Originally Posted: Jan 8, 2020
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Seconds turn into minutes, which turn into hours and then days. The weeks seem to rush past you as the overwhelming work and emotional stress of the semester starts to pile up. You may be struggling to preserve that perfect work-life balance you had vowed to maintain at the beginning of the school year. You may find yourself staring at your laptop screen trying to convince yourself that the knowledge will come to you through diffusion, but slowly realizing that’s a delusion. Procrastination can be a chronic and rather vicious cycle, and even when we find ourselves committing to our tasks and making the time for coursework and other commitments, it’s often difficult to find the kind of motivation we need to complete said tasks. Here are some recommendations and possible solutions to help you answer the most existential question for a student: how do I find motivation?
Find what inspires you
Can you identify something that inspires you off the top of your head? Before you start working on any task, it’s important to ask yourself this question so that you know your starting point and are heading in the right direction. Your creative capital is one of your most noteworthy assets. It’s essential for all of us to learn how to harness and maximize that creativity to its full potential. It helps to take a step back and look at your life with greater appreciation as well as objectivity to gain more perspective on your choices, decisions, and prospects. Our life experiences, friends, family, and passions can define who we are and what we could potentially embark on in the future. Your environment and interactions can be a great stepping-stone to help you find a seed of inspiration, which may, in turn, spark a great idea!
Plan out your day
Though it’s important to enjoy the spontaneity of life, it does help a great deal when you know what’s coming your way so you are amply prepared and committed to solving the challenges each day brings. Planning out your day can be rather handy, especially when you have a packed schedule and are unsure of how to begin your day. In this way, you end up finding a certain level of order in all the chaos. There’s a certain sense of ease and contentment that comes with completing your tasks and fulfilling your commitments every day—especially in checking off all those items on your to-do lists! As you complete tasks day to day, you may be motivated to set greater challenges for yourself so that you’re able to finish more work and set further limits for your daily output.
Optimize your workspace
Sometimes a large factor in increasing our productivity lies in our workspace or environment, as it can have significant impacts on our state of mind and overall productivity levels. Make sure your study table is comfortable so that you have the motivation and dedication to begin your work. Ensure that all your books and notebooks are laid out in front of you before you start working. I find that making a schedule or detailed plan and laying it in front of me can be quite helpful in lending me a sense of direction. If you’re still having a hard time, try reorganizing your workspace to change the flow of your thoughts, and while you’re at it, grab some healthy snacks and drinks to sustain your energy levels, which will keep your motivation levels up as well.
Engage more with the world
I certainly wouldn’t recommend you spend all your money and travel the world to find the right motivation or path in life. You don’t need to go on a retreat or spiritual mission to engage with the world and use it to feed your imagination and creativity Sometimes, your academic sphere may not be giving you the feeling of satisfaction you’re looking for. There is only so much your lectures, seminar notes, and slides can offer you. I have always believed that we need to complement our academic work in some way so that we maintain a healthy balance. Engaging with the wider world can be useful and give you great experiences. Try leaving campus and getting in touch with people and organizations around you. Talk to and get to know people you find interesting in order to broaden your own horizons and open yourself up to new ideas, opinions, and thought processes.
I also find that getting more involved in campus life or even beginning your own initiatives or projects can be rewarding and help you take a break from the monotony of your everyday college life. These experiences can offer you more opportunities to interact with different people among your student body who you may not see every day. Try your hand at a new hobby or art form, and venture past your comfort zones to see how much progress you can make.
We’re all unique people and our minds work differently—most of us don’t adapt to new situations and environments very quickly. So give yourself time. Even though these tips may be more easily said than done, they could offer you a good starting point for finding inspiration and motivation that will hopefully go a long way!
Find more advice on balancing your schoolwork in our Majors and Academics section.