3 Study Hacks for Unproductive Days

This is a guest article by AnneMarie.

Ever had one of those days when you can’t get anything done?  Maybe you started out the day with the best intentions, and are now finding yourself scrolling through Facebook, raiding the refrigerator, and avoiding any eye contact with that pile of textbooks on your desk.

I’ve had my fair share of those days.  But…I firmly believe that even a day like that can be salvaged.  In fact, forget salvaging–why not turn that day into a win?  Here are my 3 favorite study hacks that help me turn my day around when I’m just not feeling it.

Reward yourself

I like to set up a series of bribes rewards to get myself motivated.  They can be as small or gigantic as you like–just keep them attainable.  Tell yourself that if you complete a specific task (study for the next half hour without checking social media, get that paper completely written by dinner…) you can treat yourself to ______ (a piece of chocolate, a solo dance party, etc.).

The key is to keep it strict.Sorry, but you don’t get chocolate for writing your paper if you only wrote half your paper.  However, if you did get it done…honor your self-agreement!  Enjoy that chocolate. Because you know you earned it.

Change up your scenery

Recently, I needed to get a class done lightning fast, but just couldn’t motivate myself to sit down and get it over with.  This is when the local coffee shop is a lifesaver.  You can’t really get up and go for a walk or vacuum the stairs or floss your teeth when you’re sitting at a cafe table with just your class assignment and your brain.

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Even better, tell yourself you will not leave until you’ve completed your assignment.

Maybe it’s the opposite for you.  If you regularly study at a coffee shop, or if it’s part of the reason why you’re distracted and bored, try studying at home.  Just make it different.  If you’re clear with yourself that it’s a special, set-apart time, you’ll be less likely to let other tasks infiltrate.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have

Having trouble getting yourself motivated while wearing fluffy socks and sweatpants?  I love this hack.  Dress up in professional attire, like you have your dream job and are working in a real office like a real grown-up. Take it as far as you like–tie, heels, suit…the works.  I find it really important to clean off my desk and surrounding area, because what office has an apple core and dishes from last night’s midnight snack lying around?

I know it sounds silly, but sometimes if you’re looking for motivation it’s a lot easier to find when you’re wearing a suit, not sweatpants.  At the very least, it’s a change of pace that can infuse your day with the energy you need.

AnneMarie enjoys stories, coffee, metaphors, wasabi-coated seaweed, baseball, world-challenging concepts, and hockey (to name just a few).  She’s been exploring the world of creative writing since the age of 5, and loves to witness brilliance in all forms of storytelling, including TV shows, books, movies, and comic books.  She began her Unbound journey in 2014, and is preparing to complete a BA in English through Thomas Edison State University.