How to Study with No Motivation

Have you ever felt like you literally cannot be bothered to lift up your books to read? Do you feel like even thinking of reading feels like an insurmountable obstacle course? Days where you feel unmotivated are more common than you think. Here are a few tips to help you prepare to study when you don’t have any motivation to do so.

Exercise: A study performed by John Ratey showed that cognitive flexibility improves after just one 35 minute treadmill session at either 60% or 70% of maximum heart rate.

‘Shinrin-Yoku’: A Japanese concept of ‘nature bathing’ that claims that exposure to the forest and other natural environments has a calming and rejuvenating effect on the mind.

Vitamin D: Studies show that Vitamin D received predominantly from exposure to sunlight helps combat fatigue.


Specificity: Breakdown your target into a small, actionable steps. It helps if you’re able to pin down the exact task you’re planning on doing.  For example, if you want to study Modern India, you can break it down according to topics and then pick one that piques your interest-

9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. “Examine the various causes for The Revolt of 1857”

By focusing on that one task, we can cajole our brains into working on one single task and using the momentum we generate to carry us forward into our  subsequent tasks.


Study Space: One of the most useful things in a student’s arsenal is a study space. Create a space where the only thing that you do is study. Remember to walk away from your study space for eating or exercising or sleeping.

It helps to have a study space that located a small distance from your sleeping quarters. It is important to keep the space sacred. One of the things you can do when you’re low on motivation is to try clearing up your study space. It’s a low effort task that can help you gear up towards studying by providing a clean organized space to study in.


Study Ritual: It is important to set a small ritual you do every time you sit down to study. It can be as simple as clearing up your space before you start studying or mediating for five minutes or filling a bottle of water before you sit down to study. The important thing to do here  is to ensure that you consistently practice your ritual before studying. This will help you brain identify “Learner Mode” and adjust itself for your study session. It also helps to add small rewards at the end of your session for a job well done.


Productivity Tools: Use productivity apps to curate your time online. There is a chrome extension by name “Momentum” that will allow only a single task to be performed while you’re working. There is also an app that will block distracting websites called “Stay Focused” available as a Chrome extension that you can utilize as well. For your phone, there is an app called “Forest” which is an imaginative app that will incentivize you to grow a forest by not using your phone a set amount of time.

It is also important to bear in mind that a well rested mind is a mind that can focus intensely. So it is important for us to always make time each day for activities that you enjoy or side projects that make you feel excited and bring you joy.


Published by
Officers IAS Academy
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