Keeping motivated

Studying at home and learning online is our new normal for the time being but without our normal routines, places to be and people to see, we can get stuck in a spiral of procrastination and the accompanying guilt, when we convince ourselves that everyone else is getting on, doing more and even learning a new language and baking their own sourdough at the same time! So here are some ideas to keep procrastination at bay.

Start the day with a plan

Have a morning routine and a plan of what you need to do that day. This will set the tone for the day ahead. It’s easy to start the day by easing yourself in gently by doing the simple tasks and maybe browsing the news or social media but try not to fall into this trap. If you start the day with the least appealing task first, this will give you the sense of accomplishment and momentum to get on with all of your other tasks.

Chunk your time

It’s easy when you’re at home to be distracted by other things. Your home life creeps in and it’s tempting to procrastinate by checking the news, putting the laundry on or all the other chores that you only suddenly notice when it’s time to sit down and do some work.

Chunking is the concept of breaking up your day into larger blocks of time instead of reacting to constant interruptions and trying to multitask. Pick a single task and focus on that, turn off notifications and social media.

Chunk your space

Similar to the above point but this one is about your working space. If you can, try to carve out a corner of your home for your work space and close it off when you’re not working.

Set goals but keep them manageable

Try and do something every day that gives you a sense of accomplishment. This doesn’t have to be a big thing, in fact make it easy to begin with. The author of Tiny Habits, BJ Fogg, suggests if you set the bar low, you are more likely to succeed thereby creating a sense of accomplishment and positivity which will lead to a snowball effect of doing more. Decide on your goals and then scale them right back to start with. From a careers angle, this could be something as simple as choosing a job sector you’re interested in and reading a career profile of someone who works in that sector on our York Profiles and Mentors page.

Be kind to yourself

Don’t forget this one! Normal life has shifted for the time being and all of our normal physical busyness like travelling to campus and between lectures, sports and clubs has been stripped away, only to be replaced in some cases by logging into various different platforms. Lectures, clubs, fitness classes and socialising all now take place virtually and zoom exhaustion is real! Break up screen time with chunks of outdoor time or time doing something else – reading, craft or exercising outside for example. The time freed up from not having to commute to lectures can be the time now that you put aside to do something you enjoy.

Take advantage of free tools

A lot of companies have unlocked their resources to make them more accessible during lockdown, for example, meditation through Headspace, Audible books and exercise classes though York Sport but don’t feel like you have to do everything. The array of choices at the moment can be quite overwhelming so perhaps just pick one or two things and try them.