At this point you’re probably not feeling very motivated. The fresh start of a new year has worn off and your grand plans of smashing your exams, studying everyday and staying on top of your assignments has fallen apart. At the same time, your final exams are a little bit too far away for the pressure to properly kick you into gear so you find yourself in the vicious cycle that is naps, Netflix and leaving everything to the last minute.
So how do you find your motivation again? How do you actually get your shit together and do something when all you want to do is give up?
1. Get some sleep
I know this seems counterproductive- the whole point of this article is to tell you how to avoid napping and actually get some work done. But hear me out. Lack of motivation is a symptom of burn out and exhaustion. If you spend 90% of your day thinking about when you’ll get a chance to have a nap, then you’re probably overtired and you’ll never be able to get back into the swing of things. Getting some decent sleep and sorting out your body clock will help you get your motivation back up purely because you won’t feel so damn sleepy all the time.
2. Remember, it will eventually end
The shit storm that is exams and assignments will eventually come to an end. Right now it might feel like the finish line isn’t getting any closer, but pretty soon you’ll have done everything and be wondering where the time went. Don’t get to the end and wish you had just pushed a little harder on the home stretch.
The simple fact is sometimes you’re not going to be able to find any motivation. You’ll constantly be looking for a reason to procrastinate and nothing will get you in the mood to study or get your shit done. This is where your routine kicks in. If you have scheduled times to get things done, it’s less about finding motivation and more about keeping the habit. Sort out your study schedule, or at least plan a couple of study sessions after school in the library. Once you get used to sitting down and working at a certain time and certain place, it’ll become second nature to do it, no matter how unmotivated you’re feeling.
4. Focus on your goals
Motivation is pretty personal and what motivates you to get through your exams or to start that assignment might not be the same as what motivates someone else. It might be your goal ATAR that motivates you, or you might want to prove the teacher who said you would never get above a 60 that they’re wrong. Whatever it is, remember your goals when you feel like giving up and think about how good it’ll feel when you reach them.
5. Stop telling yourself you’ll do it when you get home
You’re not going to fucking do it. Same goes for telling yourself you’ll do it in the morning instead of staying up a bit later to smash it out. You manage to trick yourself into thinking that future you will be more motivated; that when you get home you’ll get in the groove and start working on that essay and finally do your homework. Don’t lie to yourself- you know that as soon as you get home you’re going to be getting straight into bed and nothing productive will get done. Do it, right now.
6. Do the easy stuff first
Once you start the work the motivation will build, I promise. It’s all about taking that tiny step and getting started. It doesn’t have to be hard- your first step could literally be finding a quote that demonstrates a language technique in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Instead of telling yourself you have to sit down and write your whole essay in one go, just focus on picking a topic, or choosing a question. Once you’ve taken the first step, the process will drag you along the rest of the way and the motivation will come- you just have to trust it.
7. Cut yourself some slack
Often we can feel super unmotivated because we’re not hitting any of our goals. When we set impossibly high standards for ourselves it’s inevitable that we’re going to feel shit when we can’t get them- regardless of how unattainable they are. Cut yourself a bit of slack. It’s totally normal to feel like giving up; when things get tough sometimes all you want to do is lay in bed and forget about all your deadlines and responsibilities. It’s okay to ease up on yourself and reassess your goals.
8. Know that motivation is bullshit
Motivation will never last long enough to push you through the year so there’s no point waiting for it to hit to get things done. At some point you’re going to have to suck it up, cut the crap and just do some work, whether you want to or not. It’s tough, but feeling unmotivated isn’t going to physically stop you from getting shit done. Take this as a sign to go do whatever it is you’re procrastinating- you’ll thank me later.