Most of you are probably starting to study for your final exams and working on your final papers. Some of you are probably starting to feel the pressure and stress of finishing up your assignment. I am also in the same situation. Unfortunately, sometimes, we get lost in our busy schedule trying to finish up projects for school and working that we tend to forget why we decided to go to school in the first place. For this post, I thought I would share some strategies to help you maintain your motivation to finish this semester with a bang! Finding and maintaining your motivation to finish any tasks is always a challenge, BUT there are ways to overcome this. Below is a sample problem that I often encounter each semester which tends to prevent me from accomplishing my tasks. I thought that I would share how I typically approach this problem because I know that other students tend to encounter the same issue.
My Strategies: Time management (dividing a huge task into smaller tasks), taking breaks, providing incentives to yourself for each accomplishment
Procrastination is and will always be my number one challenge especially when I am required to read multiple reading materials to write a research paper. This tends to happen when I have to write a long and comprehensive research paper that requires me to read 15 or more research articles (typically for class). To counter this issue, I would divide my large project into smaller parts so that the reading and writing portions would not overwhelm me. With the smaller parts, I would set goals and provide an incentive (break and watch TV for 30 minutes to an hour) for me to help me maintain my motivation level. Recently, I learned about a strategy of using literature table via excel sheet to record relevant information (to my paper) in an excel file. The goal of this strategy is to pick out relevant information from each article and put them in a category in your excel sheet that will help you when you start writing your paper; this is to have a visual summary of your articles so you will not have to reread them to search for the information that you need. I liked this strategy because it does not require me to reread all of my articles just to extract the information that I needed. If you are curious about this method, below is a screenshot of my Literature Table from my seminar paper to give you an idea of what it is.
Overall, self-awareness is key to overcoming any challenges. In my case, I know that procrastination can hinder my performance especially with writing long papers. However, because I know this problem can happen, I have the tools to overcome it. No matter what challenge you face, always know that you have the resources to problem solve these issues. If you struggle with procrastination, like me, and would like some help identifying your own strategies to overcome it, I would suggest stopping by the Center for Academic Success and schedule an academic coaching session for time management.