Recently, conversations about motivation came up with some of my students and friends who are parents, all of whom have been feeling overwhelmed in the homestretch of the school year. With the third lockdown and stay-at-home order in place for Ontario, many students are experiencing its effects. If you’re a student feeling the weight of the pandemic, you might notice that you are losing focus and motivation, and you might not have the energy to do simple everyday tasks. These are normal feelings to have, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about how you’re coping. Allow yourself to process these feelings and then pick yourself back up. Remember that the end of the school year is getting nearer, and you’ve put so much work into your classes, assignments, and tests, so don’t give up now.
If you’re in a rut, I want to offer you some tips that have helped me, and I know will help you too, to stay motivated near the end of the school year:
Stay on track with your goals
It’s so easy to lose momentum during the school year, especially as we approach the summer holidays. Remember that with less than two months left, you can still achieve the grades you want. Look back at your goals that you set forth at the beginning of the year, and keep aiming for them. Try not to get caught up in your friends’ goals as they have different aspirations than you do.
Stick to your schedule
With online learning, it can be difficult to maintain a good after-school routine. You might find yourself picking up your phone only to be stuck on social media four hours later. Again, establish a clear schedule with an agenda. Write down everything you need to do, and break off your tasks into smaller ones. Breaking down your tasks into bite-size pieces will make it quicker for you to cross them off your to-do list and will help you to feel the most productive.
Carve out small blocks of time
Working in small blocks of time allows you to have more motivation to finish your tasks. For example, instead of reading an entire book in one or two days, scheduling time to read five chapters of a book every day throughout the week allows you to maintain focus. It also holds you more accountable to complete your task efficiently, so that you can enjoy the rest of your day school-free. Try it, and you’ll be amazed with how much work you can get done.
Get organized and don’t procrastinate
Being organized with ‘to-do’ lists and sticky notes allows you to stay focused on what you need to accomplish by the end of the day, week, or even the month. Organizing your tasks and their deadlines also gives you time to reach out to your teachers if you need any clarification on an assignment.
This brings me to my next point…
Ask for help
If you don’t understand instructions for an assignment or a new concept for a test, ask your teacher for clarification. You’re not going to be a bother at all – teachers are always open and happy to answer all of your questions. They’re here to support you in any way they can.
Practice regulating your emotions
If you are anxious about an upcoming test or assignment deadline, acknowledge your feelings. “In these cases, the lack of motivation stems from your desire to avoid discomfort” (Morin, 2021). As soon as you acknowledge how you’re feeling, you’ll be able to find ways to relieve your stress and eventually get back on track to focus on your tasks. You’ll feel amazing after you complete your work as opposed to feeling bad if you didn’t.
Acknowledging your hard work with rewards is an important motivator that most students forget to do. Once you complete one of the tasks in your list, reward yourself with a 5-minute phone break, 15-minute walk or workout, a cup of tea, or a snack. These little incentives go a long way in ensuring you feel your best while you get your work done efficiently.
My tips above will ensure you’re set up for success and continue to reach your goals. You only have less than two months left, so push yourself to finish all of your assignments, and take the time to carve out blocks of time for studying. You’ll end up reaping the rewards when you receive your final marks and report cards. Also keep in mind that whilst doing this, you’re eating a balanced diet and taking breaks to relax and recharge. Good luck!
Morin, Amy LCSW (Feb 13, 2021). How to Stay Motivated When You Are Working From Home. Verywell Mind. Accessed via https://www.verywellmind.com/work-from-home-motivation-4802480