When your motivation is on vacation and you aren’t

Finals week sucks, but the weeks leading up to it are even worse. As an English major most of my finals are actually just papers and other types of projects. We’re almost done, can see the light at the end of the tunnel, almost taste the freedom but we’re not done yet. Only problem, my motivation has taken an unscheduled and unapproved vacation.

For the last twenty minutes, I’ve been holding a book open to the first page while staring aimlessly out the window. I’ve gone through every possible option for lunch, none of which sound that appealing and have already cursed myself for not bringing my headphones so I could watch New Girl right now. Yes, that’s right, I’m at the point where I am willing to watch Netflix in the library (because if you’re in the library you’re automatically being productive).

This isn’t the first time this has happened. This happens at this point every semester.  I feel no excitement looking at the pens that I was thrilled to use in January. I don’t even want to read the books anymore. Me not wanting to read, that’s new. I think this is the lowest my motivation has ever reached.

So instead of doing things to combat my missing motivation, I am going to make a list of things that I could theoretically do or have done in the past.

If your motivation is taking a quick day trip to the countryside because it really just needs a break right now…

That’s okay. We all can’t be productive all the time. Grab yourself a pint of ice cream and settle in for a good long binge session of whatever show you’re feeling right now. I would suggest The Good Place, but we all know you’re just going to rewatch The Office. When I do that, I always end up just skipping to the episodes that are important for Jim and Pam’s relationship.


If your motivation is on a weekend getaway…

Step one: evaluate. How much do you really need to get done? (What is due tomorrow?)

Step two: Do that.

Step three: Make a list of all the things that need to get done in the next couple of days.

Step Four: Ignore list and watch Netflix.

Step Five: Buckle Down. Remember that list we made before you bawled your eyes out rewatching the finale of The Office, do at least half of the things on it.

If your motivation is headed to an undisclosed European location for an undetermined period of time…

First off, make sure that it’s actually gone for good and not just hiding somewhere. You do this by watching Netflix for a few hours and coming back to the task at hand. Still not motivated? Follow the weekend getaway protocol and make a list, but divide that list up into days. Paper due on Friday? Have the research done by Tuesday, the outline written on Wednesday, and the rest of it on Thursday. Reward the completion of each task with ice cream and Netflix.


If your motivation has not returned from its enviable travels?

  • Change Location. Seriously, this can make all the difference. If you go somewhere with the purpose of completing a task, you’re more likely to get it done.
  • Set a timer. Force yourself to work for at least thirty minutes before you can move onto something else, chances are you’ll get into a grove and the words will just flow out of you.
  • Three words: Caffeinated sugar-high.
  • Wake up early and start doing stuff before you’re awake enough to remember that you’re actually unmotivated and not just tired.
  • Conversely, take a power nap.
  • And if all else fails, there’s nothing like waiting until the last-minute to get motivated.

Disclaimer: This advice is not good. (Re: caffeinated sugar-high).

What do you do to wrangle your motivation when it leave you high and dry? Please tell me as I do not want to even write a to-do list right now.

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