Here’s how to stay motivated to actually do some uni work this term
Let’s face it, no one has enough energy to even care right now
Lockdown three has thrown us back into the confinement of the same four walls – whether that’s in Lancs or at home, yet with nothing else to do apart from uni work, that seems to be the only thing we don’t have energy for. How did we used to go out a few times a week, get hammered in Sugar, then go to in person lectures and seminars, complete all our deadlines as well as having a social life? How did we do it? How?
We all seem to be in one big uni slump. We can’t go out on a Friday night to celebrate making it through the week. We can’t even reward ourselves for writing three essays in a week by going to Spoons or meeting up with mates.
With all this free time, why is it that we don’t want to do the work we have so much time to do? How do we get motivated for this term when 2021 started with another national lockdown?
Get yourself a hobby
Most of us have had to abandon the hobbies we once loved pre-Covid. Without being able to meet up in groups, that means sports societies have had to move online and we haven’t been able to play our sport with our teams. Now we have to adapt our interests and find entertainment from activities we can do alone or with people in our household.
This is a great time to discover a new talent or passion. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up knitting or reading but these always seemed too time consuming to you? Maybe you have always wanted to watch Grey’s Anatomy but the 17 seasons scared you away? Maybe you have a guitar which is out of tune at the back of your wardrobe you haven’t picked up in five years? The pandemic has given you time to explore new areas of interest or to reclaim old ones.
Failing this, you can always jump on the “Couch to 5k” running plan, or bake a shedload of banana bread – your housemates will probably thank you for that.
Breaking up the day with your hobbies is a great way to structure your time so you have something to look forward to and also makes sure you don’t burn out.
Organise your time
Make a timetable. It sounds like something a year 11 teacher would say to their GCSE students, but making a timetable will schedule you to do each task so you make sure you stay on top of work. As all lectures are now online, if you don’t have live lectures, it can seem as if you don’t actually have that many contact hours. But you do. You just have to plan the time you do each lecture yourself.
It can be very satisfying to tick off the tasks on your to-do list. When you have assignments and essays, split up each individual stage of the process, from planning to writing each section, then add these mini tasks to your schedule to break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Breaking work down into small elements means that it all adds up and you get things completed on time without actually feeling like you’ve spent ages working on it. Just try things out! If timetabling isn’t for you, fair enough – you’re a student, not a Swiss train conductor.
No, I’m not suggesting that you follow every Chloe Ting workout programme she has, because let me tell you: you will burn yourself out. Use exercise as a way of getting fresh air by going for a jog/ run or doing home workouts (at whatever level suits you) to channel your energy into something physically and mentally productive.
And this doesn’t mean you have to religiously spend time getting to know Joe Wicks through his videos, either. We’ve all had enough of “the country’s PE teacher.”
Just like hobbies, this is another activity to split up your work load to allow yourself to focus on something completely different for a while before returning to uni work.
Make sure to reward your progress
We can’t go out and party in Sugar with our mates, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our achievements in our own houses. Rewards can be as little as a piece of chocolate to buying yourself something you’ve wanted for a while – because much like L’Oreal, you’re worth it. Have something to look forward to to get you through the term, or even just through each day.
Make plans to look forward to
This doesn’t always have to be a holiday, or buying tickets to a concert. It could be something as small as organising a games night with your housemates (or your family, if you’re stuck at home and want to start an argument), getting a takeaway and watching some films, or anything like that. If you have something that you know will be a nice break from doing your work, then it’s always easier to knuckle down a crack on until you can relax again.
Don’t beat yourself up
Be kind to yourself. If you don’t get the grade you wanted on an essay or you slept in and missed that seminar you said you would attend, move on and make a note of how you could do better next time. Maybe you need to do more planning, you need to set an alarm and wake up earlier each day or that you need more breaks between work so you don’t burn out.
Make sure you are prioritising your mental health. You can be productive without trying to do it all. Set yourself reasonable goals, make sure you reward yourself and don’t give up. You’ve got this.