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Motivation for work

Discussion in 'I Need Some Practical Advice' started by Jack D, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Jack D

    Jack D SF Supporter

    As some of my previous rantings may suggest, I am pretty awful at keeping myself willing and motivated to do work and certain assignments, and at University, this is especially a problem.

    Rather than complain and spout out my usual rantings about it as I normally would, I've decided to be more active and actually address the problem.

    Personally, it all gets too much for me for a few reasons. When there's too much for me to handle (in terms of numbers of assignments and how much to do within those assignments). When outside influences sap my morale and take away my energy. And when I simply feel that my efforts are in vain and would not make a difference.

    To my question, to the users of SF, are how do you give yourselves the motivation, in order to keep up your daily work?
  2. yozhik

    yozhik Well-Known Member

    I write out schedules? Like prioritize things and give myself mini deadlines. But like you have to take the schedule seriously and not question it obv. I've been diagnosed with OCPD so that actually probably helps lol because I get super anxious if I break the schedule.

    But I think it's really helpful to train yourself not to think too much and just start so that you don't overwhelm yourself; like notice when you think stuff like 'there's no way I could finish this' 'I don't even know where to start' 'I can't do this' 'what's the point' and try to stop because for me that turns into this whole panicky thing where I dance in circles for an hour and then shut down because I've accomplished nothing. Whereas if you just take it as fact that the work must be done, pick somewhere to start and have a clear path leading to an attainable goal it's much easier to swallow, since instead of thinking of *all the tasks* you just have one. And maybe if you finish everything you're allowed to waste half an hour watching Archer or something.

    I think I might have just suggested motivating yourself with neuroticism. But hey, people have to use the tools they have.
    Arwen and Grok like this.
  3. Silverpuddle

    Silverpuddle Some kind of geek SF Author SF Supporter

    Is it possible for you to limit the number of responsibilities you have? I was just spectacularly mentally ill during my undergrad years--a hospital actually wanted to keep me for a year--but I eventually managed to make it through. I took the minimum number of credits I could per semester while still keeping my financial aid. I couldn't get out of having a job, but I lucked out and managed to get the stupidest, most mindless job on campus, which was actually sort of relaxing. (I picked up printouts from the printer in the computer room, and handed them to people. That's it.) A couple of times I had to get my counselor and psychiatrist to give me official excuses for incompleting classes. I ended up doing college in 5.5 years instead of 4, but I did actually graduate with a respectable GPA.
  4. AlexiMarie7

    AlexiMarie7 Staff Alumni

    Definitely break down your tasks. Some are likely easier/shorter than others.

    If there are a lot, I tend to try to mix them. So I may start with two "easy" ones to be able to cross them off the to-do list, then buckle down to one "biggie", then maybe an extended break, and continue along as needed.

    Also fight the "starting hurdle". The first sentence you write may be trash, and you ultimately dispose of it or edit it a lot, but it's often easier to flesh out and adjust along the way.
    Also, planning helps esp in writing I believe: even if it is just bullet points or key words for paragraphs.

    I also believe in rewarding yourself. This varies for each person of course. You can buckle down for an entire day, to "earn" the next day of whatever you would like to do. Or you can reward yourself with some treat for completing a few tasks, or even just reward yourself with a half hour internet break between.

    It is also possible to reverse reward...ie do something you like first, and then basically I guess guilt your way into making up for having had that. But the other ways may be better. It depends...

    Basically.....start somewhere and push through. You can do it. :)

    For the harder courses where you feel your efforts are in vain...seek out whatever help you may be able to get, and don't be afraid to ask questions...
  5. Silverpuddle

    Silverpuddle Some kind of geek SF Author SF Supporter

    Something else occurred to me--are you in the US? If so, you're covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act if you have mental health problems that get in the way of your academic performance. All universities should have an office dedicated to helping students with disabilities. The office at the school I went to is called the "Disability Resource Center." It could be called something else where you go. They will require documentation from a professional capable of making psyche diagnoses in order to give you services. Exactly what they will do for you will depend on your needs. The idea is to implement accommodations that will allow you equal access to an education. (I never went to the DRC for psyche issues, but I was allowed extra time on math tests due to a learning disability.)
    AlexiMarie7 likes this.
  6. Jack D

    Jack D SF Supporter

    Thank you for your replies. I have some developments but first I will answer some questions.

    i) I do often make it my mission to break things into small chunks, but very often the load takes its toll on me, and when i finally remember the grand scheme of things, it makes me feel like theres no point in continuing. Admittedly i do have the continuous issue of always taking things in huge strides and not breaking it down, and it is something i do try to rectify, but its always something I inevitably end up slipping back into.
    ii) I would also LOVE to limit the number of responsibilities i have, but unfortunately that is not possible, with uni, specific people and moving out, my life is only going to get more complicated, and thats the only way I can see it going. Im not even being rash or harsh on myself when i say that things are getting more and more complicated, and very often it makes me want to quit university altogether.
    iii) I'm terrible at rewarding myself, its something i don't generally do, the things people would count as rewards are things i would normally just do on a daily basis, so i don't know what to do on that regard.
    iv) And no, I am not located in the US, but the United Kingdom does have a (flawed and unfair) system in which people with disabilities must be given some provisions, I just don't want to take advantage of them and feel like I'm cheating the system or playing it out to be worse than it actually is.

