We all experience moments of feeling utterly unmotivated. For students, especially those juggling family, work and school obligations, staying motivated to complete schoolwork can be one of the toughest challenges when faced with so many demands for your attention. But don’t get discouraged! Here are a few simple ways to keep motivated, even on your toughest days.
Pick your most productive time
According to New Republic, studies have found that the two hours right after you wake up are the most productive. If possible, set aside this morning time to tackle your schoolwork. If you are more of a night owl; plan on completing an hour or so of work every night; either right when you get home or when the kids go to bed.
Set up each study session for success
When you start your study time, don’t log into email or social media sites. If you are serious about your studying, then be serious about the time that you are dedicating to it. Create blocks of time where you turn everything off. This includes shutting down your smartphone, Internet, and anything else that can interrupt you. Closely guard this time to completing school work and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done! For me, the temptation to check email and Facebook is too great for me to resist. Better to just keep them turned off/logged out of until my work is done.
Take small bites out of your workload
On days when motivation is lagging; set a small goal for yourself to study for 15 minutes. Complete one assignment. Take a practice test. We recently wrote about the Pomodoro Technique. Give it a try - we can all do anything for 15-minutes! Every small goal you successfully complete will keep you motivated to do more and more.
Set goals with milestones
When you sit down to draw up your weekly to-do list, be sure to ask yourself: "What one task should I complete to make me feel like this week was a success?" These milestones act as important markers on our way to reaching our goals. If your goal is to write a term paper by such-and-such a date; set the milestones for outline, first draft and so on along the way. You will feel a sense of accomplishment upon completing each milestone, and motivated to reach the next milestone on your plan to reaching that goal!
Don’t allow negative self-talk
When things get tough, it’s easy to say, “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this”. This inner voice can seriously get in the way of our motivation. Taking breaks, practicing meditation, and getting fresh air can help to quiet that inner voice.
Change your location
Sometimes a change in location is just what we need to stay motivated! Pick up your materials and go elsewhere. A local coffee shop, library or the park can all be great places to reignite our enthusiasm for studying.
We’ve written before about the benefits of living a more grateful life. What are you grateful for? Making a list of things you are grateful for can have an amazing effect on your state-of-mind and your motivation to succeed.
Find your inspiration
Pictures, poems, quotes – these can all provide a much needed pick-me-up when our motivation is lagging. What inspires you? Perhaps it’s a card from a friend congratulating you on taking this step, or a drawing from your child. Inspiration can be found in many things. Find what works for you and keep it close by!
Create a vision board
Creating a vision board is a great way to keep motivated. What are your goals and your dreams? Use the inspiration pieces from the step above and find more to represent your hopes for the future. This focal point can serve as a source of inspiration every day!
Celebrate your accomplishments
Take a moment at the end of every week and look at all that you’ve completed. Even if there are more things left to do (and there usually will be), take this time to acknowledge and celebrate what has been done. The sense of accomplishment and pride that you feel can help you stay motivated for the weeks to come.
Eat right, get enough sleep, do some form of physical activity every day. Taking care of your body and spirit will make you feel more energized to face your day!
Being a student is hard at any age. There will be days when you feel that this is impossible, and you aren’t sure that you can keep plugging along. Before you give up, think about the consequences. How would quitting make you feel? How would it affect your dreams for the future? Conversely, what will life be like when you achieve your goals? How will furthering your education benefit your future and your family?
Once you start to think about the effects, we hope you’ll remember why you started this process and envision the pride that you’ll feel once you reach your goal. Igniting the passion behind the process will motivate you to get back to work!
Ed4Career makes it easy to pursue your personal learning and career training goals. We have valuable resources built into our programs and curriculum to help ensure student success. We also have skilled Educational Consultants on staff, and we offer an Online Student Center as well as Career Coaching. Visit us today to learn more about the Ed4Career difference!