Chapter Activities – Staying Motivated, Organized, and On Track

Chapter Takeaways

  • It’s important to have short-, mid-, and long-term goals that are specific, realistic, time oriented, and attainable. Goals help you set priorities and remain motivated and committed to your college success.
  • Attitude is the largest factor determining success in college. Work to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people, and you’ll find you are motivated to carry out the activities that will help you succeed in your courses.
  • Planning ahead, and then following your plan, is the essence of time management. Organize both your space and your time to develop the best study habits. Learning strategies to stay on track, avoid distractions of people and technology, and to prevent procrastination will pay off not only in college but also in your career thereafter.
  • Plan your use of time based on your “time personality” after assessing how you typically use your free time. Then use an academic weekly and daily planner to schedule blocks of time most efficiently. Start well ahead of deadlines to prevent last-minute stresses and problems completing your work.
  • Because many college students have significant time commitments with work, family, athletics, or other activities, time management techniques are among the most important skills you can learn to help ensure your success.

Chapter Review

  1. Describe the characteristics of well-written goals.
  2. List at least four or five things you can do to develop a positive attitude.
  3. What have you personally found helps motivate you to sit down and start studying?
  4. Describe the most important characteristics of an effective study space.
  5. How can you prepare for unplanned interruptions while studying?
  6. After you have analyzed how you typically spend time and have blocked out study periods for the week, you may still have difficulty using that study time well. List additional time management strategies that can help you make the most of the time that you do have.
  7. If you find yourself procrastinating, what can you do to get back on track?
  8. What can go wrong if you try to micromanage every minute of the day?What should you do, instead?
  9. Realizing that any action repeated consistently and frequently will soon become a habit, what should you do with your academic planner every day and every week to establish a strong habit that will help ensure your success in all your college courses to come?

Outside the Book

Make seven copies of the “Study Journal” page following. Near the end of the day, every day for the next week, spend a few minutes reviewing your day and writing answers to those questions. At the end of the week, review what you have written and summarize what you observe about your study tendencies by answering these questions:

  1. Did you usually get as much, more, or less schoolwork done as you had scheduled for the day?  If you got less done, was the problem due to scheduling more time than you actually had, or not making effective use of the scheduled blocks of time?
  2. List the steps you will follow to make your scheduling process work better next week.
  3. What other things did you do repeatedly during the week when you should have been studying?
  4. What were the most common distractions (people or other interruptions) during the week when you were studying?
  5. List ways you can control your study space to avoid these activities and prevent these distractions next week.
  6. Do you see a pattern in the activities you least enjoyed and had difficulty getting started on?
  7. Review Chapter 2 “Staying Motivated, Organized, and On Track”, Section 2.2 “Organizing Your Space” and Chapter 2 “Staying Motivated, Organized, and On Track”, Section 2.3 “Organizing Your Time” for specific strategies to use to stay focused and motivated. Make a list here of five or more things you will do differently next week if studying becomes difficult or less enjoyable.

Study Journal for Date:

  1. My daily planner had scheduled ______ hours of academic time today (not counting time in class). It turned out that I actually spent about ______ hours on my studies.At some times I was scheduled to study or do academic work, I was doing this instead:
  2. The academic time I most enjoyed today was doing:    I enjoyed this most because:
  3. The academic time I least most enjoyed today was doing:   I enjoyed this least because:
  4. I had the most difficulty getting started on this study activity:   Why?
  5. I did my studying and other academic work in these places:
  6. During the time I was studying, I was interrupted by these people:Other interruptions included the following (phone calls, e-mail, etc.): 

Make an Action List


I have not yet set realistic, specific, and time-oriented goals for the following:


In the coming weeks and months, I will think about and clarify these goals:


Planning Ahead

Too often in the past, I have not started early enough on these kinds of school assignments and studying:


To ensure I successfully plan ahead to complete all work on time in the future, I will do the following:



I have most difficulty maintaining a positive attitude at the following times:


I can do the following things to “adjust” my attitude at these times to help ensure my success:


Focus and Motivation

When I’m not feeling motivated to work on my studies, I often do these things instead:


I will try to use these strategies to keep motivated and focused on my studies in the future:


Study Space

I have the following problems with the places where I usually study now:


I will make the following changes in my study space (or I will try these new places) to help prevent distractions:


Time Management

I often feel I don’t have enough time for my college work for the following reasons:


I will start using these techniques to make sure I use my available time well: