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Students - How do you motivate yourself to work?

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Well-Known Member
Hi SF!

I'm at university at the moment, but I already had the same problem at school.

I'm finding it EXTREMELY difficult to get myself to actually do any work. It's infuriating! It's like... I know I have lots of time and the ability to do it... And I always plan - Say that I'm going to do it ''tonight''... And then, the night before it's due I end up having to pull an all-nighter. I know it'll feel so much better if I just do it, but... I just don't!

I've always managed to somehow get good grades anyway, but it makes it so stressful. I'm constantly worrying about how I haven't finished this and that yet, and end up just sitting around doing nothing at all because I'm too stressed about the work I haven't done to grant myself any fun free time. I get so depressed.

Every time I promise myself.. ''Next time I'll do it all way in advance!'' and then it's always the same again. I:

Haha, I hope that made sense!

So... What do you guys do to get yourself to work in good time?

(Yeah, I'm meant to be doing sketchbook work now. Want to do at least 50 pages by next week. Was going to do 10 today, I've done like half of one. OTL)
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Staff Alumni
Maybe this is a way of avoiding the 'good times' because of the stress of procastination is a stress you know and can deal with...just my 2 cents


Staff Alumni
The best resource I have stumbled upon about procrastination is the book "the now habit" by Neil Fiore. It addresses the underlying psychological causes of procrastination rather than just the typical time management stuff. its largely inspired by cognitive therapy if that rings a bell for you. I have procrastination issues as well and the dent I made about it, I owe them to the exercises in that book. Also, there is a good online support group called http://procrastinators-anonymous.org/ . Its based on the 12-steps approach.


Well-Known Member
My only motivation is fear: I worry that I'll screw up my assignments, so I keep putting them off. Then I get more and more scared as the deadline draws near, complete the projects in terror, tell myself I'll never put things off again, and of course rinse and repeat. I'm in grad school now: I still haven't learned :D


Well-Known Member
Sometimes I have to leave my apartment to get stuff done. I'm not sure how far you are from the library, but that's where I usually go. It's quiet and other people around me working helps me to work. I often have to force myself to go, but it does really help to get away from all the distactions and focus.
i surrounded myself by other studious people. i.e., i went to the library. there's zero distractions there so you -have- to study.

the other thing is to have a tangible goal to work towards. last year i had the promise of leaving high school to work towards.

other thing i found was to do so as soon as like, i got up for the morning and had breakfast cause thats when i concentrate best.

good luck.

Mr Stewart

Well-Known Member
I don't know. All four years I put things off to the last minute I possibly could and then cranked them out in a caffeine fueled bout of madness. The only things I didn't do like that were art studio courses, but those were setup in such a way that you had to show consistent progress so procrastinating meant guaranteed bad marks anyway.

You could schedule a set time that you always devote to schoolwork. That way it's routine and something you can get used to. I probably should have done something like that. :unsure:


Well-Known Member
hey mirikun!

i feel like i wrote your post and you took it out of my head or something. lol. that's EXACTLY what i do. i'm in my 2nd year of medical school now, and i have yet to learn.

when i was in 5th grade, somebody told me, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". turns out to be true (learned that the hard way). if you're getting good grades with this method, and it works for you, stick with it. what you need to do instead is learn how to make it okay that you're procrastinating, so that you don't get too stressed out.

for motivation, though: nothing beats food (even though my depression symptoms include a severely decreased appetite, i somehow can still be motivated by food). what works best for me is to get a bag of gummy bears and snack on them while i study. i also used to never study at home. libraries. and, i always deactivate my facebook account the weeks before an exam. i also delete the games on my phone that i play a lot. i have to be strong and not reactivate or re-upload those distractions, but it works. if i can avoid it, i don't take a computer with me. or i make it so i can't get on the internet (assuming i don't need it). i actually just take my ipod touch with me and use it as my computer to look up things i need to know. this way, i'm not going to want to do anything other than what i need to on that tiny thing...

for the record, the depression destroys my focus. idk if you're on medication or not, but when i first went on antidepressants, it was like ritalin! it was amazing. did you know it wasn't normal that i couldn't study without falling asleep?! i didn't know that was abnormal. man. my world has changed since i started medication.

good luck to you!


