You sit at your desk, pull open your laptop and flip through your textbook ready to learn. But, you lose focus and struggle to make any progress. This keeps happening and it’s stressing you out. Now, you keep asking yourself the same frustrating question, why can’t I study at home?
You can’t study at home because there are too many distractions and disturbances preventing you from focusing on studying, you don’t know how to study effectively or you are not prioritizing it.
Additionally, most of us tend to associate our homes with a safe haven for relaxation and comfort.
When you suddenly attempt to do something that contradicts the tone and feel of an environment, you’ll often experience a problem in focusing and adjusting to the change.
The good news is that you can absolutely fix this issue with a few tweaks and life hacks.
When I finished school, I opted to study via correspondence.
This meant that I was only required to attend a handful of lectures for each subject and the majority of my studying could be done remotely.
This is something a lot of University and school students are faced within the last 2 years given that Covid has taken the world hostage.
Back to my own story, I struggled in my first year of studying law.
I was only able to focus for a maximum of half an hour at a time before giving up to watch TV, play on my Xbox or chat with friends and girls on my phone.
Expectedly (well, at the time, it was unexpected to me), I failed 2 of my subjects in my first semester.
I was absolutely gutted.
But, I penned it down to the subjects being difficult.
The next semester arrived, I made a subtle change by actually studying a few days before a paper instead of the night before.
I failed 2 subjects AGAIN.
My heart sank when I saw my results. Never in my schooling life have I ever failed anything and yet here I was having back to back failures
Something had to change, immediately. I needed to fix what I was doing or else my hopes of getting a law degree would be shattered.
I started researching techniques for studying that were designed to help me remember facts better, to break down difficult concepts into their simplest form and note-making that was actually useful.
Now, I had all the tools I needed for success. But, I still couldn’t focus. Something was wrong outside of me.
And then it dawned on me.
I was studying in my room which overlooks our garden.
Additionally, everything about my room was to encourage gaming, relaxation and fun.
Once I was able to fix that problem, my ability to focus on studying at home drastically improved and I never failed a subject since that first year.
40 modules later, I graduated!
Everything I’m about to share with you on this topic of why can’t I study at home is based on my own experience. These tips work and are effective as long as you are willing to make some changes.
So, with that being said, let’s discuss the ways in which you can study at home.
P.S. I’ve written a book that has everything you need to know about studying. From principles of research to getting distinctions, it’s perfect for someone who is studying from home. Click Here to check it out on Amazon.
1. Develop a routine
Just because you have the freedom of flexibility doesn’t mean you should do whatever you want whenever you want.
This mindset of winging it through your day will prevent you from prioritizing what’s important.
Furthermore, it will give you far too many options to avoid studying. What I’ve come to realize is that when you give yourself too many options, you’ll have a hard time choosing that which requires the most effort.
Studying requires more effort than watching TV or playing a game.
Also, the human mind is extremely susceptible to patterns. This is why building habits is such a popular topic.
From experience, I can assert that habits are best developed via routines.
What is a routine?
Essentially, it is a set of tasks to be completed in order of importance at a specific time regularly.
In time, this system becomes your routine.
If you don’t prioritize studying to a specific block of time in your day on a regular basis, you never will.
Daily studying has been proved to yield the best results.
Choose a time and a specific duration for which you will dedicate to studying. Every day, at that time, sit down to study for however long you plan to.
Additionally, place an activity before studying that becomes a part of your routine.
So, when you accomplish that previous activity, your mind and body will automatically transition into study mode making it easier for you to study at home going forward.
Every day, I wake up at 8 am, I start working at 9:30 am – 11:20 am, I exercise from 11:20 am to 12:20 pm, shower and have lunch at 12:30 pm, I resume working at 1:30 pm, so on and so forth.
This is a general breakdown of my routine right now and it works for me.
No matter what, I work and exercise daily. These are my two most demanding but important tasks for the day.
Irrespective of any change in the environment or circumstances, I will always make time for those two activities.
Similarly, you need to add studying into your top priorities for the day, set a specific amount of time for it and add it to your routine.
Related post: What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle?
2. Optimize your environment for studying
When you spend over a decade programming your mind to leave home in order to study, it’s jarring to switch over to at-home studying.
This was definitely a learning curve for me and I struggled at first.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of picking a space conducive for intense studying.
What I decided to do was change the layout of my desk.
I rearranged a few things so that my desk was no longer a gaming station but a minimalistic space designed to help me make notes, read textbooks and so forth.
I tried to make sure that it was positioned in a well lit area.
At night, my overhead light was not bright enough so I opted for a desk lamp as well which properly lit up my study space.
No longer did I play games at that desk.
I only used it when I needed to study and after some time, my brain started to associate that desk and section of my room as a zone for hard work.
Eventually, in time, I was able to recreate a ‘schooling’ mindset in a space within my small room.
So, irrespective of where you choose to study, make sure that it’s well lit, properly ventilated, easy to access, roomy enough for you to work and it’s not occupied by other people or things.
3. Remove temptations and distractions from your surroundings during study sessions
I noticed that when I used to study in the kitchen which overlooked the lounge, I was easily distracted.
My family was often walking around the place, we had frequent chats, the TV was on and outside noise seeped through the walls.
Something that should have taken me a few minutes to learn would take me up to an hour.
When I started studying in my room, it was near my window which overlooked the garden.
Some people prefer a view whereas I found myself lost in thought watching the trees and plants sway with the wind or the sound of rain calming me to the point of falling asleep.
Additionally, my phone was always on my desk, lighting up every few minutes with a new notification or message.
Everything was designed to grab my attention.
Only when I repositioned my desk, got rid of posters and replaced them with a vision board, cleared out my desk and kept my phone as well as other gadgets in my cupboards was I able to truly minimize distractions and disturbances to the points of actually being able to study for extended periods of time effectively.
4. Be disciplined
“I thought I’d solved a problem when really I was creating new ones by taking the path of least resistance.”David Goggins
At some point, you have to address an internal problem that prevents you from studying at home.
As much as I could blame my circumstances and lack of preparation for studying in different environments, the real problem was my inability to remain rigid and disciplined with myself.
My mind was completely wired for instant gratification.
Rather than spend an hour studying, I would have preferred playing a game or being on my phone because that offered me instant gratification and a hit of dopamine.
But, by doing this, I sacrificed something incredibly important and that was work ethic.
As a student, irrespective of your age, it is imperative that you have a vision for the future.
Write down a set of academic goals that could reward you with things in the future that would make you happy and use that as a motivator to be disciplined.
It’s going to be difficult but as long as you continue to study on a daily basis, you will become more disciplined.
When I look back at my schooling years, the reason why I didn’t top my class was that I didn’t put in the same kind of effort as the kid who would go home and spend 3 – 4 hours in a shed studying and mastering the day’s lessons.
That kind of discipline and effort is what generates some of the best results you could ever imagine.
The esteem and opportunities you will create for yourself in the future by being disciplined now are enormous.
Struggle through this difficult phase, develop a strong work ethic and develop discipline by sacrificing some of your time and desires for your needs and goals.
I promise you, it will be worth it.
5. Avoid passive studying by being more proactive
When my only form of studying was to read textbooks, I hated it and was easily swayed to do something else.
It was so boring and mundane.
The problem was that I never truly learned proper academic skills in school. I’m not sure whether that’s a flaw in the antiquated education system or not but it definitely impacted me in early adulthood.
This led me to research different forms of studying and examination preparation.
I experimented with different forms of note making which helped me highlight the most crucial information on each topic.
This led me to create acronyms as a means of remembering complex names, regulations and laws.
When dealing with complex subjects, I employed the Feynman technique which taught me how to break down a difficult idea into its simplest form.
This requires multiple breakdowns of explanations by asking certain questions in each phase.
These questions can be summarized as the 5 wives and 1 husband questionnaire – Who, Where, What, Why, When and How.
To remember long chunks of texts for essay-based examinations and subjects, I realized that it required me to constantly rewrite the same information a number of times and reading through it out loud over and over again.
Trial examinations and tests conducted by myself which mimic the time and conditions of the actual exam proved highly effective in my preparation.
This helped me to avoid being overwhelmed or blindsided by different forms of questions that could appear in the examination.
Studying is not limited to just reading a book.
Once you start implementing creative methods of interpretation and understanding, you’ll actually enjoy studying at home.
It will take some time but as soon as you make these changes and implement these tips, I’m more than certain that you’ll be able to study at home.
With that being said, I hope you found this article on why can’t I study at home to be helpful and insightful. Please share it with your friends and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.