How do I get motivated

13 psychological mini-tricks for more motivation while studying at home

by Tim Reichel

You loll around comfortably on your desk chair. You hold a cup of coffee in one hand and operate your computer with the other. Your favorite music is playing in the background. It may not look like that to outsiders, but: you learn. At the moment you are going through the lecture slides and summarizing the main content. Then you will memorize a few definitions and then go through a case study.

And all of this in your own four walls.

But that's so nice Study at home may be - studying in the home office involves some risks. Motivational risks, to be precise. Only at least the students manage to motivate themselves to study at the push of a button and then to stay focused over the long term. Most of them get distracted after a short time or don't even start because they lack drive and self-discipline.

Do I want to judge that?


I want to help - with this article.


Read the ass kick book grati s!


Learning at home: 13 psychological mini-tricks for more motivation

To make your future learning units at home more productive, today we are reaching into the psychological bag of tricks. I'll show you 13 simple mechanisms with which you can significantly increase and sustainably improve your motivation when studying at home. However, these psychological tricks not only help you motivate yourself to study - they also encourage productive habits and ensure that you use your time efficiently.

Then let's go!


1. Define a mini goal!

Many students know how important goals are - but unfortunately they misuse their goal formulation. Either they remain too vague or they dimension their goals incorrectly. The most common mistake in learning is making goals too big, something like this: “Today I'm going to study for 12 hours.” Such a goal is everything - just not motivating. For this reason, if you are listless, you should shift down five gears and define mini-goals, for example like this: “Today I will read 3 pages” or “Today I will write a paragraph for my thesis”. The smaller the target, the more likely it won't scare you off.


2. Keep two separate to-do lists!

To-do lists are a good thing in themselves: You can use them to outsource your thoughts, collect tasks and plan the rest of the day. Unfortunately, to-do lists quickly mutate into a reservoir of wild excuses that keep you from getting important things done. For example, learning. For this reason, you should keep two different to-do lists. On one list you write down all the tasks that have to do with your current learning project; the other list is where you put all your other to-dos together. Now you can proceed systematically: Only when you have completed a “learning to-do” can you take care of a to-do on the other list.


3. Think in steps!

Tasks that are too big have the same destructive effect on your motivation as goals that are too big. Therefore, get into the habit of thinking in steps. In particular, when studying at home, many students take on “big chunks”. Instead of working your way from subtask 1 via subtask 2 to subtask 3, write “solve all tasks” on your to-do list. With such a work structure, you can also let the learning be direct. Instead, learn step-by-step and break up large tasks into small, manageable portions. First step 1, then step 2, then step 3 and so on.


4. Link a reward to each sub-step!

Learning in steps increases your motivation especially if you link the completion of each sub-step to a reward. The reward does not even have to be big or particularly valuable - it is enough if you reward yourself with a positive mini experience for your work: A new cup of coffee or tea, a chocolate bar, a song from your favorite playlist or similar "little things" ensure that your brain associates positive feelings with your learning units. After a short time, you can establish new, productive habits in the home office in this way.


5. Make an appointment with yourself!

Learning at home is often chaotic and without a fixed schedule. As a rule, you start without a fixed start and end time. In addition, in most cases the duration of your individual study sessions will not be determined in advance. But precisely in this lack of commitment lies a great danger for your motivation when learning. Because of this, you need some commitment. Arrange one (or more) appointments with yourself and block a time slot in your calendar for your home study unit. If you learn in several stages, it is also wise to set a deadline for each sub-step. With this procedure you make it clear to your subconscious that you mean business and you are much more likely to comply with your own guidelines than without a corresponding termination.


6. Study for only five minutes!

It is particularly difficult to start with complex topics or longer learning units. But you can use the five-minute rule to break this mental block. You define a small, concrete task and work on it for only five minutes. Then you stop again and decide whether to continue or not. If after five minutes you don't feel like it anymore, you just stop and do something else or start a new attempt later. The trick with the five-minute rule, however, is that you are very likely not to retreat after five minutes. Most of them think to themselves: "Now I've started, then I can continue."


7. Use the countdown method!

Most people only know countdowns from New Year's Eve, from car races or as a starting ritual for an athletics competition. Regardless of whether you are counting down from a number or using a sequence of words like "On your marks - get set - go!": At the end of a countdown, the tension is released and an action is initiated. Therefore, you can also make use of this mechanism when studying at home. To do this, you first determine a specific task, then come to rest for a short moment and then start your personal learning countdown. When you have reached the end, you start - without hesitation - with learning.


