Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Staying Motivated

If you have to continually fight the tendency to procrastinate, the problem may be flagging motivation. If you're not motivated to finish a task, it is far easier to put it off.

Most people derive motivation from a goal. Starting with a clear focus and coming back to it to remind yourself of your bigger plan will help you stay on the path to achieving your end goal, even when life gets a bit crazy. Take a moment to remember your priorities for university and you may find it easier to buckle down and focus on your coursework.

See student testimonial: Rebecca Merino

Beat the Procrastination Problem

A major factor of success for many students is not just finding the time to do everything that needs to be done, but avoiding the trap of putting things off when there is time. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Use the "wedging technique."
    Trick yourself into getting started by committing to only five minutes of work. Once you start, you may find it easier to keep going. Action generates motivation.

  • Divide tasks into manageable parts.
    People often procrastinate when a job seems too difficult. Break large assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks. When a project seems less daunting, you're more likely to tackle it.

  • Find a comfortable study area.
    Concentration is a funny thing: some students need absolute silence in which to work, others thrive in the centre of the action. Do what's right for you, but if you find it hard to concentrate, you may need to work in a calmer environment.

  • Disconnect.
    Turn off Messenger, your cell phone, your email, etc. Limit yourself to checking messages to every couple of hours or so, not every two minutes.

  • Allow yourself breaks and rewards.
    Don't expect to concentrate on one assignment or project for three hours straight. If you feel your mind wandering, or notice you aren't soaking up any more information, take a five-to ten-minute break. But make sure you time these breaks to ensure ten minutes doesn't turn into an hour.