How to Motivate Yourself

  • Katie Sinclair ’22

Do you ever get home at night thinking that all you want to do is put comfy clothes on and scroll through your phone, but reality quickly snaps back and you realize you have two tests and an essay due tomorrow? Well, honestly, this happens to me at least once a week, especially on a Wednesday night when I am convinced that it is Thursday. It takes a lot of strength and motivation for me to sit down at my desk and work for multiple hours. Here is a list of ideas that help me motivate myself to efficiently complete my dreaded homework. 

Get some exercise 

The first thing I do is exercise. Exercise is the way I reboot myself after a long day of sitting at school. It does not have to be anything crazy, it can be as simple as walking your dog for 30 minutes or going for a quick run. If I am not doing a sport at the time, I like to go to the gym and run on the treadmill or ride a bike. This is my way of letting go of any stress from the day. I find that when I am exercising, my mind stops moving super fast and focuses on what I am doing. Exercise makes me feel great, so even if it is just the smallest bit of movement I feel like I have done something productive for myself that day. 

Take a break before you start

After a long day of school and sports, I sometimes just need a quick break to help rejuvenate myself to complete my homework. It is hard for me not to keep staying on my “break” for the rest of the night, so I set a max amount of time I can scroll through my phone. I never sit on my bed; I am always either at my kitchen table or desk. My bed will just slow my homework process down because I could easily fall asleep. Giving myself a quick break, normally about 10 to 15 minutes, allows me to just take a moment to myself after a long and fast paced day. I will normally make a snack at this time, such as an apple with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or a bagel. This keeps me energized for my tasks ahead, while helping me stay full until dinner. 

Make a list of what you need to get done

As soon as I sit down to begin my homework I open Schology on my computer to see what I need to do for that night. I will then make a list of what I need to get done that particular night. Doing this helps me to calm some of my stress, because most of the time seeing a list of what I actually need to do is much less stressful than having a rough idea of what I need to do in my head . I also love the feeling I get when I am able to check things off on a list. Making these lists help me to stay on track and only worry about the assignments that are due the next day or any upcoming tests. I have to block out future assignments because those tend to give me more stress and that is when I tend to procrastinate. In my lists I always plan for taking little breaks, sometimes for five minutes and other times, about an hour into my work, I take a break for dinner.  

Know your limits

Normally by 9:00 at night my body begins to shut down. Everything that I am writing becomes gibberish, and I am just meaninglessly flipping through flash cards. That is when I know that it is time to shut my computer and put my notes away. I know that at this point, it is not going to do me any good to just sit and stare at a screen or paper, if all the information is not sticking in my brain. This is my body’s signal that it is time to put everything away and GO TO SLEEP! I tell myself to just turn off everything that relates to school, because I have done my best and it is time to take a break.

If I have a test or quiz the next day I know that it is not going to do me any good to try and cram information that I will not remember into my head.  I just need to trust that it is there , and either hope what I did to study was enough or plan for how I will do more next time. Because there’s always another test, essay, or quiz to prepare for. Sleep is the key to doing well when you do not feel prepared. Get a good night’s rest so that you feel ready to do your best the next day.

By Axel de Vernou

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