Ah March, the month of the mid-semester motivation slump. It’s a real thing, and it hits hard. As soon as the freezing weather starts to roll out so you don’t have to keep your arms crossed tightly in front of you or keep your coat zipped all the way up to your chin in order to hold in as much body heat as possible while you walk from one class to the next, it immediately becomes 10 times more difficult to keep your eyes on the absolutely thrilling textbook you have to read or stay seated to type out 1,000 more words for the paper that’s due in a few days. Even if it’s an easy assignment that should only take a half an hour, somehow that dragging feeling of apathy toward it makes it take two whole hours. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that I’m the only one who feels it sometimes. Dealing with a lack of motivation is a struggle, for sure, but there are practical ways to combat it. And I know it is not just college students that feel this way. I encourage you to finish strong in high school with these tips so that you can come to Cedarville ready to push through the lack of motivation!
Go for a change of scenery.
Sometimes, I can get in the habit of going to the same spots every day and sitting there for way too long. When I go to the same spots over and over and over, oftentimes I end up getting more easily distracted and have a hard time focusing. Switching study spots helps break up the monotony of the sometimes seemingly unending homework before you that you just don’t feel like doing, even though you know it has to be done. Doing something out of the ordinary can help break up the norm and get your brain in thinking mode again.
So, instead of going back to that same table in the SSC (Stevens Student Center) or the desk in your room, pick a place you don’t usually choose to study. Speaking of your desk in your room, if you (like I do all the time) find yourself thinking about all the different ways you could rearrange your furniture when you sit down to hit the grindstone, that’s your cue to find a new study spot. Separating work from my “home,” the place I wind down, can be really helpful for me; maybe it will be for you too.
Give yourself some incentive, and hold to it.
Set a goal for yourself and a reward for when you meet it, and don’t compromise. Is it beautiful and sunny outside? Perfect Spikeball weather? Type out one more page, read for 40 more minutes, go through your flashcards a couple more times, and then whip out the net and grab your friends. Is that chocolate chip Chick-fil-A cookie in your backpack calling your name? Do a few more problems, submit one more discussion post, take your quiz, and then reward yourself with that cookie. Cookies are the best. Shout out to Chick-f-il-A.
It might sound a little silly, but having the mindset of, “I can have/do this once I do that,” really jump-starts your drive to get things done. Once you set that standard, don’t deviate from it. Don’t say, “Well, I almost finished it” or “It’s fine, I don’t have to do it right now.” NO! That defeats the whole purpose! You get the reward when you’ve finished or reached your goal. No exceptions. That reward is meant to push you, motivate you, to finish the task before you. You’ll be so proud of yourself and feel much more at ease knowing you were productive and stuck with it — you’ve earned that Spikeball game or cookie!
Think about how good it’ll be to be done, not how difficult the process will be.
I know sometimes you really don’t want to do an assignment, maybe not even look at the directions, because you know it won’t be easy, but that doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be turned in. Focusing on how tough a project is going to be or how long it might take only makes you want to do it less and allows room for procrastination to move in. College is hard, and homework takes a long time. But instead of putting your attention on the difficulty, think about the benefits of doing it and doing it well. For one thing, it won’t be hanging over your head anymore. You can check it off your list. You’ve made the Lord proud by how you persevered.
These are only a few ways to get through the fog or around the roadblock of an unmotivated mind and kick back into gear. Finding the motivation to get up and go to classes or read 50 pages isn’t always easy, but it can be done! I hope these tips help you out; they’ve helped me quite a bit! Our work is a form of worship and a good gift from God, so let’s do our best to steward that well.
You’ve got this!
Majoring in Advocacy Communications, Class of 2023
Favorite Place to Be: Outdoors
Go to Rinnova order: Either an Iced Boston or ‘Promised Land’