    But yeah, updates. I've done next to no work, both because of distractions from people, and now them said people are making me emotionally hurt. Today has been a nightmare, the person i once trusted and had round for a few days, treated him, took care of him, has been nothing but a spoilt brat today, and has done nothing but complain and be grumpy. I can't help but feel now that I am an absolute disgrace of a student, and its moments like these which REALLY kick my motivation down. These are the outside influences I was talking about, people who make me feel horrible and I cannot get away from them.

    And knowing me, I'm now going to get myself into a depressive cycle of "I didnt do work --> I'm a bad student --> I don't matter --> Nothing will change if i tried anyway --> I won't do any work, I'm incompetent". Oh joy...
    AmboySlim likes this.
  7. AmboySlim

    AmboySlim Well-Known Member

    Hit me up if you find out how to solve this
  8. AlexiMarie7

    AlexiMarie7 Staff Alumni

    I didn't do work---->If I do some work I will be a better student and get better grades----> nothing changes if nothing changes-->So I may as well try to do some work....any work and see how it goes.

    Give it a shot.....then do some more work after the above work.

    Have you ever heard of the book Feeling Good? The above cycle is pretty common but it is faulty thinking. I believe it is a mixture of what is termed: all or nothing thinking/mental filter/fortune telling.

    Thoughts are not facts. You can make a change.
  9. Jack D

    Jack D SF Supporter

    I've done that today, and I'm sorry to say I don't feel any better about it. No matter how much I do, whether its small or substantial, my mind always goes to "You could have done more though", then the whole guilt and "not good enough" process just starts again. Either way, I feel like I will have wasted my time.

    But no, I haven't heard of that book. Perhaps its something that I need to look into.
    AmboySlim likes this.
  10. AlexiMarie7

    AlexiMarie7 Staff Alumni

    The book is very helpful. It teaches you to counter and talk back to those thoughts when they come. It takes persistence but it can improve.

    If you can do more, then do more today or tomorrow. We all have our limitations. The energy and time spent beating yourself up is better spent even relaxing and preparing to go for round two of work, whenever that is be it the same day or another time.

    You can tell yourself, maybe I could have done more but I did some/a lot and I acknowledge that, and I will consistently do more again another time.
    Arwen likes this.
  11. Arwen

    Arwen Active Member

    Hi Jack D,

    I'm also a Uni student in the UK in my first year, and I completely understand what you're going through.

    I have exams starting in 2 weeks which I haven't done any revision for in months, and 2 assignments due this week which i haven't started yet but somehow i just can't motivate myself to do any work. Every time i try i also just think it won't make any difference to anything, and that i'm still going to fail.

    But i am starting to try much harder, because although i have thought a lot about quitting uni, i don't want to not be able to come back next year, and see other people doing well and me being stuck at home (and the £9000 a year too :eek:). I agree with what a lot of other people had said about setting yourself mini deadlines and stuff. But also, just when you are doing work, I find listening to fast upbeat music to be quite helpful, i think it tricks my brain into thinking it's exciting. Music without words is better for me though, otherwise i get distracted, so i normally listen to some kind of electro music even if thats not really my normal taste in music.

    But in relation to the "disabilities" support, I know what you mean about not wanting to feel like I'm taking advantage of it. I only recently started seeing a counsellor for my depression, who suggested that I should speak the the disabilities team to seek support with regards to work. At first I was sort of horrified, thinking that I didn't think that I was so bad that I would be classed as needing "disability support". But, considering I have been told I am severely depressed, and it has been affecting my grades a LOT recently I have decided to give it a try, even though i only have a month left of term. I think at my uni what they offer is one on one tutoring about how to stay motivated, study tips and just general support about work and exams. Also, you can get mitigating circumstances, which i think could make a big difference to me. Before Uni, when my depression was a lot better, I was pretty much an A student, but now I'm on an average of about 45% in most of my modules, because I've just been getting worse and worse since that start of University.

    I think that you shouldn't feel ashamed, or like you are taking advantage of the system. The system is there for people like you! You deserve to do well, and sometimes you might just need a little bit of support to help nudge you in the right direction, which is okay. I really hope that you feel more motivated soon, and that you can find the help if you think you need it. And i hope that you do well in your exams! Good luck! :D
    Jack D likes this.