Let’s face it: no one likes to do homework, it cuts into our time with family, friends, and relaxation, not to mention studies that show too much homework can actually be detrimental to learning. Never the less, the appropriate amount of homework has amazing benefits to the learning process of any student, and while it can be a little tedious, a little motivation can go a long way.
But how do you motivate yourself to do homework?
Finding the motivation to do homework is all about creating a balance between efficiency and consistency. On some days, all we need is a nudge to get started, while some days we need a mighty shove just to get up and open a book. Either way, creating a system that works for you, not to mention having the right mindset, can greatly motivate you to complete all your work.
Start with the Right Mindset
As with most things, having the right mindset helps you stay motivated, even if it means being motivated to do homework! The right mindset includes staying away from negative thoughts like “I’m not really in the mood” or “this is too boring”. Yes, those thoughts might be true, but they’re not very helpful.
Instead, reframe that internal monologue into something more productive, like “I’m excited to do [insert activity here] after finishing my homework!” or “homework might be boring, but at least I’m learning something new!”
Remember: the learning process might not be fun now, but it will be in the future when you’re confronted with a situation that requires you to rely on stock knowledge, stock of which you build in your student years.
A great method to reframing your thought process into something more positive and productive is to stop seeing homework as a chore, but rather, as an activity that will help you achieve your future goals. Yes, it might seem mundane now, but always have your future in mind whenever you’re confronted with a challenge.
Most of the time, students don’t do their homework not because it’s too difficult, but because it’s tedious. So, think of it as that: a challenge that, while not always easy, is surmountable and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you get behind the idea that homework can give you that sense of pride and accomplishment, the ease of thinking positively increases incrementally. After all: achievement is an addicting feeling!
Listen to Music
Never underestimate the power of music: studies show that listening to music while studying can increase productivity, focus, and give students a positive vibe that will help them finish their homework faster and better than without music.
Of course, it needs to be the right kind of music. There’s no one playlist that will magically make you a better student: music is one of the most subjective forms of art, so make a playlist that helps you relax and be calm. It doesn’t matter what genre it is, as long as lowers your stress levels and helps you concentrate on the task at hand.
When listening to music while studying, keep the volume low: this is because the music is there to soothe you and keep outside noise to a minimum; it’s not supposed to be distracting. With this in mind, try listening to instrumental music; the lack of lyrics in instrumental music helps you focus on your studies rather than in the words being sung. You can try listening to classical composers like Beethoven or Mozart, but jazz and guitar music wouldn’t hurt either!
Set Goals and Reward Yourself
Finishing your homework gives you a great sense of accomplishment and the best way to do that is by turning your homework into a series of goals for you to reach. Once you reach a certain goal, give yourself a little reward! This reward can be anything from your favorite snack, to a small amount of time playing a video game or just taking a walk outside.
Many students use the Pomodoro Technique: it’s a time management technique that helps you chunk up your task (in this case, homework) into smaller, more manageable tasks. This technique is used by companies, factories, and yes, even students, to maximize their work while remaining fresh, focused, and motivated. To do the Pomodoro Technique, break down your homework into smaller tasks that will take around 25 minutes per task. At the end of each 25 minute task, take a short break, around 3 to 5 minutes, and then resume your work.
Once you get used to the idea of your homework as small challenges that pay off big time, it’ll get easier and easier to finish them!
Work Hard, But Not Too Hard!
Homework teaches students how to work hard, even when it’s outside school. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to slave away for hours on end. Not only is this cruel, it’s also bad for your learning: researchers found that not only does motivation drop after only a couple of hours of uninterrupted, intense work. In fact, scientists from Hiroshima University found that, while it might differ slightly from person to person, the best way to work is by working or studying for 52 minutes and then taking a 17 minute break.
This helps your brain ‘reset’ and helps it not be bogged down by something monotonous. During your 17 minute break, it’s best to stretch your legs, take a walk, or just do anything that doesn’t involve thinking about your homework. By the time your 17 minutes is up, you’ll find that you’re rearing to get back to work!
Remember: these times might differ from person to person. Some people might still be refreshed and quick after 52 minutes, and some people might take more or less than a 17 minute break. Find what works best for you, and try to work this into your reward system.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Goals
Sometimes, the tediousness of doing homework comes from the fact that students forget why they’re doing it in the first place. So, always remember why you’re studying hard: maybe it’s to get the best grades to get you into your dream school, or maybe it’s to keep your grades up so you can continue playing in your varsity.
Whatever your goal, always keep that in mind when you feel your motivation dwindling down. In the grand scheme of things, your homework is a very small hurdle that pays off in dividends in the future. With that in mind, reframe the idea of homework as less of an activity and more of a requirement for you to get one step closer to your dreams. It might not seem like much, but enough baby steps can get you to where you want to be eventually!
But Most Importantly, Don’t Give Up!
Finding the motivation to do homework might not be easy, but it isn’t impossible. The most important part of finding motivation is having the right mindset not just about homework, but about studying in general.
It might not make sense now, but homework does have plenty of benefits: it helps you build a stronger knowledge base for the future, it helps you focus, and most importantly, it teaches you responsibility. Think of it this way: your teachers are entrusting you to get work done without their supervision. Take it as an opportunity not just to get correct answers, but as a way for you to build character and develop positive values that will help you become a better person.
And if you tried everything and still can’t find the motivation, don’t be afraid to seek help! Talk to your parents, guidance counselors, even your friends. Sometimes, all we need is a gentle nudge to get motivated!