How to Stay Motivated with Coursework & Studying

Mark Barrow

Welcome to my ultimate guide on how to stay motivated with your coursework and study at university. Maintaining motivation can be challenging, with information overload, monotony and fatigue, plus external pressures and distractions. But fear not! I’m here to help you conquer these hurdles. In this guide, I’ll provide practical strategies to set clear goals, create effective study schedules, find productive study environments, and more.

It’s important to grasp that your future achievements are all riding on the work you put in right now, in this very minute, hour, and day. So, keep your eyes on the prize because, hey, you’re totally worth it! So, buckle up, take a deep breath, and get ready to unlock your full potential and achieve academic excellence while maintaining your sanity and enthusiasm. Let’s dive in!

1. Set Clear Goals:

Setting clear and achievable goals is a game-changer when learning how to stay motivated. A classic way of connecting your daily efforts to your long-term aspirations is to set SMART goals. They help provide a pathway that you can follow to achieve your ambitions.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Make sure that each goal you set meets all the below, and you’ll know you’re on the right track:

  • Specific goals provide clarity – be clear about what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable goals allow for tracking progress and determining when you’ve achieved them.
  • Attainable goals boost confidence – Set goals that are achievable and within your reach.
  • Relevant goals help keep you on track – Ensure that your goals are relevant to your overall academic objectives and aspirations.
  • Time-bound goals provide focus. Set a specific timeframe for your goals to create a sense of urgency and prevent procrastination.

When faced with daunting goals, breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks is the key to staying motivated. Success can made up of lots of smaller wins, which will help you feel like you’re making regular progress.

2. Create a Study Schedule:

A structured study schedule is a must for staying motivated. Say goodbye to last-minute cramming and hello to a stress-free study routine. With a well-designed schedule, you’ll maximize every study session, monitor how long you’re spending on each task and stay on track. Start as early as you can, and you’ll be golden.

To set a study timetable up, you can use a spreadsheet or a Word doc or simply the calendar on your phone. There are also lots of on-line study planners that you can utilise, e.g. &

3. Find a Productive Study Environment:

Your study environment has a major impact on your motivation and concentration levels. You can optimize your coursework and studying experience by:

  • Eliminate distractions by finding a quiet area and silencing notifications. Don’t let your housemate disturb you, that game of Fifa can wait!
  • Optimise lighting with natural light or a bright desk lamp.
  • Keep your study area organized and clutter-free.
  • Personalize your space with motivational elements and remove digital distractions.
  • Make sure you’re comfy.
  • Play calming background music.
  • Keep it fresh – Utilise the university library or quiet coffee shops.

4. Use Effective Study Techniques:

Upgrade your studying game with these powerful techniques:

  • Use the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused and productive by taking short breaks between sessions.
  • Engage in active learning by taking notes, discussing concepts with peers, and solving practice problems.
  • Employ spaced repetition to reinforce learning over time, preventing you from forgetting what you have read.
  • Practice mindful studying by being fully present and minimizing distractions.

Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you.

5. Stay Organised:

Organizing your coursework and studying is the key to unlocking stress-free success. By staying organised, you declutter your mind, manage your time efficiently, and avoid missed deadlines and panic.

Here are some tried-and-true techniques to help you organize your materials like a pro:

  • Utilize Folders and Binders.
  • Embrace Color-Coding.
  • Leverage Digital Tools – see our blog ‘Best Productivity Tools Every Student Should be Using‘ for some amazing online resources that will help raise your productivity levels.
  • Keep your study calendar up to date: note milestones, deadlines and exams.
  • Create a Study Resource Library: store digital or physical copies of textbooks, research articles, and online study materials.

Remember, organising your coursework materials is not just about tidiness; it’s about enhancing your study and maintaining motivation. Find a system that works for you, whether it’s a combination of physical and digital tools or an entirely digital approach. Experiment until you discover the one that resonates with your organisational style.


6. Seek Support and Collaboration:

Seeking support from classmates, professors, and university resources can make a world of difference in understanding how to stay motivated. Engage in group discussions, study with classmates, and gain fresh perspectives. Reach out to professors for guidance and clarification and take advantage of university resources.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey so form study groups with your friends or join relevant clubs and societies. Collaborating with peers is a game-changer for staying motivated and excelling in your coursework. By sharing ideas and perspectives, tackling challenging topics together, and providing mutual motivation and support, you’ll thrive in your academic journey.

7. Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care:

It’s time to prioritize yourself! Take a moment to unwind, indulge in some personal time. Oh, and don’t forget to nourish your body with something healthy. And guess what? A good night’s sleep is essential too. Trust me, when you wake up refreshed and energized tomorrow, you’ll be ready to crush it. So go ahead, give yourself the care you deserve, and get ready to rock it tomorrow!

8. Celebrate Milestones and Reward Yourself:

Don’t forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments, if you’ve followed my tips so far, there should be lots along the way. Rewarding yourself for a job well done will keep you motivated and celebrate your progress. Treat yourself to a favourite meal, indulge in a movie night or TV marathon, take a well-deserved day off, splurge on something special, or engage in your hobbies and passions. Reward yourself and see each one as a milestone towards your goals, a well-deserved break that will give your motivation a boost.

These are my best tips on how to stay motivated at uni. I get that feeling motivated all the time (or even just when you need it most) can be quite a challenge. But here’s the deal: the key is to train yourself to get things done even when motivation is nowhere to be found. Turn it into a routine, a habit, and watch the magic happen.

Granted, it won’t always be a walk in the park. Work can be a slog at times. But remember, you’re doing great! Trust me, in the future, you’ll look back and be grateful to yourself for pushing through those moments when the going got tough. So, hang in there and keep going. You’ve got this!