A lot of the time when students sit down to study they feel like they’re about to climb Mount Everest. A long and painful time awaits them…
This is hardly an inspiring circumstance to be faced with. It’s easy to see why a lot of teens are suffering from the motivation blues.
Unfortunately, the victim of the motivation blues is almost always productivity.
It’s incredibly difficult to engage in a productive study session if you’re not feeling motivated.
So, how can we fix this?
We’re going to take the task that feels like Mt Everest, and give it a make-over so it now feels like a brisk walk. (Not ‘a walk in the park’. Any productive study session requires some effort.)
Here’s what your teen needs to do.
Instead of thinking they have the daunting task of revising 10 weeks of class notes (yuck), your teen needs to set themselves just one meaningful task. Only one.
This could be:
– Making their own diagram of cellular respiration
– Drawing a force diagram for physics
– Solving 10 quadratic equations
– Making an essay plan for the novel they’re reading in English
– Reading the instructions for an assignment they’ve just been given
– Attempting a past exam to test where they’re at
– Making some flash cards for one of their subjects
– Whatever your teen can think would be a useful task to complete
Instead of staring at their desk or computer screen for two hours, your teen has just powered through a productive study session in which they completed a meaningful task that will directly contribute to them getting better grades this semester.
They’ve completed a task in half the time it would have taken them had they not set themselves this one manageable goal.
They took a task that seemed virtually impossible to complete, and broke it down into manageable chunks.
And the added bonus…
Not only will your teen have engaged their mind to complete a tangible goal, they will feel good about having achieved something.
It’s very satisfying to tick something off the study ‘to-do’ list, and this is a powerful motivator for wanting to keep going.
How this works for me
Breaking my study down like this into manageable chunks is the way that I like to study normally. Like your teen, I would feel extremely low at the prospect of having an infinite number of study-hours ahead of me. But if I set myself a manageable 1-2 hour task, then that’s all I have to focus on for that time – I put can in the energy and effort the task requires without feeling overwhelmed.
Once I complete a task I usually have a break – make a cup of tea, have a squiz at what’s going on in the world – then I’m ready to launch into the next task. How much study your can teen do in a given time will depend on them. But if they structure things so that they study in these task-based chunks, they should at least be studying productively.