As the semester comes to a close and the weather warms up, it's only natural to notice a decline in your motivation. You’ve worked so hard studying for exams, completing projects, and pursuing personal goals outside of the classroom that you feel the urge to slack off and coast through the spring semester. Whether you’re a freshman trying to get through your first year of college or a senior battling a bad case of “senioritis,” staying motivated is essential to your future success.
With Miss Pennsylvania right around the corner and only two weeks left in the academic semester, it's critical for me to maximize productivity and remain disciplined when I am mentally and physically exhausted. Here are four time management tips that I've been using to help me cross the finish line, while also being cognizant of my mental health:
1. Work Breaks
If you're anything like me, you'd try to get everything done in one day if you could. While this mentality is motivating, it can also be draining and unhealthy at the same time. You aren't supposed to sit at a desk for over five hours and work without any breaks because you will actually become less productive. What I’ve learned is that “taking a break” isn’t wasting time, it's giving your body time to recharge. We tend to work ourselves into the ground and then become frustrated when we're having trouble completing assignments. Breaks are essential because they allow your brain the opportunity to process information, and it also gives you a chance to breathe so you can come back and be completely focused on the task at hand without getting distracted.
2. Take One Step at a Time
I become overwhelmed the most when I start to think of everything that I have to do instead of zoning in on one assignment at a time. Take the time to create a list of things that you want to accomplish, and then highlight the items that need to be completed first. This will help keep your workload in perspective, while also making sure you don't procrastinate on assignments.
3. Remind Yourself of Your Goals
When I start to get lazy, I remind myself of why I work so hard. I pour my heart and soul into my work because I want to change lives through journalism and as a Miss America titleholder. If I choose to slack off, I am pushing myself further and further away from accomplishing my goals, and in the end, the only individual that laziness hurts is me.
4. Discipline not Motivation
There are days where I'm not motivated to go to the gym, study for an exam, or prepare for Miss Pennsylvania, but I refuse to allow my feelings to dictate my actions! Those are the days where I have to rely on discipline to do the things that I don’t feel like doing. As much as I love journalism and the Miss America Organization, sometimes I just want to lay in my bed all day and binge Netflix. And while it is important to take days off and relax, you have to know when you truly need rest versus when you’re just being lazy. We're all human and we're going to have bad days, this is why we can't rely solely on motivation and feelings to get us to where we want to be.
This week I challenge you to take ten minutes in the morning and plan out your goals for the day. Make a list of everything you want to accomplish and be intentional about how you use your time. Instead of being “busy,” be productive and stay focused on whatever you're working on. With only a couple of weeks left in the semester and finals quickly approaching, we all need to be intentional about how we're spending our time and what we're investing our energy in. And no matter how chaotic your week gets, remember to set aside some time for you because YOU COME FIRST.
In the comments below, tell us how you manage your time while indulging in self-care during such a stressful time in the semester!