It has been a cold winter. Getting back into gear after such a long break is hard. Below are some strategies that I hope will help you get back on track.
Don’t wait for inspiration or “mood” Getting a great music playlist and quiet work space might do the trick, but it might not. In the coziness of winter, the desire to get moving may never arrive. The law of inertia states that an object not in motion will remain still until it is acted on by an outside force. In other words, a ball does not roll on its own. You may not be sparked into action when your textbooks arrive in the mail or when you are loaded into your next courses. However, procrastination now will lead to unnecessary stress when portfolio projects are due. Recognizing that inspiration may not strike may itself help you break through any reluctance to crack open the books.
What is your motivation? Spend a few minutes thinking about short-term and long-term motivation. Long-term, performing well in your courses will lead you to much stronger career. Short-term, think of your past experiences as courses ended. Were you stressed and wishing you had begun working on major projects sooner? Or were you feeling at ease and proud of yourself for working diligently throughout the session? Most portfolio projects contain a reflection portion for thinking of what advice you would give new students. Look back at what you wrote and take your own advice. No one knows what works for you as well as you do!
Anticipate distractions It is impossible to eliminate all distractions. Keep a notepad or calendar next to you when you are studying and working on assignments. When you remember something important that you need to do, you will be able to jot it down quickly and then get back to work. Even something simple as getting up to switch the laundry can break your concentration. Starting early is a great way to build in an extra cushion for what will come up, whether it is a sick child or a good friend unexpectedly in town.
Count the cost While it might seem harmless to get a slow start easing back into school, the approach can be more damaging than you think. Employers look for employees who are self-motivated and enthusiastic. Practicing the ability to break through inertia will be invaluable in life and in your career. Life is moving forward. Don’t get left behind!