We are at school at minimum 7 hours a day, not counting all the time spent on any extracurricular activities and the hours of homework that await us when we arrive home. Often, we sit in class bored, wondering when we will ever need to use the Pythagorean theorem in real life (unless, that is, you want to be a math teacher). So much of our time is spent at school that homework really becomes a monotonous task. It is easy to fall into a slump of laziness and procrastination, but I’m here to help! Here are ten tips to staying motivated in school:
- Create a “why”
In order to be motivated to do your best, you need to know why you are going to school in the first place. Maybe you have an ambitious career goal and need to succeed in high school so you can go to a good college, get into a good graduate program, and have the job you want. Maybe you enjoy learning. Maybe you like the social aspect of school. Maybe your parents are forcing you to go. All of these reasons are great, but you need to find your reason. What works for other people won’t necessarily work for you. If your “why” isn’t motivating (for instance, if you want to drop out, but your parents are forcing you to stay in school), think about your end goal. What do you want to get out of school and where is that going to lead you? Let your “why” and your end goal be your motivating factors.
- Prioritize and make a schedule
So you have your “why”, now you need to make your schedule line up with it. You need to prioritize the things that are getting you closer to your “why” and your end goal. For example, if you know you have a literature paper due in two days, but you want to watch Shane’s new YouTube video, put the paper first because it will get you closer to your end goal. (If your end goal is watch as much YouTube as you can in high school and you could care less about college or jobs, then by all means, watch the video.) One of the biggest tips I can give you is: use a planner. When you can see what you need to accomplish for the week, you will be more motivated to get it done. Plan out specific times to study, but make sure to give yourself breaks as well.
- Set small goals
You have your end goal, but you need to set smaller goals to get there. Eating an elephant can only be done one way: one bite at a time. Set weekly goals and figure out what you need to do each day to get closer to your weekly goal, and ultimately, your end goal.
- Surround yourself with motivating people
This tip is extremely important and can be a game-changer for some people. If the people around you are always complaining or negative, you will become negative. I’m not saying you should cut ties with these people, but understand that their bad attitudes will rub off on you. Find friends that will push you to be your best self. Find people who inspire you and motivate you to work hard and I promise you, it will make a huge difference.
- Take advantage of social opportunities
A huge motivator is enjoying what you are doing. School will be so much more enjoyable if you make it fun! Plan a night to hang out with your friends, go out of your comfort zone to make a new friend, or smile at people in the hallway. Find what you love by trying out different clubs or organizations. Try to make school as fun as possible by making friends – it will become much more enjoyable and you will automatically become more motivated. But remember: negative friends won’t necessarily help in your quest to finding motivation.
- Minimize distractions
It is easy to distract ourselves with our phones, but when it is study time, put them away. Who wouldn’t rather scroll through Instagram than study for a math test? That’s the problem. It will be hard to focus on schoolwork when you have ready access to your phone. Put your phone in a different room when you are studying, or at least put it out of your reach. It’s not going anywhere.
- Get to know your teachers
All of the tips are important, but this is another big one. If you take time to get to know your teachers, they will become more invested in you. Attend tutorials and don’t be afraid to get help. When you understand the material, you will be a lot more likely to study. Make friends with your teachers – they have your best interests in mind, even if it doesn’t seem like it. After all, they could get a higher paying job, but there is a reason they choose to teach.
- You can’t do everything
If you are extremely busy and it is taking away from your ability to focus on schoolwork, cut down your load. Your job right now is to be a student and sometimes extra activities are too much to handle. Focus on school and when you are succeeding in that, join more out of school activities. It is okay that you can’t do it all.
- Reward yourself
Going along with the tip about setting goals, reward yourself when you reach those goals. If you finish writing your literature essay, watch that Shane Dawson video! If you make an A on your physics test, go get ice cream with your friends! Incentivize yourself to accomplish things and the rewards will be your motivation.
- If all else fails…
If you physically can not bring yourself to study for your APUSH test (I know the feeling), spend your time wisely. It is OK to procrastinate – we all do it. You will stall and you will push things aside, but how about doing something productive while you are stalling. If you can’t make yourself do your work, instead of completely wasting that time, take a shower or clean your room! It will help clear your head and hopefully help you get back to work when you feel like it.
We can’t all be motivated all of the time, but hopefully these tips help you! Don’t be too hard on yourself, but do your best to stay motivated. Your future self will thank you 🙂