When the Motivation Just Isn't There

The start of Winter Quarter for me has been a slow one. Every morning is an uphill battle of whether or not to get out of my warm bed and brave the cold. I've stayed in bed way longer than I should have most mornings. Maybe it’s the gloomy overcast weather or the lingering burnout from the fall quarter, but the lack of motivation to get work done has become frequent.

To prevent future deadlines from stacking up, I’ve been embracing good habits to help me through the first weeks of the winter quarter. Hopefully, you can try these out and see if they can help if you are feeling unmotivated.

laptop, coffee, writing Photo by Thought Catalog from Unsplash

I’ve prioritized establishing a consistent weekly schedule by outlining which class assignments I will do each day. This quarter, a majority of my classes have endless chapters of assigned readings. I break down these assignments, a chapter or two a day, so I’m not overwhelmed with too much reading and note-taking.

A daily routine is necessary. I like to write out all the tasks I aim to finish by the end of the day in my planner and work at it bit by bit. I feel less overwhelmed when I break down my day into a list of smaller tasks, like emailing a professor or doing a homework assignment. This routine has also helped me get things done without the anxiety of having tasks I need to finish all at once.

Journal opened to September Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash Motivation is never consistent for me. Often when I need motivation the most, it disappears. With establishing a monthly, weekly, and daily routine in my life, I have learned not to rely on motivation to get things done. By no means have I mastered sticking to the plans I make. Procrastination is always a struggle. But when I am in a state of stress, and my motivation is out the window, I try my best to think about the bigger picture. I remind myself that by breaking down workloads into more manageable pieces, I can get it done. With every task I can get done, I am building a good habit that helps me in the future. three men and laughing two women walking side by side Eliott Reyna, Unsplash

If being accountable for yourself is a challenge, get your friends or housemates to join in! This quarter, my housemates and I made it a routine to take a short morning walk. Walking together is a commitment to taking better care of ourselves. Some days our walks are longer. Other days it's a quick lap around the neighborhood. Having others in on a routine makes it more enjoyable. On our walks, we catch up with each other, all while exercising.

Small baby steps are the key to building routines that will help you keep moving forward when the motivation isn’t there. Start by making your bed every morning or a quick walk in the evening. Eventually, you’ll realize that the larger tasks ahead aren’t as scary as they seem to be.