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Any advice for someone who struggles intensely with motivation when it comes to schoolwork?

Asking on behalf of a friend who is experiencing mental health challenges <3

#motivation #mental-health #college #homework #schoolwork #student-life

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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11 answers


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lily’s Answer

Hey! I would say its really important to focus on how you can be actionable, even if it's only for short periods of time, . Too often, people are caught up with " I have to finish 10 assignments " or "I need to study 3 hours today." This mentality can be difficult for students struggling with their mental health because then you feel overwhelmed and will be unable to accomplish anything at all.

Instead, the next time you don't feel like studying, try to sit down, even if it's just for 10 minutes. Set a timer and see what you can accomplish in that time. Chances are, that 10 minutes may go by faster than you think and you'll realize you really can be motivated and not too overwhelmed. If you really can't focus after 10 minutes, focus on doing a light task that you need to do anyway to take care of yourself like showering, eating, exercising, etc. Then, you can try again after the task is done. If you focus on your goals in small chunks, you will slowly progress towards the finish line!
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Deijana’s Answer

Stay focused and remember the bigger picture. What's the big goal you want to accomplish? Sometimes we can get overwhelmed when thinking about the long road or everything that needs to be done and fearing we won't accomplish it. We fear failure so much sometimes we don't even try. Look at each task as one small step closer to the bigger goal. If you need to motivate yourself, make a list and break things down one-by-one then give yourself smaller goals. For example, if you're struggling to get out of bed and go to class, think about what you really want in the day and give yourself a reward after class for attending. Do this with your more difficult tasks, studying, homework, getting to bed on time, and reward yourself when you do it.
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Nancy’s Answer

These are good answers. Another thing that can help is to switch rooms while working. Sometimes changing environment can help with focus. Try to make a game out of some aspect of your studying, such as looking for new vocabulary words in your reading, or challenging yourself to memorize a new formula in 10 minutes or less. It can be difficult to believe that homework today helps you achieve tomorrow’s dreams, but when you graduate you’ll see that it’s true. When that reward seems too far off, treat yourself to a mini break after every 15 or 20 minutes of work. Make check marks on a to do list next to every thing you finish. Have fun and use your favorite color marker to check things off. That will give you motivation to do the next thing.

Another thing to know is that some people suffering from depression have a very difficult time with motivation. If none of the above tips work, encourage your friend to talk with a school counselor, school social worker, or to go to the college counseling center. There is professional help available at almost every school, or at least someone who can help your friend get linked with a counselor.

Nancy recommends the following next steps:

Check out counseling options at your school.
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Mariya’s Answer

Hello! I just wanted to say that a lot of motivation comes from yourself. Cheesy right? I understand that in college your life is all over the place and you are literally working on the basis of your career path, remember what took you there in the first place. Close your eyes and invasion yourself doing something you love. When I panic about how I am going to achieve my goals, I tend to write them down so I don't spiral into a panic attack. You want to calm yourself down so you can assess your own situation. It is also ok to take a break and talk to a friend, maybe even do some homework in the same room as a friend so that you feel a bit better. Remember that your mental health always comes first. Take care of yourself by having a bit of time to pamper yourself, read, and listen to music. Take things slow and research different ways to study to help you change things up. I believe that you can achieve your goals since the only way for you to go is up!
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Kirstie’s Answer

Set goals that that seems small and insignificant, I found a helpful to physically write out a list and check them off as I went and have a reward system so that every few I accomplished I got to watch the episode of my current series on Netflix. Finals or essays that were essentially going to make up my grade and of course rolled around I made sure I completed them sporadically over multiple days and I gave myself a bigger reward such as finally going out on a Saturday night knowing I had completed my final.
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Nicole’s Answer

Don't try to tackle it all at once. Break it up into small chunks and then reward yourself for completing each chunk. Then celebrate at the end. We are naturally enticed by rewards in our human nature. Don't worry about doing it all at once!

But most importantly put yourself first! Your mental health will ALWAYS be more important than any homework assignment. Be sure to take breaks and time away from school just to focus on you and do things that make you happy and bring you joy.
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Meighan’s Answer

I really recommend the Pomodoro technique. Essentially, you set a timer for a set amount of time and work on one task with no multitasking for that set amount of time. Then you take a break, and repeat the process. 25 minutes, followed by a 5 minute break works for some people, but I prefer 50 minutes followed by a 10 minute break. Do this 1-2 times and you'll be amazed at how much you accomplish in that amount of time. Just starting ONE task can be a powerful motivational tool toward accomplishing more in your day.

Bonus points for also using apps to block your access to distractingly social media sites, or working on assignments that do not require internet use (like writing a paper when you have already completed your research) in a WiFi dead zone or with your WiFi off.

Good luck!
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Lira’s Answer

Hi Abby,

I think this is also applicable to those who are working as well and the only thing you might be able to do is to keep moving forward, do something else beside your studies, something you are really passionate about. We are all different human beings and we are all motivated differently. That is why it is good to find something that you like, something rewarding for yourself that after doing your studies, you will be able to do it.

I used to be in a band, and I am motivated to study because, if I do great on my studies I will be able to play my music at the end of the day.

Keep pushing forward and do not be too hard on yourself.

God Bless
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Courtney’s Answer

One thing one of my favorite teachers said to me is this; "School might be hard for you or not what motivates you but that doesn't determine your success out of school, you're going to be fine and most likely you're going to be great."
I wasn't a great student I struggled staying focused or being motivated by school work, even in college. This lack of motivation did not carry over to my career! I have been motivated by working for great companies and with great people. So while school is necessary you have many many more talents that will make you successful. Good luck and keep working hard! School is one small piece of the puzzle, keep that in mind.
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Natalie’s Answer

Hi Abby! There are a lot of great answers here with specific techniques to try. Some will work for your friend, and some won't. We all motivate ourselves differently, and we all learn/focus in a way that's unique to our brain. For example, I have a really hard time motivating myself to do something challenging when my desk is cluttered - no idea why, it's just the way my brain works!

More importantly: if your friend already knows that they are struggling with their mental health, no amount of forcing themselves to be motivated will help. A lack of motivation is often a symptom, not the problem. I would encourage your friend to look for extra help and resources. Most colleges offer on-campus therapy or access to a psychiatrist at free or heavily discounted rates. If your school doesn't offer therapy, they could search for therapists in their area - most therapists offer sliding scale payments, which means they'd be able to find a therapist that they can afford. If your friend already knows that they have a specific learning disability related to focus / motivation (for example, add/adhd, executive function issues, etc) your school will likely be able to provide learning accommodations. Here's a great example: I had friends in college with ADD who really struggled to complete tests in a crowded lecture hall, in less than an hour. They were able to get accommodations to take their tests in a quiet room and have a bit longer to complete their work.

It's really hard to force yourself to be motivated and focus! Sometimes we just have to be kind to ourselves and try to solve the bigger problem first. I hope your friend is able to get the support they need.
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Simeon’s Answer

I would say to make sure that you're work is in manageable chunks. Don't try to do too much work at once. Make manageable small goals on a daily timeline instead of letting it back up. Also, it might be a good idea to take some time to breathe and slow down instead of just consuming media to relax. Meditation is pretty helpful and there are a lot of free apps that help with it.
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