but what happen to me that immediately as i go further i lose interest and focus,
    i dont know why it happens,i like to study my fav sub mathematics but cant concentrate or cant put my fullest,and in the same thread i like to add one more thing that at one moment i am highly enthuastic to study and feel that yes i know mathematics and on the oter hand a question come in mind that “” do i know mathematics and can i secure my career in this field or i m just dreaming that i know this subbject??? etc
    sir plz help me out from this condition after two year i have to take a specific exam in this subject which will allow me to do research in this subject and i think for tgis purpose i must be 110% focused but i m unable to do this at this moment
    Plz guide me…

    • Steve Mueller on

      If you want to increase your concentration you need to do two things. First of all, you need to eliminate all kinds of distractions. This means that whenever you study there should be nothing that can distract you. At best you are sitting in a room when it is only a table and a stool. Nothing else. If you are really rigorous about eliminating distractions, you will highly benefit. The second aspect is that you need to train your mind. For some this is accomplished through a lot of studying, which automatically train the mind. This approach takes a lot of willpower and you need to stick to it for results to happen. This means that whenever you notice that you are distracted you need to immediately grasp your attention and refocus on your study materials.

      The alternative is to really practice meditation. This is the best thing you can do to establish proper concentration and focus on your mind. There’s nothing else that is as powerful as meditation when it comes to increasing your focus and concentration.

  122. Thanks sir for ur feedback
    sir i have done this so many time that i choose my table and chair and all needed stuff to study but as i will say yes now there is no distraction and i will study for 2 hour with great focus and i start what happen that after.1 hour i will end up with only one to three pages of book and i get disappointed,
    and it happens due to running of unnecessary thoughts and daydreaming this also cause that i understand the complex topic late

    . i think the actual problem lies in the fact that i have not clear vision of studying whereas i like it, understand it ,enjoy it and have found that though i am not happy with my study ground but capture topics well than my colligues so sir i hope that if i will be pure single minded and well ficused then i can do better and pursue good future so what shoud be my first step to have a clearcut vision that now only maths can give me what i need in my life and i will be motivated to study this subject without any distraction??? So what steps i need to take to be clear???

      • nitika verma on

        Sir, I am nitika, I am just only 22 years.
        The problem here is,

        1. I want to continue my education and do higher studies,but i am not able to focus or concentrate.
        I am too much addicted to movies(all sorts) and for a week i try to distance from that but again i start addicted to it.

        2.Even though i know too much is too bad,i am not able to control it and it has become addiction to me.

        3.Nowadays there are lots of Negative Thoughts too.

        Sir,Please let me know how to control mind and focus on studies and get rid of Bad Habits and thoughts,as the Roots cause for all the problem is this Negative thoughts and Bad Habits.

        • Hi Nitka, the negative thoughts are most likely caused by your excessive consumption of television and movies. If I watch a lot of television I feel the same. So your core issue is your addiction to movies and television. It seems that this has become a negative habits and changing these negative habits is quite complicated. It takes perseverance and a lot of willpower. Basically, what is necessary is that you start to reduce their consumption of TV drastically. This means that you try to find another leisure activity or even better study activity that you will do instead of watching TV. What is really necessary is that you cease to watch television. And there must be no exception. If you are successful let’s say for five days without watching TV, reward yourself with one good movie at the weekend. But always make sure not to fall back into your negative habits. You have to stick to it until a new more positive habit forms.

          Regarding the second issue of yours which is concentration problems: the most effective way to solve the problem within a few months is to take up meditation. Through the aid of meditation you will be able to better focus and concentrate.

