I don’t know about you, but lately the motivation to do homework is lacking. Sometimes I go through lulls where I just don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much, or I just feel generally unmotivated. I’m not sure why I get like this, but I feel like everyone has their moments when things just aren’t going how we planned, our classes aren’t the most interesting thing we’ve ever taken, and we just feel…stagnant. When I ended Jan Term, I was feeling awesome. I felt like I knew what I wanted to do, I loved reading again, and I felt like I had something to say. But then Spring Semester came, and all my classes are kind of overlapping, and I’m filling my science requirement, and I just… don’t want to do homework. I’ve read much of the material assigned this semester in previous classes (ex: John Smith, Founding Brothers, and accounts of the encounter with Cortes). Yesterday, however, a guest speaker came to SMC to give a talk about religion’s role in the justification of slavery, and his resume was five pages long, and he was so knowledgeable, and you could tell he was really passionate about the topic, and I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to be like that someday. I want to do something I love, I want to know a lot about something I care about, and I want to be able to research topics I love, and that aren’t required. However, I understand that this college experience is important, and a major step to getting to be as successful as the historian that visited my campus (Paul Finkelman, for those who would like to read his books). The thing is, no matter where we are in life, we’re going to have lulls. We’re going to have moments when motivation is a foreign term, and when we feel like we’re just standing still as time passes around us, and we’re going to feel like we’re not accomplishing anything. These are natural feelings in life. Here’s the thing though: It’s okay to feel this way. It’s completely okay to feel unmotivated for a few days, but try to make it fall on a weekend. Okay, just kidding. Just hold your head up, and try to get your spark back.
Here are my favorite ways to get my motivation back when it’s lacking:
First, make a four-year plan. Even if you don’t end up following it exactly, making a four-year plan will get you thinking about the future, the things you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to accomplish them. This may overwhelm some people, but I personally love doing this because it makes me refocus, assess what I really want, and forces me to think of ways I can do all of the things in the plan.
Second, reading a few chapters from my favorite book allows me to decompress, remember things I love and have a connection to, and allows me to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, this is a great stress reliever, and stress is usually one of the reasons people become unmotivated. When I’m stressed, I tend to get overwhelmed, and while I still manage to get everything done, it’s much more difficult.
Third, I go running. Yes, you read that correctly. While I’m not a HUGE runner, it is actually one of the first things I turn to when I’m unmotivated. Running pushes me, it allows me to clear my head, and it gets my endorphins going. All of these help me find motivation again.
Fourth, turn on some music (your favorite group, perhaps?), and just think. Maybe do a creative project while listening to music, or just decompress so that when you start to work again, you feel refreshed and ready to tackle a project. This may seem like a weird way to get motivated since I’m essentially telling you to get motivated by doing nothing, but I promise you, it’ll recharge your dead motivation battery.
Fifth, do something that is purely creative and purely you. When I’m really lacking motivation for homework, I take a few minutes to write a short story, or to write a poem, and sometimes I even get weird wild ideas to write a play. I find that if I completely lack motivation to do homework, it’s better to just take a break, work on something else, and come back to the original task. When I’m not motivated, I don’t concentrate as well, and then I don’t focus, and then I have to go back and re-read things. This ends up just taking more time, and is actually harmful to my study routine. So, if I need a break, I take one. Also, working on something creative can get the energy going, and the original task seems much easier.
The methods for regaining motivation I’ve listed should all have a time limit. Feeling unmotivated? Take fifteen minutes to an hour to do one of these. Don’t let yourself just go completely off track and spend six hours on something creative because then you’ll be too tired to work again. Think of these activities like a nap, but instead of sleeping you’re doing something productive.
What do you do to regain motivation?