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How can i motivate myself to self-study math/physics effectively? Am i too lazy?

  1. May 28, 2010 #1
    I have completed year 1.
    The science department does not offer summer classes and the only summer class i enroll is africa studies.

    :blushing:I am self studying this summer. But i have a problem of concentration. I often go to watch nba playoffs and youtubes after i have read through a few pages(though i am interested in that subject). When there is a choice between easy thing(say nba playoffs) and difficult thing(say differential equations), i 99.9% will choose to do the former. Why can some people be so motivated that they can stay at home and spend most of the day solving problems and read difficult books?

    :confused:So i waste a lot of time in entertainment. Worse still, my study method is that i only read the books but i don't have the motivation of practising the problems as they are much more difficult than reading. Therefore i find my productivity in self-study only about 5% of the time when i took my classes and have assignments to do.

    :frown:I try to make some study plans but they do not work because i found watching nba playoffs more satisfying than fulfilling the study plan(of course i now regret it). I have no competitions or internship to join this summer. How can i complete a math/physics course(say differential equations)in this summer by self-study without the stimulation/motivation from the outside world? It seems that i only work hard when there is someone to compete with.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2010 #2


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    Welcome to real life, self-motivation is a tough nut to crack. Personally, my source of self motivation is experience in being unprepared in a course and then going on to do fairly poorly in it. In the grand scheme of themes, you can always remember that being lazy now just means you'll have to work even harder later.
  4. May 28, 2010 #3


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    It sounds to me like you're trying to advance yourself through brute force. Sure it would be nice in some ways if people could all use their spare time to punch through the more difficult course work and get ahead academically, but for most it doesn't work that way.

    Personally, I think you should use the summer for projects that will help you develop some skills. Rather than self-studying your way through a course textbook, why not try:
    - writing a few computer programs,
    - work on some small electronics projects
    - read some popular science books or biographies of scientists
    - try reading some journal articles
    - attend some public lectures
    - volunteer to work in a lab.

    The point is, if spend your spare time doing something you enjoy, rather than gruntwork you believe will help you in the future, you'll get a lot more out of it and find you will find it easier to stay focussed.
  5. May 28, 2010 #4
    I like Choppy's suggestion. However, if you do want to get through that book on your own steam, then you need to make out a schedule like you would for school. Figure out how much you need to study each day in order to finish before classes start and stick to that! It's your goal for each day. Set aside an hour or so and for that one hour you are somewhere where there are no distractions. For that hour the TV is off, the computer is off, your school book is it. Then, go do something else fun for 15 minutes. Then do another hour. You don't want to be burned out when you start back in the Fall, so only do that for a few hours in the morning or afternoon. Do fun projects for the other half of the day, like Choppy suggested, especially where you are DOING something, not passively watching something someone else has done.

    Those are my thoughts. Good luck!
  6. May 28, 2010 #5
    Whatever you do, make sure you do a few minutes (15-30) of actual, proper, block-everything-else-out study a day.

    You'll end up doing more than that. It's a small percentage of your spare time, either way.

    Do you enjoy doing problems that are at your level? Like, just to see if you can, or for whatever reason it is that people enjoy doing problems.
  7. May 28, 2010 #6
    If you really want to focus,you need to find a place where there's no television,no computer or other things can distract you.

    Maybe university is a good choice.I plan to stay in our school this summer and learn by myself.I will go to library to learn in daytime,there's no distractions there,what I can do is only focus on the studying.Then learn some hours during the night,then go to dormitary to play computer or watch something interesing.

    Hope it will help
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