  123. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. I’m now reaching my mid 20s. I’ve strives to tackle my problems head on but I find everything a struggle and too challenging. I’m often apathetic, lack motivation and quickly lose drive to do anything. I enjoy my job but other than that there isn’t anything else productive that I enjoy. I’ve signed up to a few new activities but even then forcing myself to go and do these things has been hard. I wish I was passionate about life. I’ve tried various things and nothing holds my interest for long. To be honest I’d prefer sleeping and playing video games all day if I could. I’ve tried getting rid of negative influences out of my life like video games and porn but eventually I wear out and fall back into the same trap. I don’t know how do people do it? There’s way too many factors at play here and I feel like there’s a lot that I need to work on..sometimes I just want to give up because I don’t enjoy participating in the competitiveness nature the way society has become. But I don’t want to live a mediocre life..
    How do you have a constant driving force?

    • Steve Mueller on

      I know too well how it feels to fall back into the same negative habits again and again. I believe this is a constant challenge for everyone of us. From my experience I know that I will only break this negative habit once I’m really full of something. Meaning that I have absolutely grown to hate the negative side effects of doing this activity. So sometimes I try to overdo this activity, as soon as I realize that it has grown into a negative behavior. What this does is that it shows me exactly how negative the consequences of this behavior. So when I overdo it I really get sick of it and it helps me in most cases to avoid it in the future. So when the desire arises again I just have to think about the negative consequences and remind myself about what happens when I do activity XY and the desire starts to diminish.

      The next aspect is to replace these negative habits with more positive ones. This seems in your case especially difficult, as you have a difficulty in finding interesting activities. I only can encourage you to continue searching for the things that you are interested in.

      This leads me to the next point which I believe is the most crucial one: stop playing video games. I also played quite a lot of videogames in my life, until I quit it cold turkey. And I never regretted it. In fact, the quality of my life has increased tremendously. In miraculous ways the anxiety has decreased significantly.Also depressive thoughts start to decline. If you really want to change something about your life this is the first step you might want to take. It is a difficult step to take but one which can have a profound influence on your life.

      As a positive side note, once you stop playing video games and other activities might become a lot more interesting to you.

  124. Sir,
    Im a student of grade 11 studying science and im having my exams from not well prepared yet..there was a month postpone of my board exams due to earthquake and now there are lot to study about 5 subjects -physics chemistry maths English and computer..well I could a bit manage for other subjects like english and computer but im not sure about PCM how im I gonna read it…i think I hv almost forgotten everything really need ur guidance to prepare plan a schedule so that I can achieve good marks and utilize well these upcoming remaining days..
    Plzz! sir could u provide me a good study schedule.

  125. Sry…to be contd
    And everytime I wanna study I start day dreaming and though I make my mind for studying I read up few pages and I dont get Intrested in it anymore and start a new chapter and same with that again i lack motivation and everytime I make up a schedule I cant follow it and end up…I always end up and start over again but cant success in it.I really can’t find whats wrong with me.
    Sir could me help me out…plz!

    • Steve Mueller on

      First of all, calculate how much time it is that you have left until your exams begin. Then you could schedule about 1 to 3 weeks for familiarizing yourself with your study materials, or else one 10th of the time that you have left. This is just a stage to get familiar with but you have to study and to get a good overview about your material.

      The next stage is the usual study stage, which is also the most time-consuming phase of the whole preparation. You can plan a couple of months just for this stage, or about 6 to 7/10 of the time that you have left. During this time you repeat this study materials, you study it by heart if that is necessary. And if you have exercises, you can do it these exercises at the end of this period. Would you want to achieve is a constant confrontation with your subject which aids your memorization. Also, when you are doing exercises you see which subjects need further intensification.

      The last stage should be a much shorter stage during which you revise all your materials. Plan about 1 to 3 weeks, or 3/10 of the time that you have left. What you want to do is to fresh up your memory and get the study contents back in your mind.

      You say that you have to study and prepare for three subjects, so it would be advisable to do one day subject A, the next day subject B and the day after that subject C. This should allow you to approach your preparation in such a way that you won’t forget one subject during studying for another subject.

