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Do you have so much to do?

Then you're not alone. Many students have a full to-do list and should actually start learning. But they do not get in the way. They can not muster up and, instead of studying productively, make excuses or watch the seventh repeat of a Simpsons episode.

They want to learn in principle - but they do not succeed.

If you find it so hard to start, and you can not manage to overcome yourself for learning, you can now get help. I have ten hands-on tips from for you that will make sure you get focused and motivated at the desk in no time.

Let's start with Tip # 0: Read on!

These 10 tips make it easier for you to start

If you have already realized that you should actually learn and you realize that the time invested will be worthwhile for you, you have already overcome the first major hurdle. Now you just have to overcome the annoying delay.

Often enough already a few small tips that make it easier for you to start. Here are ten suggestions, each with an application example:

  • Tip # 1: Become concrete!

As long as you do not have a clear idea of what your training session should look like, you are unlikely to bend a finger. You have to be specific and think about what and how you want to learn at all: Which subject do you want to occupy yourself with? What content is it today? Do you learn facts by heart or do you train your transfer performance?

Our brains hates surprises and likes clear, direct guidelines. Only when you have considered your approach and know what to expect, you can flip the switch in your head and more easily switch to learning mode.

Example: I will learn the definitions for module X and then summarize the slides 1-23.

  • Tip # 2: Throw your exaggerated expectations overboard!

High goals are good: they inspire you and make you grow out of yourself. But if your expectations of yourself are completely overdone and out of touch with reality, that will not take you one step further. Excessive expectations block you and destroy your motivation.

If you set yourself the goal of reading the entire book or going through all the exercises and understanding every last detail before learning, you put yourself under such pressure that you will not even start. Say goodbye to your unrealistic expectations and set yourself meaningful goals.

Example: I will read the first chapter of the book and write down all open questions. Then I go through the first three exercises and get an overview.

  • Tip # 3: Write down what you want to learn!

You already know two essential points for your learning success: First, you need a concrete plan and second, you should set realistic goals. To make these goals a binding action plan that you can implement, you should write down your learning goals.

So get used to writing down your goals. Very classic on paper. It may only be a small step - but it has a big impact on your chances of success. By writing down your goal, you give it a tangible form: you can see and touch it. And that makes it real. It is no longer a vague desire or imagination, but a binding goal.

For example, I am learning definitions for module X for half an hour today at 3:30 pm and then summarizing the first two chapters of the script.

  • Tip # 4: Make a contract with yourself!

After you have written down your learning goals, you go one step further and make a fool of commitment on top of that: you sign a contract. And with yourself.

Take your written goal and promise yourself that you will achieve it today at all costs. Make an official agreement and sign under your goal. The likelihood that you will comply with this agreement is much greater than with a loosely worded idea.

Example: I, Tim Reichel, will read the lecture script for half an hour today at 18:00.

T. Reichel

  • Tip # 5: Think in steps!

Big tasks have a demotivating effect before learning and make starting difficult. You can eliminate this problem by dividing up your task and breaking down into small intermediate goals. In doing so, you apply the "salami tactic" and divide all major goals into small slices or activities.

These are then done step by step until you have reached all mini-stages. In this way, you take the horror of the large, powerful student work and concentrate on the concrete measures. In this article, I'll show you in more detail how you can apply this approach in your studies.

Example: Divide your task (read the lecture script) into single, small steps. For example: The script consists of 5 chapters, each chapter has 15 pages and each page has 4-6 paragraphs.

Now you read the first paragraph. And then the second paragraph. And so on. Your mindset is now: Yay, I'm just reading a section and then I'm done. And not: Oh God, I have to read the whole script.

  • Tip # 6: Get out!

Can not you concentrate in the apartment because the neighbor kid is busy rehearsing the recorder? Or do you always find other employment at home that keeps you from learning?

In your own home, distractions lurk around every corner. Even if you are not looking for it, you will find endless alternatives, all of which are more exciting than the subject of your last lecture. But you can do something about it: go away! Change Location: Grab your learning materials and move to another quiet place where you can work undisturbed for a few hours.

Example: Sit in the library for reading or in an empty lecture hall. Or: You can go through your exercises or prepare for the next seminar in a public study room at your university.

  • Tip # 7: Find allies!

Your initial difficulties you get a better handle on when you stop fend for yourself alone and instead learn along with a few fellow students. A learning group can have a very positive effect on your motivation and kindle a kind of "we-feeling".

This group dynamic then makes you study more productively and consistently than before. In addition, your joint learning sessions become more binding because you can subconsciously control each other or help each other directly in case of problems.

Example: Search and determine for each module in this semester at least a learning partner and put a firm date to learn together firmly: Like this: With Tobias I meet every Wednesday at 15:00 for module X.

  • Tip # 8: Learn only five minutes!

If you paralyze the thought of a long learning units and your motivation destroyed, you can access and use the five-minute rule in the psychological tricks. In the five-minute rule, you set a small, concrete task and edit it for just five minutes. Then you stop and decide if you want to continue - or not.

If after five minutes you have absolutely no desire, then you just stop and do something else or start later a new start. The trick is that you're not likely to retire after five minutes. Most think in fact: "Now I have even started, then I can move on." This small but super useful rule I have devoted a whole article here.

Example: Read only five minutes in the book. Work on your resume for only five minutes. Repeat the lecture notes in just five minutes.

  • Tip # 9: Build positive pressure!

Working with pressure I think is really stupid. Unless it's positive pressure. Pressure that inspires you and brings out the best in you. And the easiest way to do that is to print it yourself.

For example, you can use the Rubicon method and make a small, irreversible storyline to start learning. You put the pistol on your chest, so to speak, and provoke that you give up your inactivity.

Example: Make an appointment with a learning partner for mutual learning progress control at short notice. Or: Bet with a friend that your resume is done by a certain date.

  • Tip # 10: Talk to yourself!

Are you one of those people who tell themselves that they do not feel like it and will not do this or that anyway? Yes? Then this is the perfect time to stop. If you tell yourself before learning how terrible it will be, you will never start and always find new excuses.

So put yourself in a positive mindset and talk yourself strong. In this article, I'll show you 50 ways to motivate yourself every day.

Example: I will be learning today for 30 short minutes. I'm working on my future and will be proud of myself tomorrow.


Almost all students find it hard to start learning.

Because starting is the hardest part of every task. But if you manage to catch yourself up and incorporate small, regular learning sessions into your daily routine, your success in studying will be almost automatic.

You do not have to reinvent the wheel of self-motivation, but you can use a few well-known tricks and concepts to make you steam yourself and overcome your teething problems.

Then it works with the learning.

PS: If you often struggle with motivation problems while studying, then I have a tip for you: the ass kick book! My book has already motivated thousands of students and it will also help you to get rid of your teething troubles once and for all.