If you’re anything like me, you are a procrastinator. For example, I’m putting off homework right now! In my intro to college class (that colleges make you take so you know how to study and what resources are available to you and how to make it in the real world) we are talking about how lack of motivation is the number one reason students drop out of school. They may say it’s money or that it’s too hard, but it’s more than likely that they’ve run out of steam.
I wish I looked this good when I don’t want to get out of bed but that’s a lot of effort and makeup to sleep in. Not that I haven’t done it before…
Here’s the thing. You’re going to lose your motivation. It happens all the time. Becoming an adult means learning to find the motivation again after you’ve lost it. Elementary school teachers are constantly trying to figure out how to teach material in a fun and engaging way so that the kids stay motivated to finish the lesson and remember the subject matter. The older you get, the less interested your teachers are about making it fun, more they are looking for meaningful connections and discussion. You have to find inspiration and motivation on your own.
And so it goes with life. BYOI (or BYOM for those who like that better). You’re going to have to do things you don’t want to do. There will be times you have to summon the motivation just to get up off the couch or out of bed. For people with depression, this is impossible. Or at least it feels that way.
The first thing to do is believe it is possible to get your homework done. Repeat after me: I can get my homework done. Breathe. Say it again. Take a bigger breath and say it one more time. You got this.
Look! The Doctor believes in you!
The bright side to doing your homework is that you probably only have to get up to go get your materials. Otherwise, you can just sit down on the couch. You don’t have to get up or do manual labor. Physically, this is an easy task.
Something I do a lot when I am procrastinating and dreading homework is to make a homework plan for this particular homework session and for the week. I like making lists and I like seeing things in small tasks. It helps me. I like having a plan.
Journaling has really helped inspire me lately. Try opening a Google Doc and writing out your ultimate goal for your education. Do you simply want to graduate high school? Go on to college? Graduate from college? What kind of degree do you want? What might be nice to major in? Write out all these things and then write a story from your point of view. I want you to imagine you are achieving your ultimate educational goal right now. I want you to write what is happening to you, where you are, who is with you, a whole complete description. Make sure to include how you feel on this day. Once you’ve finished, you’ve got a vision. Look back at this during the bad times, when you can’t remember why you wanted to go to college in the first place. Resist all thoughts of impossibility. If you can’t, write down the thoughts running through your head and change can’t to can and write down why and how you can do it. Every negative thought should become positive
Go to Pinterest. Make a board just for homework inspiration. Put pictures of pretty desks on it. Find interesting homework assignments and funny ones. Put pictures of what you imagine you will look like after completing your homework or schooling. Find cute school supplies and backpacks. Anything that moves you to want to do your work, put it there.
Make a playlist of your favorite movie soundtracks. Try to stay away from songs with lyrics and songs that remind you of lullabies. Keep it upbeat and moving. You’ll like the familiarity of the music but it won’t distract you from your work. Original video game music is also great for studying because it’s meant to keep your focus and keep you on edge, helping you get your homework done faster.
Play pretend. Make believe that you work for NASA and that it is imperative that you figure out these equations pronto. Maybe you’re a detective taking detailed notes on your subject. You’re not about to let another murder happen on your watch. Or you could be sitting on a train in the early 1900s writing a novel or a letter to your dearest friend while a server brings you champagne (go get a champagne flute with whatever drink you like to complete the picture), or my personal favorite, you are studying with your crush and you are sitting right next to him. He doesn’t know you like him, you don’t know he likes you, but you both have fallen madly in love. He watches you and all your little mannerisms when you’re not looking. He’s learning the little things about you and he accidentally lets it slip that he knows too much about you for your relationship to be in the friend zone. He lends you his sweatshirt and it smells so incredibly good and you and he study together, neither of you willing to admit your feelings, but he is confident and sure of himself. See? You can get super detailed with it if you want to (as you can see I have). Make your homework a part of your happy place.
Look, I know you are dreading this. Start with fifteen minutes of work. If you can get through fifteen legitimate minutes of work, then you can treat yourself to a cookie or reading one chapter of your favorite book. Find something.
You can do this.
You can do this.
You can do this.
I believe in you.
I love you.