My name is Jaylyn and I have a hard time finishing what I start. I’ve had a few conversations with people about where the de-motivation might come from or why it becomes so difficult to finish something that you started working on so passionately. I think as this semester comes to a close it’s especially obvious how hard it is for a lot of people to stay motivated on projects.
I ask friends how their really cool project is going and they start their sentence with “ugh”, “ugh there have been complications”, “ugh this team member stopped doing work”, “ugh I don’t even want to talk about it because it stresses me out!” and I’m right there with them completely able to empathize. I think the hardest part about being a student is finding the motivation to finish something even though it’s become complicated, your teammates are unreliable and it’s not the only thing in your universe demanding your time and attention, but with that said actually finishing is a wonderful endorphin high. The moment that you’ve finally completed something that was complicated will be the moment when you can’t stop yourself from smiling, you did it, you accomplished something and at least at one point that something was pretty cool, so now by conquering it you’re kinda cool.
I figured I would share some of the things that I do to keep the motivation high because I understand how hard it can be to finish anything especially when the “e;ugh’s”e; start settling in:
1. Talking about the “ugh”.
Talking actually helps me a lot I’m an extrovert so getting the stress out in the open often means engaging with friends and we might talk all night about all the ugh’s out there getting us down. But, once their out in the open it helps to make them seem smaller than carrying them alone. As a bonus I get energized by being with my friends and I’m able to accomplish some work.
2. Organizing your time.
Probably just as hard as trying to stay motivated is organizing your time, but I’ve found that if I’m constantly updating my Google calendar then it relieves future stress. Future stress can be anything from realizing I forgot to turn something in and now have to spend the next 6 hours working on it to only get half as many points to forgetting about my best friends birthday and not having any time/money to do anything for it.
3. Look from a different perspective.
School is expensive, REALLY expensive, uncomprehendingly expensive, but my parents have always told me how valuable an education is and how important it is for them that I get at least my Bachelor degree. My parents went to college, but they never graduated and every time I see them they want to hear about all the stuff I’m learning and doing in school, for them it’s exciting to hear about all the cool college stuff I’m doing. I want to have things to tell them, because I like it when my parents are proud of me and I know it makes them happy too. For a more logical perspective as opposed to emotional, try thinking about school as a job, you’re being paid thousands of dollars for 15 weeks worth of work and you’re expected to complete ‘x’ number of projects or assignments. Personally I’m getting paid something like $33/hr so I better finish my work!
It’s silly and it makes me feel ridiculous, but I know I’m not the only person that has to reward themselves every time they finish something. And not only that, but I have to actively try to take away fun things if I start getting behind on my work. Maybe I carried this over from childhood, but it’s something that works for me. I usually reward myself with a movie, sometimes I even go out to watch it and other times for smaller amounts of work I’ll just watch a TV show on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime. What I do to take things away is I tell myself I can’t check Facebook or listen to music or watch anything while I try to work and honestly it’s probably for the best because it helps me focus and those things are probably the reason I’m getting behind in the first place.
I don’t have a 5th way to stay motivated, I want to so that this list would seem nice and well rounded, but sometimes you cut your losses and have to realize that it’s best to focus on the bigger aspects of any given project. You have to do what you know you can finish and not get caught up on the minor details like having 5 points to a list… I guess that kinda is 5… time to celebrate!