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How to Motivate Yourself

By RGrant 24 Feb 2021

Writing any piece of academic work has, arguably, always been a lonely and isolating process. Hardly surprising that the added pressure of working from home, with many of the usual support networks altered, if not removed altogether, has affected motivation. 

I was a student long before this pandemic, but I still found summoning the enthusiasm to sit at the computer and research or write to be an endless struggle.

We can often add too much extra pressure on ourselves. We can attempt totally indigestible chunks at a time that become so overwhelming that, in the end, nothing is accomplished. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. 

The Best Piece of Advice

The best piece of advice that I ever received was when a friend told me to ‘just do one graph’. Rather than telling yourself you’ll complete one chapter in the next session, or 1000 words, or eight solid hours, just do one graph, one paragraph, 100 words. It worked for me. And, before I knew it, I had often completed more than my target for the day. Then, you can focus on the positives, on what has been achieved and not on what remains. 

I would also recommend that you leave each study session at a point where you know the next step; know where you’ll pick it up. It can be very difficult to start again if you are unsure where to begin. Leave mid-sentence if that helps. 

Don’t forget to ask for help or clarification if you’re really stuck, but you can do it. It’s not easy, but the challenge makes the achievement all the more rewarding.

Dr Kerry Karam

Writing and Study Skills Tutor