Flyby Investigates: Ways To Stay Motivated for the Last Weeks of the Semester
Let’s face it — life since the pandemic has been quite the ride. None of us could have foreseen even half of this year’s events, yet here we are waking up one minute before lectures (or, you know, two hours past), reaching the peak social experience that is Zoom, and watching time fly by (pun absolutely intended) and disappear into a time warp. With every month, it grows exceedingly more difficult to stay at least somewhat motivated and catch up on the 10 lectures you’ve missed. Luckily, flyby is here to help you finish off the last stretch of the semester strong!
Fix up your workspace for ~optimal productivity~
As much as you may claim that your utterly chaotic workspace is simply an “organized chaos and you definitely know where everything is located,” don’t deny the fact that you’ve spent three months looking for a pencil and eventually found it under the pile of laundry that lives on your chair. Your surrounding environment has a huge impact on your productivity, so it’s time to finally change things up. The Spruce magazine recommends a few steps you can take to completely transform your workspace, including practical storage solutions, the addition of greenery, new lighting, or even an inspirational vision board. But if you’re not feeling up for all that, at least put the laundry away already. We believe in you.
Apps to help you stay focused
Can’t stop reaching for your phone every five minutes when there’s no good reason for doing so? You’re definitely not alone. Mobile app developers have built some adorable applications that can help motivate you to study and stay off your phone. For example, a popular app named Forest has you plant a virtual tree when you begin working, and as time passes the tree continues to grow as long as you don’t leave the app. You can also collaborate with friends to plant entire forests. As an added bonus, the app is partnered with an organization that actually plants trees. If you leave the app, however, the tree dies. Don’t do it! SaVE thE TreES!
Get on top of your sleep routine.
I know you may be laughing at this one, but seriously, at least try. Despite what you may have heard, it’s not actually possible to catch up on sleep. Not only do you feel like complete crap (and nap through Zoom lectures) when you don’t get enough sleep, prolonged sleep deprivation can actually be pretty dangerous. Our very own Harvard Med School calls out our sh*tty sleep habits by noting several health hazards that come with sleep deprivation, including anything from anxiety, depression, obesity, and diabetes, to an increased risk of car accidents. Ever zone out mid-lecture? You’re actually lapsing into a “microsleep” where you temporarily lose all consciousness. Who knows what you’re capable of doing in that span of time, god forbid you accidentally unmute yourself and don’t realize it until after you’ve passionately performed an Ariana Grande song cover to the entire class. Plus, there’s no good reason to be sleep deprived. We all know you’re just watching TikToks at 3 a.m. and not actually doing anything productive.
Take breaks. But, like, purposeful ones.
I know what you’re thinking: the problem is I take too many breaks! No, the problem is that you probably aren’t smart about the breaks you take. Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro study technique? Aside from it’s awesome name that makes me think of spaghetti, it’s actually proven to be incredibly effective. Essentially, this method says to study for intervals of 25 minutes, taking five minute breaks in between, and after four sessions take a thirty minute break. The University of British Columbia gives a short blurb on the Pomodoro method, and it’s definitely worth checking out. When you do take breaks, consider stepping outside or doing some jumping jacks so that you can pretend you exercised. Plus, you’ll feel as though your breaks are perfectly justified (which they are!).
Have something to look forward to.
We all know that this is not the ideal time to travel or plan holiday parties of any sort. But try to plan something fun for the future so that you have something to look forward to. Maybe that means a family camping trip, or finally taking on a project you haven’t gotten around to. Or maybe even go psycho with some fresh spring decor this year and deck out your home until it’s no longer recognizable. Or knit your dog one of those adorable Christmas sweaters. Or knit yourself a sweater. I’m just throwing stuff out there, but get creative! We can all make the best of our situations, even if nothing is ideal this year. Remember, we’re all in it together.
In short, finding motivation isn’t a hopeless task. Even the most minor changes can be complete productivity game-changers. So hang in there, buy a Snuggie, tune into those last lectures, and have a wonderful rest of the semester!