Advice from the experts on how to focus while studying at home

From children doing homework to parents studying for a professional qualification to undergraduates studying remotely, the 21st century home has to double as a place of study more than ever before. Three million children are homeschooled in the US, while 98 percent of universities offer online courses. 

While there are obvious benefits to studying at home, there are some potential drawbacks, too. The most obvious is that while it is easy to make sure you put in the hours when you are in a classroom with a teacher or lecturer looking on, it can be another matter to stay focused on your studies when you have to rely on self-discipline. 

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Having an ergonomic desk and study space is a vital first step to make your learning environment comfortable and somewhere you want to spend time. But there are tips and tricks for staying focused too. We’ve sought advice from some experts and asked them to share their knowledge. 

What are the first steps for students struggling to find study motivation?

The most effective thing you can do is to actually create a habit out of studying. To do that, the first step is to actually schedule beforehand when you will study. If you keep it at approximately the same time every day, then quickly you will find yourself easily sliding into studying mode when that time comes.

The second thing you need to do is to create rewards to associate this habit with. The more that you repeat this process, the easier it will be. Dimitris Gkiokas, Researcher and Founder at The Metalearners

Woman beside her cat studying at home in front of laptop

Can self-discipline be learned?

Self-discipline is not an innate skill that only a select few possess. It's a learned behavior that almost anyone can develop with practice and the right strategies. By putting these tips into action, you're on your way to becoming more disciplined:

  1. Define your goals with clarity
  2. Be honest about your limitations
  3. Prioritize and plan as best as possible
  4. Break down goals into smaller, actionable steps
  5. Find accountability partners 
  6. Reward yourself for progress
  7. Have a plan B (if you need one)

Becoming more disciplined is like building muscle—the more you work on it, the stronger it gets. Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA, Chief Clinical Officer at Calm

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