    • The fact that you are on this website and that you seem to sincerely want to improve yourself is a good start. The suggestions by Steve are very good. I would add that getting interested in the material you are studying would also help a lot. I had those “symptoms” that you describe when i was in college. I was not lazy because while there are many times that I neglected my studies, I read a lot on things that interest me. I was well-versed on things that are totally different from the courses I was taking up. So I tried to relate the courses I was taking up and the materials I have to study in my own life. I would find parallels, applications, past events and would even imagine scenarios where I could apply what I had to study. That helped a lot.

  126. Thank you for your reply Steve. I really appreciate your response and the feedback you have given me, I will take note and follow through with it. I went cold turkey on video games for over a month, I will try and quit again.

    I have another question thing is I use to enjoy going to the gym, I have a big problem with procrastinating with things because I am worried of failing. I don’t go anymore cause I’ve tried so many times over the last few years and I failed to achieve my goals. I am still unhappy with my body, but I’m more afraid of failing again than to even try. Also here I am sitting on my third day towards the exam, and I’ve fallen behind on my studies, I feel like I know nothing so I don’t even try. I know I am responsible for being in this position. I know I need to do better. But I’ve found myself in this position way too many times in the past. How do you not let your negative past influence your decisions? How do you deal with your previous failures?

    I still haven’t found a good strategy where I don’t lose interest of things quickly. My biggest problem is I always have expectations of things. I think if I put in effort I will achieve XY but instead I get no where near or I fail, so I end up getting down about it. Then it ends up being a vicious cycle. I feel like the last few years, its been a bitter struggle to increase my self confidence but I don’t get any where near.

    I know I need to be more passionate about life, and be more positive.

    • Hi Victor,

      I think I have already written an article that addresses some of the issues you speak of. It’s called stop worrying about failure.

      You write that you are afraid of failing, but always remind yourself that you have already failed if you do not try. Yes you can fail if you try, but isn’t it better to increase your chances of winning?

      Also remind yourself that some things simply cannot be achieved overnight. You write that you have very high expectations once you pick something up. But many things require a lot of effort and willpower until you master these things. So if your expectations are too high you will most likely decrease your motivation.

  127. I have too many fantasies. I always try to set a particular goal but always fail and end up being confused with what i actually want to become in my life.
    I wish to be the stream topper of our school, be one of the best basketball players, a singer, dancer and a swimmer and every possible thing that i can learn. I am good in all of them and as per my wish, evrything goes good but ends up in my miserable health. Moreover, being introvert and not sharing problems with anyone makes it more difficult to come out of all these. Many a times, i overthink and demotivate myself. Any solution??

    • Focus on one thing and master it.

      Being an introvert is not so much a problem. Over time this can even change. Just try to be a little bit more open day after day. Talk with people. It’s just a muscle you have to train and use daily. Also, I have noticed that things can change pretty quickly if you throw yourself into a challenging environment.

  128. you see i have alot big goals that ive set for myself like doing an excellent result to get a good scholarship and get into a big university but procrastinationn is my bigget problem
    i ve tried everything to avoid it but it doesnt work for me
    i have my o level exams next year and need o study hard for them. All of my friends work hard and do well except for me ……….help please?

    • If you have a true goal, or even a vision, there will be nothing that stops you from doing what is necessary to reach that goal. Not even procrastination.

      Make yourself clear that you will not reach your goals if you are not able to overcome the procrastination obstacle. If you continue to procrastinate your ability to accomplish your desired goals will be highly affected. Don’t allow this to happen.

      But why do we procrastinate? One reason for this might be constant interruptions that keep us from starting. So if possible, try to eliminate all kinds of distractions just to avoid being interrupted. Secondly, you will have to force yourself to start studying. What it takes is this initial willingness to start and to continue doing what you do. It sounds easy, but the best advice is to just start and not to interrupt.

    • There are two aspects tool increasing your concentration. The first one is to eliminate all kinds of distractions as good as you can. Nothing should be distracting you at all when you study. Secondly it is also important to train your mind so that you can increase your level of concentration. This can be done through meditation or similar mind exercises.

