10 ways to make boring study more exciting

At the beginning of your first course, you’ll feel excited, nervous and probably also a little overwhelmed as you sift through the first lot of set tasks. After a week or two, you’re likely going to feel quite proud of the work you’ve completed so far and happy to get into more. Assuming your course is a lengthy one and everything’s going well, after a month, you’ll be finding a nice routine and feeling capable and comfortable with what you’re doing.

At around the six week mark, something might happen that makes you suddenly start procrastinating, deferring your studies in favor of going out with friends and – for some people – even quitting altogether. Call it a lack of motivation, a midway hump or blame external factors all you want, but those of us who have completed a lot of study know the real reason for this seemingly huge hiccup – plain and simple boredom!

That’s right – boredom can be a complete course killer if you let it. When the shiny novelty of learning something new turns into a realization that not all of your study is interesting all the time, you start to look at it as a task – a job – rather than something you look forward to each day. The time frames may change (and it may not occur at all with short courses), but this feeling usually hits just before the midway point, when you’ve got just as much yet to complete than you’ve already completed. Fear not though – we have a few little tips to help you make your boring study time into something a little more palatable...

Remember the end goal
You probably knew this one would be included here, right? Well, it goes without saying that boredom can be a symptom of lack of motivation, so keeping motivated will decrease your chances of boredom. If you get bogged down with a particular topic or study session, just keep reminding yourself what you’re doing it all for – whether it’s for money, a great lifestyle, to support your family or any other reason. Just like quitting a bad habit, before you know it, you’ll be over that hump and on your way to success again.

Refresh your study location
If you’re studying through Courses For Success, you’ll be completing an online course that’s accessible on your phone, laptop or tablet, so there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t take your study material with you anywhere you want. Getting away from your usual study space can make a huge difference – especially if you can find a great outdoor area to study in. Even better, fill all those usually boring activities – like catching public transport or waiting for an appointment – with study. That way, your study might actually seem really interesting, compared to what you usually do during these boring times.

If you’re not able to take your study out and about, you can instead change your study space by re-decorating it. Rearrange your desk, put up a few new posters or similar, buy some colorful new stationery or even change the colors on your computer desktop. As long as you feel like you’re in a new space, your mind will feel refreshed and invigorated.

Take plenty of breaks
This may be another tip where you’ll think “well duh, Einstein – if I’m taking breaks, I won’t actually be studying during them, so I won’t be bored”, but bear with me, because it’s more complex than that. Spacing out your study sessions has been shown – time and time again – to improve your ability to learn and recall information. There are a number of studied techniques for doing this, citing an equally large number of psychological functions to explain them, but it all boils down to taking frequent breaks between short bursts of study. Optimally, one hour of study with 15 to 20 minutes between each session is recommended, but it’s a good idea to test a number of time slots to see which one works best for you.

I always like to explain this technique by comparing your learning to the greatest learners in the animal kingdom… Babies. When a baby is learning, they do so in short, repeated bursts. For example, if you’re teaching your child to speak, or even toilet training your child, you don’t spend one whole day with them, going over everything there is to learn and then expecting them to know how to talk or use the toilet by themselves the next day. You teach them in small, manageable sessions. If you apply this same method to your own learning, your brain will be optimized for taking everything in like a sponge.

Mix it up
So, you’re trudging through a subject or concept that you just can’t seem to get your head around, but you know you’re not ready to take a break just yet. What do you do? Just stop what you’re doing and start on a new topic for a while. This creates some renewed activity in your brain, refreshing you for when you do feel up to going back to the original study. A psychological cleansing of the palate, so to speak.

Reward your efforts often
To do this, you can either give yourself a physical treat – like a piece of chocolate or something – after each block of study, or, you could reward yourself by doing whatever task you would prefer to be doing besides studying. For example, just say you were half way through you study session, when you needed to look something up; however, when you did, you noticed a new email that contains a list of sale items you’d really like to browse. Instead of saying “oh, I’ll just have a quick look”, reward yourself with it, after you have completed your session.

Bring in a study buddy
Almost everything seems more fun when you’re sharing it with someone else! Bring in a study buddy to share your learning and you’ll not only be less bored, but you can also motivate each other and have some fun competing to get tasks done. If you don’t know anybody who is studying at the same time as you, ask family or friends to help you study.

Teach others
Did you know you learn 90% of what you teach to others? It’s true! So grab the nearest person and let them in on every last boring detail of what you’re trying to learn. Sure, it’ll still be boring, but by breaking up your usual study routine and communicating with someone else, you’ll not only be making your study time less boring, but you’ll also be fast tracking the amount of time it takes!

Study while doing something else
Again, this breaks up your usual routine and involves studying while your doing anything but sitting at your desk. Some suggestions include running, riding a bike, driving or even horse riding while listening to an audio version of what you’re trying to learn. Sip a cocktail (not too many though) while studying on your back patio or by a poolside. Study while enjoying a delicious meal or during the ad breaks while watching Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. Whatever it is, you’ll be learning while simultaneously having fun.

Use your imagination
Sometimes I’ll read (in my head) my textbooks with a different accent. This just makes the study session a little bit more novel. Other things you could do in a similar vein include making up a song to remember key concepts, creating a recording of you reading the study material out loud or watching a film that revolves around your subject, then discussing key concepts present in the movie with a friend. In fact, anything you can do to make your study time more interesting is worth doing.

The CFS Team
Helping You Achieve Success

Since 2008 We Have Helped Over 500,000 People Learn New Skills

Get a FREE Career Planner