Keep Rollin': How To Stay Motivated
Most of the time, what’s hard about a journey of postgraduate study is neither the start nor the end of it – it’s about what’s happening in between. Waning motivation is a problem that we heard from postgraduate students too often, so we’ve got a few pointers ready for you to keep going through the journey, come hell or high water.
Once you have your schedule at the start of the semester, start to note all the deadlines for assignments and projects somewhere you can always see. Our suggestion? Your smartphone. Estimate the time you might need to finish them and how would you get them done within those time limits. Having a rough framework on how to get these done can motivate you to start on them sooner, and helps you to balance other commitments you might have in advance.
Declutter your spaces
Keep your shelves, study desk and house clean. People with ‘restful’ and ‘restorative’ homes tend to be happier with better mental wellbeing, in comparison to people who describe their homes as ‘cluttered’ or ‘messy’. Ever wonder why we feel more optimistic after we cleaned our house? This is because the act of organisation gives a physical signal to our brain that we are capable of being orderly, which results in feelings of affirmation, boosting our confidence and self-esteem along the way.
A simple 10-minute sit up bench should be enough after two hours of sitting at your desk in the library. It’s also easy to fall back into an unhealthy diet of snacks, instant ramen and soft drinks when time is rarely on your side, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Replace the snacks with easy-to-make sandwiches rich with veggies (you can do the shopping during weekends and budget them wisely for the whole week) and cut off the soft drinks altogether. Don’t sacrifice your sleep over assignments too often.
Make yourself laugh!
If all the coursework, assignments and projects are getting overwhelming, take a deep breath, tap on that Netflix icon in your gadget and immerse yourself in some good comedy shows. Just like your body, your brain also needs time-out when it gets tired, and laughter is usually the best medicine. Of course, every person’s taste is different, so choose whichever makes you happy. Just remember to control yourself from binging on these entertainment shows, which could mess up your timeline by doing so.
Start with small goals
Keep small goals that are attainable and possible to achieve within short time frames. This will give you a sense of achievement and boost your positive thoughts especially about yourself. Start small, such as cleaning your bedroom for the day, or give your cat a bath, or just finish the list for groceries you need this week. Setting up goals that you can accomplish each day, rather than pushing yourself to get more things done but end up not completing any and feeling less productive will help you to build momentum for your motivation.
As Lou Holtz once said, “it’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
Postgraduate studies are stressful; everybody is aware of that. Sometimes you wonder if the reason you’re starting yours is enough motivation to get you through, and it’s normal. Motivations can be interchangeable throughout your journey, and you don’t have to stick with just one. Taking one step at a time is alright, as long as it is bringing you forward and further to your destination.