Well-Known Member
Plan a timetable for yourself. Allocate time specifically for each thing you need to do. Turn your computer off, put your cell phone and other distractions away when it's time to get work done. Organize study sessions with friends. Reward yourself with breaks after each study session.
Well, I have this habit of studying for an hour, followed by doing leisurely things for half an hour, back to studying/schoolwork for another hour. That way, I get motivated and there's actually no room for procrastinating. You just really need to manage your time well. And of course, if you're anxious to get outstanding grades, this actually makes you want to study really harder. Tested and proven. ;)


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I have been exactly the samw. With me practically on the verge of suicide back in July over one assignment. I find the best thing to do in this situation, especially with depression is to liaise with the relevant tutors and see if you can get an extension so you arent pulling an all nighter the night before but still pretend you are working towards the first hand in date. Also even if you do 100 words a night as soon as you get the assignment it is progress and you will have it done before you know it. It is difficult to motivate yourself but try do littlw and often.

just dont care

Well-Known Member
I dont actually motivate myself. It actually come down to me doing either one of two things. I either just say screw it and dont do the work. the other is i just get super frusterated and snap, blasting music cursing for about an hour then buckling down and getting it all done.

Broken Wings

Well-Known Member
Not really the best to answer this, as for the most part I do it the same as you...

I generally force myself to do work by reminding my self that if I don't get good grades here in college, then there is no point to being here.
I am spending money I don't have in order to be here,I need to get out of it with the best I can or it will be a waste. If I come out of it with bad grades and debt, I would have been better to not go in, or not come out.

I put up pictures of the house I someday want to own. I put my well-marked tests around to remind me how good I feel when I get good marks.

My biggest stumbling block has always been getting good marks despite not doing work. So I team up with people who do work/aren't getting good marks, when there is homework. I am more likely to study if I feel I am helping someone figure something out, or if I would be sitting around while they do homework (to avoid being lazy).

I go to the 24hour labs in my school, so I am not on my laptop, where I can "do what I want". Or I take my laptop to McDonalds and tell myself that the people around me are judging me if I am not doing homework. Then get something I like when I have done a good chunk of the project, as a reward.

In the end I still end up doing most things in the few days before it is due. But I find these things work for me when I remember I have assignments...

Good luck.


Well-Known Member
I generally get a weekly planner and assign assignments for myself giving myself a few days of leeway. I know I only need English to graduate, so I give that top priority and put all of my other classes on the backburner. Motivation is hard to get, don't get me wrong. I just find making small tiny goals at certain increments of the day the best way for me to make sure i get everything done.
I don't. I do the assignments a few hours before deadline. Why I eventually do it in the end? Because else I'd fuck up and then people'd know there's something wrong with me.
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I don't really... :/ I try to do a little bit each night, but even the thought of doing work stresses me out so much sometimes. I haven't really changed in terms of putting things off from how I was in my school days. Sometimes I simply cannot be bothered. I've had less and less of an interest in uni lately. Sometimes setting a small, achievable task helps (i.e. doing 300 words of a 1500 word essay per night), but sometimes even that doesn't work. I waste so much time doing nothing basically - just pissing about on the computer. At least I'm not as bad now as I was at summer school, I suppose...


Well-Known Member
The only way I can do any work is if I sit down and put my headphones in, turn my brain off and just slog through, otherwise I'm useless at it.
OK, so feel free to slap me - but I'm in my last year at uni and I've always been the sort of person who gets things done way in advance of the deadline. That way, I always have time to change bits / edit / proofread etc., and feel nice and chilled as the deadline approaches.

What I do, is always just look things over / get things done at the latest a week after something's been set (at the very latest, two weeks). Even if I don't write anything for a bit, I've at least got the questions / tasks in my head, and I can be mulling it over before doing any actual action on it.

Then again, being a bit of a perfectionist helps ... Try and motivate yourself - give yourself goals, or treats if you do something well. "I'll do these 500 words and write them well, then have a game on the computer / bit of chocolate or whatever." Try and see if that works :smile:


New Member
I dont know about you, but i have the same problem and some of the tricks posted here are really good. I find going to the library or a coffee shop helps a lot. They close at 10 ish so you know you wont do an all nighter if you can just finish it before it closes!
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