MOTIVATION | Without commitment, you’ll never start but without consistency, you’ll never finish.
During the first week of resumption, I would get to work immediately I arrived from lectures. I would study all the courses offered in class that day.
After studying, I would cook an healthy meal to eat, watch a series or a movie and then do some of my creative work like write articles.
I did that consistently through the week.
You could imagine how happy I was because I was able to keep up with classes and make time for my creative work. I felt so balanced and productive.
However, when the intensity of lectures increased, I couldn’t keep up anymore. We started having evening lectures every week day from 5pm – 7pm and as if that was not enough, the same professor fixed a 6 hour class on Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
So, I lost balance. Stress hit me! I was always feeling tired and lazy. I couldn’t read everything done in class before bed. I had to procrastinate a lot of things, my sleep schedule lost balance, I was eating more of cereals and junks and I totally lost the balance I once enjoyed.
For over a week, I couldn’t study as effective as I usually did. I was either too tired, too sleepy, too weak and I ended up over sleeping, stress eating and just doing nothing. I did not even have the strength to create a schedule/to-do list. Waking up at 5am was hell and not joy anymore.
It went on and on and on until I couldn’t take it anymore.
I couldn’t do anything and it wasn’t because I was sick or something, I was just genuinely tired and mentally stressed.
If you’re a student like me, then you can totally relate.
However, I got out of that slump or unproductive state and that’s why I’m able to write this article.
So here we go:
• stop the guilty feeling
• stop comparing yourself
• take your time
• positive self-talk
• start very small
• talk to someone
• STOP THE GUILTY FEELING:
I’m sure you’re here because you want to know how to fight your unproductivity and that’s commendable because not only do you know that you’re not working as hard as you could, you’re also willing to learn how to change and become better.
It’s totally normal to feel guilty that you’re wasting time when you know you could do more productive things. It’s normal to feel guilty when you sleep for more than ‘normal’/necessary. I have a friend that always feel so guilty whenever she sleeps for more than 4 hours in a day and that might be funny …but when we set too high standards for ourselves and fall short, we tend to beat ourselves up and guilt creeps in.
But what does feeling guilty do? It does nothing but worsen the condition.
The first thing I had to do to over come my unproductivity was to get rid of my guilty feeling.
It was hard but I just had to because feeling guilty that I’m wasting time would not help me to be productive.
I didn’t need that bad energy in my life so I had to nip it in the bud.
• STOP COMPARING YOURSELF:
If there was anything that worsened my condition, it was comparing myself to my friends. They were always going to reading rooms or libraries while I struggled to open my notes to read anything.
In class, they were contributing and asking questions when I was totally lost as to the subject matter.
I started feeling bad about myself and comparing myself to them.
I wondered how they were ‘doing it’ despite the hectic lecture hours because they seemed to have it all together but my envy did not allow me to ask them for help and direction.
You know what? I had to decide that I wasn’t going to be intimidated by them anymore.
I decided instead to challenge myself to work hard as well. So, instead of envying them, I turned them to an inspiration for me because ‘if they could do it; then I could do even better’.
• TAKE YOUR TIME:
For someone like me that loves sitting at the table and just working, working and working, you could imagine how hard it was to come to terms with my unproductive state.
I watched YouTube videos on productivity but I couldn’t even complete watching them (I lost interest almost immediately).
I tried reading blog posts and all but it just didn’t work. Motivational quotes did not do their magic either.
So one day, I decided to take my time to really rest instead of forcing myself to do stuff I didn’t want to do.
I know it’s crazy but I decided to sleep enough hours, I decided to watch some movies and just take my mind off the work. I ate as healthy as I could and just spent some time doing my creative work and the things that made me happy. That was my own revamp mechanism.
I decided to just take care of myself and give myself and my body the time they needed.
I was just lucky we didn’t have any tests/quizzes during that period.
This might be risky for you if you have test or exams close by but I’m sure that the thought that you’re having a test is enough motivation to be productive and study even if you don’t feel like it.
• POSITIVE SELF-TALK AND SELF-REFLECTION:
I was telling myself stuff like, ‘I am so lazy! I don’t feel like reading today! Hmm! The way I’m going, my GP will drop…’ and although they were innocent comments or self-talks, it was slowly forming in my subconscious that I was lazy. Worse, I was becoming quite comfortable in that state, it began to feel like a normal thing even though I felt guilty and at some point, I didn’t care again. Someone said be careful what you say to yourself because you can hear yourself.
So because nobody cares if you’re lazy, you can as well be productive.
I began to speak good things to myself and tell myself I was not lazy and that things could get better and that all what I was facing were only symptoms of greatness. It felt like I was lying to myself but I just had to keep assuring and validating myself.
At first, nothing felt different but with my consistency, postive self-talk and affirmations worked the magic.
In all these, I was able to re-discover my purpose and passion. I was able to remind myself that I had a responsibility to keep up and stay ahead because lot of people were looking up to me. I didn’t want to disappoint myself neither did I want to disappoint them.
I also had to take a recourse back to my resolutions and goals for the new school session and all these intentional steps worked.
Although I know Chemistry is not what I would like to do after school, my grades are still so important and I just had to get myself together.
And over time, things got better!
• TALK TO SOMEONE
I told you already that I was comparing myself to my friends and I was intimidated by them because I thought they were doing okay.
I thought I was the only one struggling with maintaining a balance and keeping up until I got the courage to humble myself and talk to my friend, Chisom. It was then I discovered that I was not the only one struggling. She told me that despite the fact that she goes to the reading room, she dozes off quite a lot of times. It was funny though.
She told me that the feeling of being lazy and unproductive were all symptoms of greatness. She said a lot that really motivated me.
I discovered that comparing myself to her or anyone else was just not worth it.
I also spoke with my seniors that had graduated and they were telling me all these things were totally normal, that they had faced it too and that I should not give up.
You know, I felt so positive and I was just inspired to pick myself up and move the mountains.
• START VERY SMALL:
Setting too high standards for yourself at this point will only worsen things. I started to take things a little slowly. One course a day, one topic a day, one calculation a day and little by little, and I was pumped and energized to do more work in a day.
I cut down my to-do list to the easiest/simplest tasks and even something as simple as, ‘skim through my note’ or ‘copy a note’ was an important task for me to tick off. It felt good though.
Another thing I do is to start with the task I love most or the task I find easy.
I love calculations and studying my physical chemistry course came in handy. I would even plug in my earphones and vibe to some of my favourite BTS songs (P.S. I love BTS)
When I tick off that task, I discover I’m more excited to carry out the harder tasks like studying my inorganic chemistry course.
That’s my trick and it works all the time.
I know they say, start with the hardest task first but that doesn’t work for me all the time. In periods like this, I do the stuff I love first until I’ve built the momentum to face the harder tasks.
Remember this, success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Don’t compare yourself to others because chances are, they are facing things they are not even telling you about.
Don’t be proud to cry out for help and have conversations with people.
Take your time and assure yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to.
I hope this helps a lot…
If it did, why don’t you take a step further to share with your fellow course mate? Who knows, they might be struggling with the same thing.
And do you think there’s more about this topic I’m yet to mention? Please do share in the comments below. I am so eager to learn from you.
If you like what you see and don’t want to miss more of this kind, then you can subscribe so that when a new article comes up, you’ll be the first to be notified.
Thank you so much for reading 🧡