So, spring break gave you a taste of summer and suddenly you’re running out of reasons to stay motivated this semester. With concerts ahead and sunrays to catch, going to class doesn’t seem so appealing. But as we’ve heard a million times before, this is the home stretch and we’ve got to finish strong. Motivation is different for everyone. Whether you prefer to make a countdown or take the more tough love approach of locking yourself in Hale Library for hours at a time, it’s important you find what is most effective for you and get through these last weeks.
1. Surround yourself with positive, driven people
Motivation is contagious, so catch it from your peers. Instead of letting chronic complainers influence you, ask a close friend to hold you accountable by sending you a wake-up text to help you make it to class or encourage you to get started on that project you’ve been putting off. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by mimicking the positive attitudes of others and adopting their strategies.
2. Don’t lock yourself away
Find a quiet spot outside to enjoy the nice weather while you work. Somehow reading that textbook doesn’t seem so awful when you’re lying in the grass instead of sitting under florescent lights. Plus you get the added mood-lifting benefits of vitamin C.
3. Take a power nap
There’s nothing more painful than attempting to stay motivated when you have no energy. According to Psychology Today, napping can sharpen motor skills and enhance your mood. The optimal nap is 10 to 20 minutes; it won’t leave you feeling groggy or interfere with your sleep that night and might even prevent you from making careless mistakes.
4. Make work into a competition
Whether with yourself or a friend, find ways to make studying into a game. Bet yourself or a friend that you can study for 30 minutes without logging on to Facebook or see who can pull off the highest grade on a quiz.
5. Complete tasks in order from most difficult to most simple
Tackling the most challenging material will be easier when your mind is still fresh, and it provides the built-in incentive that promises the longer you work, the easier the material will become.
6. Remember what you have to gain
Humans are programmed to respond to rewards, so decide what your personal motivation is for working hard and write it down in a place where you can see it every day. Try sticking a Post-it note on your mirror or laptop as a visual reminder of what you are working toward instead of dwelling on what’s to come this summer or torturing yourself by picturing the alternatives to studying.
7. Keep it fresh
Study with a friend if you usually study solo or take your books to a coffee shop instead of working at the same spot in the library. Part of the reason you feel unmotivated may be because your academic life has become predictable and boring. Mix it up by livening up your environment.
8. Make a motivation playlist
Whatever you do, don’t include Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song.” Not only will music encourage you to get things done, but also, over time, you will subconsciously associate the songs with a “time to work” mentality. Include songs with simple lyrics that won’t distract you and are upbeat and energizing. Try Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Ain’t No Easy Way” or Eric Prydz – “Call On Me.”
9. Put it in perspective
Six weeks of working hard is very little to sacrifice when you compare it to the reward of a high GPA and the relief of finishing the semester to the best of your ability. You had to work hard at some point in your life to get to where you are today, so don’t kid yourself by thinking you don’t have the self discipline or the drive to work hard now.
10. Be realistic
You’re not alone in your feeling anxious for summer’s freedom to arrive. Don’t beat yourself up over past failures, but continue to look forward. If you’ve already settled into a routine of procrastination and putting in a minimum effort, know it’s not to late to break these habits. Acknowledge what you have already accomplished this semester and remind yourself that it’s not worth throwing away.
Amy Himmelburg is a sophomore in journalism. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org