By PLA Team Leader Heather
Victim: Me. Fourth Year Queen’s Student, mere months away from graduation.
Item(s) Reported Missing: Motivation to study.
Victim’s Statement: With a diploma so close I could feel it, and post-grad plans well laid out, the pressure for grades was dwindling. And, with it was going my motivation! There was a time when I could power through hours of reviewing, reading, and studying. I was so focused! But lately, Facebook, emails, and snack breaks had been winning my time. I was worried I was losing my edge. This couldn’t be happening to me! How was I ever going to succeed in grad school if I couldn’t find motivation now?
Intervention: After a few weeks of fretting over my missing motivation, I sat down and took a hard look at my situation. I figured out a few things.
- This is normal! Motivation fluctuates. And, a dip in motivation is not uncommon in soon-to-be grads.
- I can’t just put off studying until I “feel” like it. Motivation can be developed, even faked. Studies even state that the more you practice, the more motivated you will become.
- I was forgetting the very strategies that I’d been using for so long to give me my motivation. I hadn’t lost my edge, I’d just forgotten how to use it!
And so, with a new positive outlook, I revisited a few of those old strategies.
- 50/10 Rule: Study for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. Repeat! Knowing that 10 minutes of bliss is coming is a super motivator! And keeping chunks of studying short keeps you focused.
- Break it down: “Study for PSYC midterm” looks pretty dull sitting on your To Do List for days. So why not break it up by chapter or by week of lecture material? Crossing off 5 items instead of one = 5 times the satisfaction!
- STING: Select one thing, Time Yourself, Ignore everything, No distractions, Give yourself a reward! – Sometimes all your need to get yourself started is.. starting. Select one thing, anything, and time yourself (for even just 10 minutes)! By doing what you dread, you’ll be surprised (as I was) at how easy it then becomes to keep going.
Closing Notes: With a few simple strategies and a little practice, my motivation was found. Case closed!