Tips for Motivation and Productivity

Staying motivated and productive in the winter months is hard, particularly this time of year. At least in December, the impending arrival of the holidays and its associated festivities keeps us trekking through the harsh weather. But what now, when Christmas has come and gone, and the majority of us are struggling to re-acclimate to 8:30 classes and stormy skies? Although there aren’t any ultimate, one-step-tricks to miraculously curing the winter blues, here are some simple ways to get you on the right track. 

1. Soundtrack Your Life

For anyone else who loves taking walks in bright, sunny weather – but not so much in slippery, cold weather: one thing that helps add a little more colour into my walks to and from classes is music. Playing happy, inspirational songs can get you excited for the day ahead of you while taking away from the dreary monotony of dredging your way through the sidewalk slush. But if sad, Sam Smith vibes are what actually get you going instead, then listen to those. The important part is not playing upbeat music, but rather playing music that makes you feel upbeat.

2. Create Consistencies in Your Sleep Schedule

This one is as much for all of you as it is for me. FIX. YOUR. SLEEP SCHEDULE. Waking up at noon on the days where you don’t necessarily have to get up early for a morning class can feel great, and honestly, sometimes it is actually a good thing. However, not providing your body with any form of schedule consistencies is hard on yourself, and you may not even realize it. Managing to create a more balanced cycle will prove to be incredibly beneficial for you in the long run. So, maybe a very viable and attainable New Year’s Resolution to add to your ongoing lists should be to regulate the time you wake up and go to bed each day. 

3. Buddy Up

Independent work is critical for many reasons, such as: self-proficiency, facilitating greater learning, etc. Teamwork is important too, though, and finding strategies to maximize efficiency by tackling common work assignments together is one of the best ways to balance studying and strengthening interpersonal relationships. If you don’t know many or even any of the people in some of your classes because they’re electives, don’t be afraid to reach out and make new acquaintances. It may turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ve made. 

4. Find Ways to Move

Not everyone has the same relationship with exercise. Some people love the gym grind, and if you do, then the great part is, you probably already integrate working out into your normal routine. If this isn’t the case, there are options out there for you. For example, sign up for an intramural team! Even if you don’t think you love sports in a competitive sense, sparing an hour or two every week is not a huge commitment, and it’s a fun way to bond with your friends (who also happen to be your teammates). There are also opportunities to join teams in which you may not know anyone, and this may be slightly more intimidating, but you can look forward to making new friends. Signing up for classes on campus (for me, this would be salsa dancing) is an experience most people find highly successful, and should not be missed out on. 

Many of us are missing summer and can’t wait for all the joy it brings. But opportunists find interesting prospects in all situations, no matter how glum. Hopefully these tips will help bring out the opportunist in you.