      Regarding your time management issue, sometimes it is best to prioritize all your activities, so that you can leave out the unimportant stuff. Sometimes while you are in your exam preparation it is recommendable to put more of a focus on your study materials instead of your leisure activities.

  129. Hey, i just wanted to say thank you so much for putting the effort of posting this! I usually never comment on websites but damn yours is pure gold! It hit me in all the right places , so thanks!!!! Xx

  130. Steve

    This is brilliant. Teachers should should encourage their students to follow these guidelines. It is very well thought off and I appreciate you for sharing these ideas. I will highly recommend this article not only for students but for everyone to read.


  131. Hey! I loved your article. I am presently pursuing English Literature and I really love my course but, the problem is that whenever I think of picking up a book, I am distracted by some or the other thing. In addition to that I have another weak zone which is my writing skill. I really wish to score well but my professors advise me to write answers in a structured form because of this I loose a lot of marks and I really want to get on with my studies as it is my final year in college. Please guide me, Thankyou.

    • First of all, when you study, do it in an environment that is distraction free. This means that in this room should be nothing else than your table and your study materials. No television no nothing. The second approach is that you need to train your mind to free yourself of distractive thoughts.

      About the second issue, always prepare a plan with a structure that details how you want to answer the question. Then address each individual point and formulate it.

  132. Hello, Sir..
    That was an amazing article..
    I have a problem that I can’t bring myself to study..
    It means I know that I have to study and how much it is important..
    but I just can’t go and sit at study table to study..
    even though the exams are around the corner, I will always find myself studying at last minute..
    I really do know that it is wrong.. but I couldn’t help it..
    and I failed to achieve what I wanted..
    This even caused my parents dissapointed..
    I really feel bad causing them this..
    Is there anyway you could help me sir?

  133. Hi, I’m a constant procrastinator. Now in college I keep procrastinating that I also can’t submit my projects. It’s been piling up. I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to fail. It’s just I feel like my head is heavy every time and when I make a mistake, I can’t seem to learn from it and move on.

    • The most obvious advice is to of course not even begin procrastinating things, so that things do not pile up on your desk. But as soon as things start to pile up you need to shift gears to work yourself out of the situation.

      Procrastination is a big issue. But have you asked yourself when and how this kind of procrastination is created? In most cases we procrastinate either because we are not enough focused on our studies or not enough motivated to complete all tasks.

      Another issue that causes procrastination is willpower. If your will is not strong enough, your mind will allow excuses to prevent it from doing what needs to be done. Make sure not to allow these kind of excuses. Instead, suggest self at the table eliminate all kinds of distractions and just do what ever you need to do. Do not allow excuses to waste your important time. Sit down, and just do it. Just start studying.

  134. A Good article about how to inspire understudies. Be that as it may, I have a question that if the understudy is great in a few subjects and he is not able to adapt up to a specific subject and because of this it is influencing his profession. So at this specific time what guidance or how we ought to handle such sort of understudies furthermore there are numerous understudies confronting such issues.

    • I hope I understand you correctly, are you asking what students can do if they struggle in one subject, even though they are successful in most of the other subjects?

  135. Hello sir,I m in a great problem.I was a very student from my childhood,but as I m growing I m lacking of motivation,I have all seriousness about studying.

    I have a big goal,I really want to succeed.My exam are very near,I don’t have much time left this making me more nervous and lack of confidence.

    Please give me some suggestions about studying at this last time and how to stay motivated.
    I would highly appreciate if you give some suggestions,thank you.

    • Great that you have already set a big goal. So try to focus all your attention upon this goal, instead of focusing your attention on that which is not so pleasurable: studying. So this means whenever you are confronted with something that you’re lacking motivation to do, remind yourself of your goal and know that you are doing all these things only because you want to accomplish your goal. This should help you to stay motivated for a longer period of time.

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