Getting past the slump that comes from going back to school after holidays is hard. You’ve been spending all your time off sleeping in and staying up late. Naps become a regular part of your day during the holidays and not having to go into school every day means you can quietly ignore the fact that there’s work you should probably be doing. So how do you get your shit together and get motivated after holidays?

1. Sort out your sleeping pattern

School holidays are for late nights and massive sleep ins. I probably spend 80% of my school hols sleeping. It might be falling asleep in the middle of a series I’m binge watching at three in the morning, staying in bed until 1pm or heading down for a nap when the 4pm slump rolls around.

There’s nothing wrong with this; hols are the perfect time to catch up on all the sleep you miss thanks to early alarms and late bed times during the school week. But, once you head back to your school timetable you need to sort out your sleep schedule, otherwise you’ll barely be able to get through first period without wanting a nap. This is a big one when it comes to getting motivated, if you’re over tired you’ll never get anything done.

2. Organise ya shit

Get to Officeworks, grab a basket and load up with all the highlighters, sticky notes and fresh notebooks you want. Who cares if you know you won’t use them three weeks later; the point is organising yourself now will get you into gear just long enough to set up a study routine and organise your assignment deadlines.

The illusion of productivity is actually pretty good in helping you sort yourself out, at least for a little bit. After that, your routine will kick in and carry you through the rest of the term.

3. Get a routine again

Inevitably, you’ll start to get a bit of a routine together again once school goes back. You have to wake up at the same time every morning to make it to school on time and throughout the day you’ve got your scheduled classes to get you on track. It’s what happens after the final bell rings that you need to sort out, otherwise you’ll head home everyday, flop on your bed, and never get any work done.

Make a schedule for getting your shit together. Track your free time, and book in slots for studying and getting assignments done. Treat it like a regular class, you have to show up and do the work even if you don’t want to. Plus, if you stick to it, you’ll have heaps more time to do the things you actually want to do, like napping and Netflix, because you won’t be constantly trying to catch up on all your work.

4. Start your work

Start with the easiest thing you can. It can be picking an essay question, finding your notes for the Legal assignment you have to start or choosing a quote for your English analysis. Don’t tell yourself you have to get all your work done, right now. All you need to do is a tiny bit to get the ball rolling.

Just starting something (anything) will usually be enough to get you kick-started on the whole thing. Motivation comes from action so trick yourself into starting with the tiniest, easiest task and you’ll be well on the way to being motivated.

5. Remember, motivation is bullshit

Motivation will come and go and there’s no magic way to make it show up and stick around. Sometimes you will fall into a slump and all you’ll want to do is nap and watch Netflix and moan about all the work you have to do. You’ll feel motivated when it’s 3am and you’re lying in bed and then it’ll be gone the next morning when you actually have a chance to get shit done. 

Motivation won’t come when you’re begging for it the night before an exam or when you’re procrastinating starting the essay that’s due in 12 hours so don’t sitting around waiting to get motivated so you can start your work. Take advantage of motivation when it comes, but don’t rely on it. Instead, focus on making a solid routine, getting some decent sleep and actually doing the work (even if it’s killin’ ya). Motivation isn’t going to get you through this year, but determination will.