8. Make a contract with yourself!

You can create an even stronger impulse to start by signing a contract - with yourself. Contracts are agreements set in stone; There is no clearer way to define your intentions. If you violate the contract or do not meet the agreed conditions, you are committing a breach of contract. You lose your face You become a common scammer who wouldn't even be trusted with their broken car. And it is precisely because of this formal and moral obligation that contracts work so well with motivation problems. Take one of your written goals, set the terms of the contract and promise yourself that you will achieve it at any cost. Make an official agreement out of this and sign it under your goal.


9. Avoid the couch and bed!

Many students take their laptops with them to the sofa and cuddle up in bed with their index cards in order to “study” there. But this - admittedly - cozy workplace stands in the way of concentrated thinking. The temptations to doze off for a moment, to play with the smartphone or to watch a series are too great. Your motivation doesn't stand a chance. Therefore, if you are serious about self-study at home, you should move your activities to a reputable place. So study at your desk or create an alternative workplace - without distractions - in another quiet place. Couch and bed, however, should be taboo.


10. Take off your sweatpants!

Not only your inner appearance, but also your outer appearance has a great influence on how much enthusiasm and confidence you go about your tasks. There is nothing wrong with a cozy feel-good outfit. But if you sit in front of your study materials like a bum, it can happen that you act as listless as you look. The magic of your lucky sweatpants is worthless in these situations. On the contrary, if you have serious intentions to study at home and you need strong, determined momentum, clothing that is too casual is a hindrance. If you dress like a hardworking student, you will act more like a hardworking student; and if you underline with your outfit that you mean business, you are much more likely to confirm this impression with the way you work.


11. Check out pictures or videos of students studying!

Do you know why many students study in the library or in public study rooms? Not because of the poor ventilation or the uncomfortable seating. They seek closeness to their fellow sufferers because they draw motivation from it. The presence of other people who also want to learn makes them productive. The atmosphere, the community spirit and the visual stimulus of learning people can have a motivational effect. You can also use this effect while studying at home - by looking at pictures or videos of hard-working students. Simply use the Google image search or watch a few clips on YouTube.


12. Organize a live connection to your fellow students!

You can increase the motivating effect that comes from other people by meeting your fellow students to study. You don't even have to leave the house, because thanks to modern technology you can set up a live link to your fellow students without much effort. Whether with FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or other digital solutions: With a few clicks you can meet to study and solve your tasks together. You don't have to work on the same topic or talk to each other a lot - it is enough if you can see or hear each other. Just the fact that someone is studying alongside you will increase your motivation.


13. Think about the result - not the process!

Often it is the process of learning itself that affects your productivity. An example of this. Many people don't like going to the dentist. I, for example. Not because my teeth are bad or I don't like the nurse - on the contrary. I don't like the process: the wait, the treatment, the two-hour-after-nothing-eating. Why am I going anyway? Because I like the result. My dentist takes care of my teeth and keeps my gums healthy. The focus is on the result. And that's why I accept the process. Many activities can be described in this way: Annoying work - great results. Therefore, this perspective can help you overcome your procrastination. Focus on the result. Focus on the end - not the process. Imagine getting a great grade, your parents crying with pride, and getting your dream job. And then start.


Read the ass kick book grati s!



Many students find it difficult to study at home. They allow themselves to be distracted, waste their time and only manage a fraction of what would have been possible. The reason for this is often a lack of or erratic motivation. But mostly small adjustments in your work processes are enough to keep you motivated Study at home to increase significantly.

For this reason, I have shown you 13 psychological tricks in this article that you can use to motivate yourself to study independently and without much effort. Here is an overview again:

  • Define a mini goal!
  • Keep two separate to-do lists!
  • Think in steps!
  • Link a reward to every step!
  • Make an appointment with yourself!
  • Learn for only five minutes!
  • Use the countdown method!
  • Make a contract with yourself!
  • Avoid the couch and bed!
  • Take off your sweatpants!
  • Check out pictures or videos of students studying!
  • Organize a live switch to your fellow students!
  • Think about the result - not the process!

Studying from home can be wonderful and bring out the most productive parts of you. You don't even need a lot of self-discipline to do this, just a smart plan and a little determination. Therefore: Try out one of the tips from above and start a short learning unit!

I wish you success.


Image: © Hello I'm Nik /