*This article is probably most applicable to college and university students*
1. Turn off the television. It’s pretty hard to get excited about school when you’re favorite (or even not-so-favorite) television show is enticing you to sit and enjoy a relaxing time. Solution? Turn off the television and plan a time to watch the program online the next day. Multiple benefits include: more likely to get some work done, save some electricity, and experience minimal commercials when you watch it online. It’s a win/win situation!
2. Set the timer for online fun. I realize you need to check facebook, myspace, e-mails, and your favorite blogs (like this one). I definitely support that. As you know, though, it’s pretty easy to spend hours upon hours online and not even realize it. Solution? Set the timer on your cell phone for a reasonable amount of time, like 30 minutes. As soon as it goes off, get off that addicting website, and jump into your school work. The sooner your homework gets done, the sooner you can get back online.
3. Long or Short sessions. You know yourself best. Ask yourself: would I rather spend 5 hours Monday to get my work done for the week and 5 hours Thursday night to get my work done for the weekend? OR would I rather spend 2 hours each night (including either a Sunday/Friday night)? The benefit of long sessions is that it gives you stress-free days ahead, but it can be exhausting. The benefit of short sessions is that shorter seems easier, but it might feel more stressful as you’ll probably be finishing only tasks that must be done by the next day.
4. Drink some coffee (or anything with caffeine). I realize caffeine can appear as the evil drug that should be avoided at all costs. Simply put, it’s not. A caffeine boost will give you an extra bit of energy, will sharpen your mind, and will improve your mood. Those are 3 things essential to motivation.
5. Go with a classmate to the library. Having someone else around who is also working will increase your productivity. Why the library? You’ll be less likely to get chatty with the encouraged silence typical of libraries. Make weekly homework dates/meetings and reward yourself afterwards by going to the pub, or to get some (more) coffee, or playing some guitar hero with your buddy.
6. Why should I? List! Open a word document, and ask yourself only one question: Why should I do my homework right now? List every single possible reason you can muster. Don’t even consider reasons why you shouldn’t. Some examples: pass the class, be better than my slacker classmates, want to graduate, need the points, I might learn something, to prove to the professor I’m super awesome, to appear smart, because I can, I’m paying to be here, want to make a good impression for future recommendations, so I can stop worrying/thinking about it, etc. Make the list exhaustive. Now read over it a few times. This should create some positive energy toward your homework assignments.
7. Call a friend/acquaintance. There are two types of people you can call to get yourself motivated: slacker and achiever. Select a friend you know is financially struggling because they can’t get a decent job. Talking to them will likely motivate you to do your best in school for two reasons: 1) it’d be an insult to that individual to take your opportunity and screw it all away and 2) you don’t want to be in their situation. Another benefit to calling that friend is to offer some support to that individual – you’re not just here for yourself! The second type of friend to call is the over-achieving friend who is likely doing way better than you. These individuals motivate you for a couple reasons. You might think to yourself, if this person can do it, I definitely can. No one likes feeling inferior, so you’re likely to get that little push that says, get your butt in gear or you’re going to be looking up to this person the rest of your life.
8. Try some dorky and positive affirmations. I say dorky because affirmations seem kind of silly. But try it. As you’re sitting there run some incredibly positive thoughts through that stressed out brain of yours, like: I’m amazing, I can do this, I am smart, I am capable, I can pump this out in no time, and then repeat. Like I said, I know it sounds dorky and silly, but just do it for a minute or so as an experiment. You’ll likely be surprised at how much better you feel. And when you feel good and have a positive attitude, motivation is easier to find.
9. Do NOT use fear. I don’t want to include “not-to’s” in my lists, but occasionally I’m going to. Do NOT use fear. Yes, fear can be a great motivator. But using fear too often will only create more anxiety, stress, and negative energy. What do I mean by using fear? Thoughts like this: if I don’t do this, I’ll be totally screwed; I might flunk this class if I don’t do well. Those thoughts might be true, but it’s not healthy! You’ll feel better about doing your work if you surround yourself with positive thoughts and ideas about it.
10. Choose, don’t try. This item will probably appear in many lists. Do not try to get your homework done. Try automatically implies failure. You don’t try. You either do or you don’t. You either choose to complete your homework or you choose not to. When it comes to motivation, you can either choose to be a lazy bum or choose to be a motivated and kick-ass student. It’s your choice!
Have some additional ideas/thoughts you think could add to this list? Leave a comment!