College is supposed to be mainly about your studies, but everybody knows that campus life involves much more. Sports, parties, jobs, dating, living on your own: These things will make their way onto your calendar too, as well they should. But if you start shirking homework to make room in your schedule for something else, your priorities may have fallen off course. Follow the tips below to motivate yourself to do that homework and get back to the activities you love.
Look at your tuition bill
Whether it’s you, your parents, a scholarship fund, or the government, somebody is paying a lot of money for your education. You wouldn’t want your benefactors to think they’d made a bad investment, would you? Regardless of who’s paying, you should expect to get a certain value for the price. Why pay thousands of dollars—or ask someone else to—if you’re not going to reap all the benefits?
Look at your good grades
Take time to review your excellent track record regularly. Don’t just picture your grade report in your head; actually look at it. Remind yourself of what you stand to lose by skipping your homework. Take a screenshot and save it as your wallpaper, or put an electronic sticky note on your desktop so you’ll always see it.
Look at your bad grades
If your performance is slipping, it’s easy to bury your head in the sand and head to the lounge or your neighbor’s party. Look at those grade reports, marked-up tests, and comments from the instructor. Face reality, buck up, and get those assignments done now. Use a bulletin board, screenshots, links to your report, and other ways of visualizing what you don’t want to repeat.
Every day, pick something you love to do and promise that you’ll only do it after you finish your homework. It could be anything from watching the latest episode of “The Carmichael Show” to giving yourself a manicure. Stick to your guns and use that incentive to finish your work in no time.
Before you start streaming “Fifty Shades of Grey” to get ideas, back up and head in a different direction. Tell yourself that if you don’t do your homework, you’ll have to do X instead. Turn off your phone for the rest of the day (except for emergencies, of course), call your mother, deny yourself dessert, run an extra mile, or come up with some other disincentive. The trick is to stick to it.
Homework seems particularly daunting if it’s an open-ended affair. If you’re in college, you should be using a planner regularly and scheduling study sessions. Whether or not you’ve blocked out study time, a timer can help you stay on task and give you hope that this, too, shall pass. Use the timer to mark the absolute end of your session, or set alarms to cue you for regular five-minute breaks. Start with a 10- or 15-minute session. Chances are you’ll be psyched to keep going once you’ve met your first goal.
Go somewhere else
Studying in your dorm can be tricky, particularly if your roommate has a different schedule from you or is simply from a different planet. The library is the classic study location, because it doesn’t really lend itself to any other activity. When you’re sitting at a study carrel or table, there’s not much else to do but get that work done. You’ll be inspired to hurry up and get out of there.
Dip into these seven tips anytime you need a motivation boost. Most importantly, remember that doing your homework can affect the rest of your life. This shouldn’t scare you but rather show you the power you have to map out a successful career and life for yourself.
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