Learning and Motivation

When I wanted to create the file for todays blog post, my static blog system told me, there’s already a post with the same post slug. That wondered me and I thought it must be an error. But it wasn’t. I already wrote about “lack of motivation” more than a year ago. That just shows how much I struggle with motivation.

At the moment I struggle a lot again. Currently I have to learn for exams. I already wrote my first exam a few days ago. Tomorrow is the next and three days after that is the third one. After that there’s a fourth, but for that I have a few more days to learn.

I really suck at learning. During the lectures I’m often distracted, because I think it’s boring what the professor is trying to tell and often they provide their slides to download, so there’s even less motivation to actually focus on the lecture and take notes. Most often I take no notes at all.

But when I’m home and learn for the exam (of course just a few days prior to it), I have multiple struggles:

First of all, I sometimes have understanding problems. Probably because I was distracted during the lecture or because it’s difficult stuff. I don’t really understand all of it and it takes a lot of time changing that. I need to go through all the slides multiple times, research on the internet, view YouTube videos on that topic to finally figure it out. That takes a lot of time and energy and also demotivates me.

Secondly, I have a problem with focus when learning. When I’m learning, I’m often not able to focus more than 30 or at maximum 60 minutes on the actual problem, before I get distracted and need a “pause”. Sometimes it’s not my fault to get distracted, because the neighbors child is crying very loud, but often a minor distraction is able to break my motivation.

My current strategy is to allow pauses. I try to focus for around half an hour, then give myself 20 minutes pause to relax and do something different and then focus again. Knowing I only have to focus a few more minutes (and not hours) somehow helps me to keep the focus a bit longer.

But I don’t have a plan yet on how I can improve the lecture situation next semester. I probably have a few less lectures each week, but hope the professors I will have can teach well. A reason why I often find it very boring is because some just read the text from their slides, speak during the whole lecture in a monotonous voice or talk about non-lecture topics most of the time. Nevertheless, I will probably also try to take notes on paper again to reduce interaction with my laptop which provides endless distraction.

What are you’re strategies for learning and motivation? I would love to hear your experiences! Send me a message.

20 years old student who writes about everything he cares about.