It’s hard to stay motivated to study on a good day – let alone during a global pandemic. In a
weird and unprecedented turn of events; social distancing, toilet paper hoarding and
widespread uncertainty has become or new social norms. In short, we’re all going through a
bit of a tough time at the moment. For those of you in Years 11 and 12, coping with this has
been made all the more difficult by the sobering reality that you still have the HSC to prepare
for. Recent changes to the way that schools operate have undoubtedly led to disruptions to
your usual study routines. In light of this, it is very easy to let a lack of motivation take over.
To stop this from happening, here are some practical tips and tricks to stay motivated during
this crazy time.
Separate your spaces
When you’re suddenly using your bedroom as a place to sleep, eat, study and now attend
school, it can get difficult juggling these different behaviours. Using one space for everything
means that you are subconsciously associating each of these different actions with the same
room in the house. This can lead to a lot of problems regarding your ability to easily transition
between them. Something as simple as staying focused whilst studying becomes very hard,
because instead of doing work, your mind is thinking about all the other ways you use the
space. This increases the likelihood that some bad habits will start to develop, such as being
easily distracted and constantly trying to multi-task. If finding separate rooms is not an option,
try to implement small changes to your physical setting. For example, spend your breaks
outside and keep your bed strictly a space for sleeping. Being conscious of using different
physical settings to sleep, study and relax is a smart way of removing some of the challenges
we face when it comes to staying focused and motivated.
Make to-do lists
Being able to effectively school from home requires a lot of discipline and organisation. These
are two qualities easily managed by keeping to-do lists. Constantly writing down your
homework, assignments and extra study tasks is a good way of making sure you stay on top
of your schooling. Lists are a great way of heightening the sense of satisfaction and
accomplishment you get when you complete a task. They function as a physical representation of your productivity and can therefore be used to further motivate you to keep
staying on track and completing work.
Get dressed in the morning and make your bed
Let’s face it, when it comes to trying to motivate ourselves to study, we’ll take all the help we
can get. It is very easy to fall into bad habits, but a lot harder to make good ones – so it is very
important that we take as many of the small wins as we can. Making your bed in the morning
and getting changed out of your pyjamas are really easy ways to do this. It allows you to start
the day off on the right foot, giving you some momentum to start ticking off other things on
your to-do list. Being able to study effectively from home has a lot to do with your mentality,
which is why completing simple tasks such as these are so important. The small sense of
accomplishment they provide can have a huge impact on your overall motivation to study. A
second (and very welcomed) bonus of this practice is that it also reduces the chances of you
falling back into bed before the day is over, which, for many of us, is always a win.
Try to keep a schedule
Another good way to stay motivated during this time is to try and keep some semblance of a
schedule. Organise your day in a similar way as your school timetable. This can help you
maintain some sort of routine and ensure that you are dedicating enough time to each of your
subjects. Remember to pencil in some time for breaks. Having periods dedicated to rest and
relaxation breaks up the monotony of the day, helping re-energise you so that you can
maintain a productive attitude for longer.
Use your friends
Although we are being encouraged to remain physically distant, now, more than ever, it is
important that we remain socially engaged. Use your support networks wherever you can.
Relying on your friends to help you stay motivated is a really good and easy way of making
sure you stay on top of your studies. Make class group chats or organise regular zoom calls.
Use them to discuss class work, go over assignments or to just check up on each other to see
how you’re all travelling. Work together to hold each other accountable. It will be a lot easier
to stay on top of things and to stay motivated if you’ve got a support network behind you –
especially one that is full of people in the same boat.
Applying some of these tips to your daily routine can help make motivating yourself to study
a little bit easier. Remember to be kind to yourself during this time. Be patient. Try to use
some of these techniques, but if you’re struggling to implement them don’t beat yourself up
about it. Do the best that you can do, that’s really all you can ask of yourself during this really
After some more advice? We’ve got you covered. Find more useful tips on how to survive
your HSC year here.
Jessica is a first-year university student completing a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies (Media and Communications). Having completed the HSC in 2019, she is no stranger to the daily struggles of the current high school student. When not writing, you can find her scouring the web for cheap flights or playing with her dogs.