Some who know me could say that this post is a little hypocritical. I’ll admit, I’m not the most motivated person at the best of times. Ambitious, 100%, but I have days where I’ll struggle at the thought of getting out of bed before 7pm. As I’m approaching the end of my university journey, however, I’ve slowly found little ways to keep myself going when it comes to studying – and other tasks – especially with my dissertation year starting next week (gulp)!
1. Actually get out of bed!
It probably sounds so simple to most… but I genuinely really struggle to bring myself to get out of bed when I know I have things that need doing, but I don’t necessarily want to do. Many times I have seen myself make the excuse of “working from bed”, due to a lack of a desk in my old flat (I sacrificed it for a make-up and hair station, top student right here)… but I would very rarely, if ever, get anything worthwhile completed. After a few months of this, I dragged myself up to our uni library about 15 minutes away, and I got SO much done. It’s so obvious, I know, but sometimes you really need that extra kick. I ended up living in that library for the last few weeks before exams last semester!
2. To-do lists
I’ve blogged about this before – I LOVE a to-do list. I even received a to-do list kit from Paperchase for my birthday last year; if it isn’t written down, I probably won’t do it. I always feel really overwhelmed when I’m trying to think in my head what I have to do – when it’s written down in front of me, it means I can properly acknowledge how much I have to do, reflect on it, and even organise it by way of importance or deadlines etc. I just find it so much easier, and stops me from feeling snowed under!
3. Give yourself incentives
Now, this one doesn’t work very well for me – I have zero control, and so if I try to reward myself with a packet of gummy bears, you can guarantee that those bears will be long gone before the task is completed. But a number of my friends swear by it, and refuse to buy themselves that coffee or pair of shoes if they don’t carry out what they need to first. I did manage to make it work after booking a holiday to Magaluf for the week after exams this year; I knew that if I performed poorly and got bad results in the rest of my coursework, I’d have had a miserable time away. Luckily it worked and it was a celebratory week!
4. Give yourself (sensible) breaks
When I say sensible, I mean don’t take two weeks away from an essay! Everyone needs a break from time to time. I find that I work best if I sit and try and get as much done as possible (I focus heaps better when I know I have no time left, I know it’s bad) – but I still need some time away to de-stress, even if it just means taking five minutes away from my desk to go a walk around the uni. Make sure you get some sleep too. This is probably the most hypocritical of all my points, but I’ll try better this year, okay!?
5. Try and find someone with the same tasks as you
My first and second year at uni was spent with a lot of people doing different courses to me, but when third year rolled around, our classes were switched about and I made a few more friends on the same course as me. This was great when it came to completing coursework – I wasn’t totally by myself when it came to understanding what was expected of me, and it was really helpful having people to guide me and keep me on track while I did the same for them. Teamwork is fab, and it reflected in my results this year!
6. Find inspiration
Find reason for doing what you’re doing. Whether it’s to make someone proud, to prove something to yourself, or (my ultimate favourite!) prove something to someone else, having something to keep pushing you is a great way to stay focused on the task at hand. Plus sometimes you feel way better for completing it!
7. Try and stay positive
Attempting to achieve something can be stressful. I sometimes have days where I can’t even bring myself to sit and write posts for the blog, let alone attempt to complete uni work or write articles for other outputs. Unless I’m really feeling good about myself, I just get worked up into a frenzy. To deal with this, I try numerous methods – I’ll sit and talk to someone until my problems feel small enough, I’ll take time out for myself until I feel a bit brighter, or I’ll stray away and achieve much smaller tasks first to prove to myself that I’m capable of doing things.