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5 Tips for Finding Motivation When You’re Just Not Feeling It

It’s the end of the quarter and that means essays and tests and studying galore. But Spring Break is soooo close and I just want to think about how I’m going to relax and not think about school for an entire week.

This quarter has felt hella long and I’m over it, which means I just don’t feel like doing anything that I need to. However, if I don’t do these things, I’m seriously going to regret it later, like when grades come out. So, I thought I’d share some of the tricks I use to find motivation when I’m not feeling it.

1. Take a break

So you’re working away at that assignment, but you get to a point where you’re stuck, or you just stop caring about what you’re doing. That is a key indication that you need to get up out of that chair and take a break from your work. Go take a walk, whether it’s 5 minutes of 30, you need to get away from your computer and desk for a bit. This will give you time to clear your head, so when you sit back down, you’re ready to go. I’ve been told so many times by so many people with much better credentials than I, that you should take a break every 30-45 minutes. It’s not only going to improve your work, but it’ll also good for your health to get out of that chair and move around a bit.

2. Listen to music while working

I believe that most people enjoy listening to some type of music while they work. I know I can rarely do anything in complete silence. The key to picking music is to make sure it motivates you without distracting you or putting you to sleep. I find anything with lyrics to be a distraction, mostly because I tend to sing along and then woops, those are song lyrics in my paper. But I also can’t listen to a lot of classical music. The music is beautiful, but if I’m reading some lengthy scholarly article, it’ll put me right to sleep. This is why I choose epic film scores to listen to. When I’m writing with that music, I feel like I’m on some topic secret mission, or going to battle, or trying to win a race. It gives me that ‘I can do this’ feeling. You just have to find the music that works for your study habits.

3. Set mini goals with mini rewards

When you get big assignments that you put off, because starting them is daunting, I suggest breaking it down into little bite-sized pieces to work with. Start with making a list of each little component you need to do: read the chapter, make an outline, write the introduction, etc. Then you get going. After completing each one, you give yourself a little reward, such as scrolling through social media for a few minutes, getting a little snack, playing a game, whatever works for you. Just don’t split the assignment into so many small pieces that you actually spend more time rewarding yourself than working. This way you’ll be getting your assignment done and be feeling great about it.

4. Change of Scenery

Most of us have our own coveted study spot. The only problem is, when we aren’t motivated, we know every way to distract ourselves in that spot. So, I suggest a change of scenery when you’re in a funk. The new spot can give you a fresh perspective on your work and getting there gives you a chance to take a break too. You’ll still want this new spot to work for your study habits – if you need quiet, don’t go to a café or popular group study spot.

4.5 Change the Air

If you’re unable to physically change study spots, then you should try changing the space that you’re in just a little. The easiest way to do this is probably by changing the air somehow. You can open a window if it’s not freezing outside. Or, you could light a candle or use essential oils. Just adjusting your environment a little bit can give you that much-needed boost.

5. Work on something else

Another thing that you could do, especially if that assignment is really bogging you down, is set it aside completely and work on something else for a little while. Sometimes you just need to get away from it. As young adults, there’s always something else we need to do, whether it’s another assignment, cleaning, or getting groceries. Pick one of those other things that you could get done in under 2 hours and go do that instead. Then, come back to the assignment, and see if it goes a little better.


We all go through those rough patches with school where we just don’t want to do anything. But, we have to get it done. Just think of how much better you’ll feel once you’re done. Spring Break is just around the corner and you can take a really long break. Remember the reason that you’re doing all this.

You’re going to be a badass one day, but you have to do the nitty gritty to get there.
I am a senior at the University of Denver double majoring in International Studies and History. I love to read, write, and knit. Being a part of HerCampus is great because I get to write about important and fun topics that have absolutely nothing to do with my coursework.
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