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I am an IT professional. I am working as a developer for last 5 years. Along with this I am pursuing a degree course in distance learning. Due to this job I get very few hours daily to study (maximum 1-2 hours/day) and a full day on weekends. However whenever I take book on my hand and start reading, within few minutes (yes minutes!) I lose interest in it and start non productive works (i.e. playing games, Facebook etc.) by thinking that I will fresh start by tomorrow or by this weekends. And this is now my routine. It's my last semester to complete but still I am not able to study sincerely.

How can I motivate myself to study sincerely and complete the last semester?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you are losing interest, that means you are putting emotions in the whole studying formula. Maybe it's the subject you don't like, I don't know that. For starting and progressing any, switch off how you feel about the subject, whether it is not interesting, or written in such way that it easily bores you.

Sometimes, how you feel about certain things can easily stop you from doing it even if it benefits you. So, the only way to do something that isn't interesting to you,the only motivation, is to do it for the sake of getting rid of it (passing exam). Obtain knowledge you need for exam, and once it's done, you are free to never look at it again.

It is hard to study sincerely if you don't like something, but you don't have to like everything you do. But, sometimes you get hooked midway....or not at all. Can't rely on feelings. Give that book a chance, persist in more minutes than you offered last time. Yours is to check and see if it matters that much how interesting it is. (I didn't like some exams either,neither classes that stretched over the whole day,and traveled back and fort every day, I just thought I don't have an option to get away from it,so I just,well, lived with it).

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Many would consider me an incredibly productive person: I hold a regular 9-5, participate in life until 8, and work on coding/personal projects from 8-midnight. I don’t sit down at my desk to work on my personal projects every night because I feel incredibly motivated. I do it mostly out of habit.

Although, having motivation can definitely help with trying to be productive, but feeling motivated does little in pushing you to complete your tasks.

Feelings are fleeting and unreliable. Being reliant upon motivation is a seductive pitfall.

When you feel motivated, those feelings don’t directly translate into action. Motivation generates a what-would-Bill-Gates-do and an image of yourself accomplishing the impossible.

It’s a broken mentality.

You associate the feeling of being motivated to getting things done all the while time comes to walking the walk, that other feeling called laziness convinces you to put your feet up rather than put your foot down. Guilt ridden, you wish upon a star to find that spark and beat yourself up for being lazy. And, that list of tasks keeps getting longer.

I do enjoy my daily routine and I have a clear purpose for sticking to it every day — to become a better developer, but I don’t depend on those feelings to kick me into gear. I believe a productive person is nothing more than a person with very good habits. Feelings wash over you the way the tide greets the sand: it comes and goes, but your habits are within your control.

Feeling motivated gives you a purpose. Having good habits give you the ability to take action.

So, here’s a plan of action:

  1. Learn not to associate feelings to task completion except in recalling the satisfaction of crossing them off your list with a big, fat, black marker.

  2. Set aside a couple hours every day to work on the tasks on your list and shut out all distractions. No, organizing your lint by size does not belong here.

  3. Keep it simple: don’t take on difficult tasks when starting out. Attempting to tackle big items on your to-do list will most likely deter you from actually finishing. Take out the trash, really, do it.

Eventually, crossing tasks off your list will become automatic — this is what you want: habitual productivity. Once you’ve established this habit you’ll get that addict’s itch to get back to your routine. And, if they try to make you go to rehab, just say no, no, no.

*Note: I originally posted this on my blog: Habitual productivity.

Co-author/Editor: Samantha Huynh

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"Being reliant upon motivation is a seductive pitfall....It’s a broken mentality." - I like this part so much I want to paint it on my wall. :) I hope you can give me an answer to one question. Were you always a person of habit (self disciplined) or did you develop it over time? I have question here related to self discipline and this answer gave me some insight. – user7522 Apr 27 '14 at 13:59
We are all creatures of habit. Too bad, I developed horrible habits during my schooling which became frustrating as a professional. I happened to pick up a book titled, The Power of Habit and the answer was as plain as vanilla ice-cream: consciously form better habits. Self discipline is like having someone follow you with a mirror, shaming you into shaping up. It takes effort because it requires cognizant control of your actions. For creatures of habit like us, simple repetition is as easy as 3.14. – Quinn Apr 28 '14 at 6:56

One of the tips my counselor told me is to "do it for 10 minutes long".

and then try keeping that 10 mins undistracted. At the end, you have an option to go on, or go do something else. as long as you started that 10 minutes.

Usually, people find themselves getting a hang of the task after 10 minutes, which allow themselves to dive in further. My roommate and I found it useful when we procrastinate. I hope it works on you too!

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Switch that 10 minutes to 25 minutes and you get the Pomodoro Technique ;) – Muz Apr 24 '14 at 14:07

It could very well be that the subject simply does not interest you. I would move on to something that you do enjoy. Something that makes you say "I'd rather be doing this than anything else in the world"

It could also be that there are some fundamentals about that particular topic that you do not understand as well as you should. It certainly makes me lose interest when I feel there are certain ideas or words I don't quite understand in a more advanced topic.

Try this test. Take the book you are trying to read and highlight any word or idea you don't understand. Write down the explanations for those words on a separate notebook. Once you adequately understand those words, go back and see if the original book holds your interest.

If it does then continue your study. If it does not ask yourself what you would rather be studying.

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  1. Try to picture the result. You are studying for a reason right? Could be a change of position, a raise... look at people who have done the same, what they obtain, are they happy, more respected? Take them as example, follow them on socials. Be aware of you goal, picture it whenever you need it.

  2. Try to make an habit, set specific times during the day and specific days and move to an environment that puts you in the right mindset. You could go to the nearest library or a cafè, maybe you'll get also to make some friends to make things a little less boring. PS, as @Muz suggested, I warmly reccomend the Pomodoro Technique

  3. Don't be afraid to fail, just jump back on the horse as soon as you realize a failure, like a missed day of study. Don't let yourself down because of failure, learning to "win" takes a lot of failures, you're not alone. Take a listen to the podcast at this page (below the article):

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I was also in the same situation a month ago when my friend asked to join him for combine study with fellow classmates after college in library because i am good in physics the group includes two of my crushes and now i am taking interest like ALOT ALOT ALOT interest in analytical geometry and calculus :D

So what i am trying to say is to add some motivation within your study periods,find some people having the same courses(including girls) yeah girls,ask them to explain it to you,get involved take part in discussion or get another plan replacing the girls.

this will keep you motivated and you will do well. ;)

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