Managing Motivation

imgresFor all of you that are starting to lose your motivation second semester, here are a few tips to help you survive the third quarter doldrums and the rest of the school year.

Just planning can help you manage and begin to study.  When it’s tempting to procrastinate, having what you need to do written down can push you to start to work on it.  If you are new to studying or overwhelmed with the work you need to do, make sure to take breaks at least every half an hour, which helps you to absorb more information instead of cramming, then forgetting.  When feeling antsy, take a break and do five jumping jacks to increase the blood flow to your brain and help get back on track.  If you’re working on a laptop and your eyes are starting to hurt, looking twenty feet away from your screen for twenty seconds every twenty minutes helps stop hurt eyes and zoning-out.  Make sure to reward yourself for the work you’ve done with a break and a snack.

However, studying isn’t always the hard part – oftentimes it’s procrastination and putting off our work that is the real culprit of a bad grade.  Breaking habits, sadly, is the only way to fix your procrastination – which can be extremely difficult.  Cutting the time you spend on social media or Netflix can be a great first step to gain back work-time.  To do this, start to monitor and limit the amount of time you spend online, making sure you’re leaving yourself enough time to do your work. It is okay to go on social media or Netflix before you do homework, but make sure you’re leaving enough time for work after.  If you’re on Netflix and get the ‘are you still watching’ message, you probably need to turn off your screen now…

Still, many people think they don’t have enough time for their schoolwork with extracurriculars, work, and difficult classes – even if they refrain from procrastination.  It can be extremely stressful feeling this way.  However, there are still some things that one can do to gain back some extra time.  Using a calendar or a planner to record all the things that need to get done can be a great step in planning when you have the time to squeeze things in, and is less stressful than remembering.  If there really is not enough time to get everything done, then prioritizing is an important tool.  Instead of working on something that might not need to be done right away or is not as urgent, work on the things that absolutely need to get done first and everything else after.images

Another way to collect more time is, surprisingly, to get more sleep.  If you can increase the amount of sleep you get by at least an hour, you give yourself the extra energy to get more done during the day – more than you may think.  However, if you have trouble getting to sleep, this may be because of the electronics you use before bed.  If you can turn off these electronics an hour or so before you go to sleep, you have a much better chance of getting to sleep faster.  Caffeine before bed is also a bad idea, even if you think caffeine doesn’t affect you.  Yet, for some people, it’s stressful thoughts that keep them up.  Meditation, being more present-minded, and planning ahead are some simple ways to stop these stressful thoughts that can keep you up.

All of these things can help you to stay motivated.  However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are a few emergency steps you can take to help you de-stress before you attempt to get back on track.  Make sure to take care of yourself – your well-being takes priority over anything else.  Eat all meals, snack healthy, and stay hydrated.  Rack up on hours of sleep so you can think more clearly – you might just need a good night’s sleep to come up with a solution to a stressful situation.  If you catch yourself overthinking, take a brisk walk or some time to do something you love.  If stress is a constant in your life you’re dealing with, pick a night out of the week to de-stress that you can look forward to.  And, finally, always try and avoid drama.  If you are in an argument with a friend or have disappointed a teacher, admit to holding some of the blame, even if you think you were in the right.  Apologize, and think of a solution to the problem that everyone involved can benefit from.  This saves you from a lot of stressful situations and makes you the more responsible and reasonable individual.

I hope that these solutions are helpful in keeping you motivated and healthy throughout the rest of the school year.  Let us know if you have any other tips on how to de-stress and stay motivated in the comments below.

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