Finding the motivation to study is one of the most difficult things a student has to overcome. Simply beginning is often the biggest hurdle. The next obstacle is learning to work smarter, not harder.

“Never do tomorrow, what you can do today.”

Over the course of 9 years, I have studied for a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, a Masters, a Graduate Certificate and other professional development certifications. Academia and studying have made up 1/3 of my life thus far and more if you want to count the years attending high school. The greatest struggle I encountered each and every semester was not my course content, workload or stress but procrastination. If procrastination were personified, it would have my face. Before I criticize it, I must say that procrastinating makes me incredibly productive in many other areas of my life and my creativity is probably at its peak during such waves of deliberate distraction but when it comes to studying your focus must be clear. A spotless house from top to bottom won’t comfort you when you receive exam results that don’t reflect your capabilities. A lesson I have learned on more than one occasion!

“Procrastination is the thief of time.”

I want to share some tips with you that I’ve learned over the years to help beat procrastination and focus on your studies.

Tip #1 – Lists. Lists. Lists!

Write down everything you have to do and check each one off as you complete it. A page full of check marks can be extremely satisfying but for goodness sake, don’t spend hours making the list your project, it is merely an aid to your main task!

TIP #2 – Eye-catching visual cues

Whether it’s the use of a planner, different colored pens or brightly colored paper, visuals are great for jogging your memory mid-exam.

TIP #3 – Study buddies

Surround yourself with friends who are driven and committed to their studies, you’ll have no choice but to be accountable in their company.

TIP #4 – Set realistic goals

Don’t be afraid to set goals and reward yourself for achieving them.

TIP #5 – Do your hardest work first

Anything after that will feel like a breeze and motivate you to do even more.

TIP #6 – Take breaks

This one may sound counter-intuitive but extended periods staring into space won’t help you either so take a short (5 minute) break when you feel yourself starting to daydream and get back to it, refreshed and ready!

TIP #7 – Forget FOMO

FOMO is a lie. Fear of missing out, we all experience it sometimes but there’ll be other parties don’t let it steer you off course. This is the time you won’t get back.

TIP #8 – Mute social media

I got 99 problems and they all stem from accidentally spending three hours on social media. Maybe even go so far as to remove the apps until finals are over!

“There are 7 days in a week and ‘someday’ isn’t one of them.” 

Ask yourself why you are where you are. Remember your post-college plans and what motivated you to start on this journey in the first place. Be comfortable with the fact that studying is not a waste of time but the sacrifice of small amounts of your time in order to achieve something greater. Most importantly, be grateful for where you are and proud of how you have done so far. Always, always remember that nothing worth having comes easy. In this case taking the easy way out won’t benefit you long term.

READY FOR MORE SCHOOL-RELATED INFORMATION, YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE POSTS: How To Stay Organized + On Task for School   |  Choosing The Right College Major


  1. I do quite a bit of these already and I still find myself procrastinating. I guess my main problem is the feeling of overwhelm. Makes me counter-productive.

    • madelynolsen

      Tanya, yes this is totally understandable! It can be really hard to beat procrastination when you’re feeling too overwhelmed.. Getting in the right head space is the best first step you can take to be productive.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *