Here you will find free resources on how to study efficiently and effectively at university.
Self-discipline and motivation co-exist in a ‘virtuous circle’. One is fuelled by the other, and vice versa. Motivation comes from believing you are working towards something meaningful in your life. Yet some students have not really reflected on what it is that they really want from university, and life beyond that.
Hicks and Hicks (2004) describe the Place Mat Process, which is a simple yet powerful technique that encourages you to distinguish between what you can actually do today and what you really want to achieve longer term. You can see an example adapted for student life below:
At the beginning of each day, in the left-hand column, write a shortlist of actions that are realistically achievable for you. Write these in pencil so that you can erase them the following day, ready for a new list. Your aim is to be able to tick all those as completed by the end of the day. It is recommended to keep this list of daily tasks to six or seven at the very most, depending on the scale of the tasks.
As you work through the day, tick off each of the tasks as you accomplish them. Monitor how realistic your task-setting has actually been, and adjust your targets accordingly. This is crucial because your self-belief is bolstered by a solid sense of accomplishment from seeing a list of fulfilled tasks (see ‘To Do lists’ in the next section below).
At the end of the day, set aside a few minutes of quiet time to reflect on your achievements. Enjoy the sense of satisfaction from knowing that you have accomplished what you set out to do.
Once you have fully recognized your days’ achievements, look across at the values on the right-hand side. Slowly and carefully, remind yourself why these are so important to you – how they enhance your life. Each time that you engage in this exercise of deliberately focussing on your life values, you are embedding these more firmly into your consciousness.
Affirm, too, that the tasks you have undertaken today are leading you steadily towards those objectives. In this way, you also gradually embed into your unconscious mind the links between the left and right hand sides of the Place Mat. Each time you do this, you remind yourself that it is your personal values that are most important in driving your daily actions.
The Five Essential Skills are fully covered in Dr Sedgley's new textbook published by Macmillan. Packed with activities, student insights and model essays, Skills for Business and Management, will show you how to:
Concise, practical eGuides that explain simply and clearly how to meet the tutors' academic expectations at every level of business and management studies: